It seems like there are two perennial scheduling topics we Georgia fans love to argue about: playing Florida every year at a neutral site in Jacksonville and playing Georgia Tech. (You could argue the Dawgs play Tech at a home site every year. But I digress.)
It’s no surprise to anyone who visits this blog that I favor keeping the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, but at least in that case I understand why there is sentiment to move the game. The argument to drop Tech from the schedule, though, has never made a lick of sense to me.
But, as often happens whenever matters of scheduling are discussed, there also were grumbles from some fans that UGA could schedule the Tigers even more frequently, if only they’d drop the annual game with Georgia Tech.
The “drop Tech, add Clemson” meme is a perennial among a contingent of UGA supporters, who long for the days of one of the annual Georgia-Clemson games, one of college football’s most storied rivalries. I quite often get emails from such fans suggesting the Dawgs no longer need the Yellow Jackets on the schedule every year.
Shortly after the Blawg published last week, discussing which Power 5 teams fans would like to see the Dawgs play (where I suggested Clemson as a favorite), I heard from UGA alum Stephen Segrest, who asked, “When would be the earliest that we could replace Tech with Clemson annually?”
Then, I heard from my old Athens/UGA classmate Dan Pelletier, noting sarcastically, “I get that we have no room on the schedule for Climpson,” despite the fact that Georgia now plays a 12-game schedule, while it used to play just 10 or 11 games when the Tigers were an annual opponent.
To make more room on the schedule for another Power 5 team, Dan repeated a slightly tongue-in-cheek suggestion I’ve heard from him before: UGA should rotate Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and Georgia State as the end-of-season in-state opponent.
My response to him: Never gonna happen.
But, just for the sake of discussion, I asked Dan, who happens to be a judge, to make a case for not playing Tech every year in football.
Dan’s response: “It’s hard to argue we should drop Tech, when we fill our nonconference schedule with Sobbing Sisters of the Poor and other patsies, but, here goes: Tech benefits way more from the game than we do. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose. No one expects them to win, and, if they do, it is a boon to their program.
“Drop Tech, and add Clemson or FSU, and the schedule improves dramatically. Drop Tech, add Clemson or FSU, drop one of the patsies, and rotate between Georgia Southern and Georgia State, and we still play an in-state team. The benefit of Clemson or FSU is adding a power team without adding taxing travel.”
Hey, I’m for playing Clemson more frequently as much as the next guy, but where is it written that the only way to do so is to stop playing Tech? Why not drop one of those “Sobbing Sisters of the Poor” games against cupcake of the week instead? (And before you go on about losing a home game every other season, remember that Georgia hasn’t lost a game in BDS this century. Why lose that opportunity?)
Georgia Tech is a P5 opponent that Georgia has beaten at a steady 70+% clip ever since Vince Dooley showed up on campus. In the CFP era, that’s frickin’ gold, Jerry. Why would any rational supporter of Georgia football want to give up an advantage like that? Beyond that, don’t think long term dominance of that sort doesn’t have a cumulative effect on the recruiting trail. Sure, Paul Johnson has made life even easier in that regard, but is there a more obvious sales pitch to any kid considering both in state programs than “you wanna win, doncha”?
Strip all that away and what we’re left with boils down to a silly, emotional argument: “Tech benefits way more from the game than we do. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose. No one expects them to win, and, if they do, it is a boon to their program.“ What exactly does that mean? Other than allowing the denizens on StingTalk to puff out their chests for a couple of months, where’s the benefit? It sure isn’t on the recruiting trail. Tech has never stepped over Georgia’s dead body to claim a spot in the BCS or CFP. All that remains is a few hurt fee-fees in a part of Georgia’s fan base. Methinks that means there’s more to this rivalry than those folks are willing to admit.
Imagine how we’d feel if there had been a similar attitude expressed by Florida fans during the heyday of that 6-21 streak. (Conference rivalry, I know, but identical emotions.) You think these same folks would nod their heads and meekly agree? Hardly.
Georgia Tech football is the proverbial gift that keeps on giving. You don’t turn that kind of generosity down. Especially just to lose a road game.