Kirby Smart is paid nearly seven million dollars a year to do one thing and do that well: win a lot of games without drawing NCAA sanctions. The reason Kirby does that one thing well is because he is incredibly focused on the task at hand. Everything he does that’s football-related, then, he does with one thought in mind, does this help me win games?
I mentioned yesterday that Smart previously indicated a desire to have Auburn return the favor of playing two home games in Athens.
It wasn’t that way until 2013, when because of expansion and scheduling concerns, the SEC asked Georgia to make a second straight trip to Auburn. Georgia agreed, but now Kirby Smart, who wasn’t around when the change was made, would like to see Georgia get two straight home games against the Tigers.
“Yeah, absolutely. If we can get a chance to fix that and return the favor that we paid to them. I hear about that a lot,” Smart said. “It would make it more consistent and balance that out. It would probably be helpful in the long run. But I’ve got a feeling there’s more to it than just us and them. It always affects so many other moving parts. But it would be nice to do that.”
From Kirby’s selfish standpoint, resetting the Auburn game would have meant that Georgia wouldn’t face the pressure of November road games against both the Tigers and Georgia Tech every other season.
(Purely as an aside, I don’t understand this particular bee in Smart’s bonnet. Georgia hasn’t lost to Tech on its home field in twenty years. That’s positively Spurrier-esque. In fact, given that Spurrier never overcame a 20-point deficit or upset a much higher ranked team as the Dawgs did in 2009, you could argue it’s beyond Spurrier. Why some portion of our fan base prefers to agitate for an end to the series instead of rubbing that streak in the faces of Tech fans as Gator fans did to us is something I don’t understand. But I digress.)
Anyway, I presume once it became clear early on that making Auburn play in Athens two straight years wasn’t a viable solution, Smart signed on to moving the game earlier to avoid playing two November road games against rival programs. The only problem with that theory is that Tennessee, with which the Auburn game is being swapped, is on the same home-and-away schedule that the Tigers are, so nothing is being gained in that regard.
Given Smart’s stance, I have a hard time believing that’s where things have been left standing. So either the 2020 move, which, by the way, is one when Georgia has both schools at home, is a one-time deal, or if something longer term is involved, then another permanent substitution besides Tennessee is in the works. Maybe Greg McGarity’s wheels within wheels method of working with the SEC’s scheduling brass will pay off with something more in line with Smart’s wishes.
Or maybe not. Maybe Kirby’s sufficiently cool with getting all the bells and whistles he asks for.