The Auburn decision: Smart’s call

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.

Advertisements

81 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

81 responses to “The Auburn decision: Smart’s call

  1. 79Dawg

    Exactly – switching a game at Tennessee for a game at Auburn is a push every day of the week and twice on Saturday. It makes virtually no difference to us whether we are playing on the Plains or in Knoxville in the middle of November, EXCEPT for the loss of the tradition…

    Like

    • Derek

      Chances are good that auburn will remain the stronger opponent. We’re certainly in more head to head recruiting battles there.

      And as I suggested yesterday, if this means even 1 more auburn win over Alabama a decade, it would be worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 79Dawg

        Based on what? Chances are just as good that Auburn shitcans Gus and goes into a funk for a few years, and Pruitt is able to build some momentum and get things going in Knoxville, thus making Tennessee the stronger opponent. There is pretty much no daylight between Tennessee and Auburn for us, historically, and assuming there will be in the future requires a lot of rank speculation, IMO….
        In the past 30 years, we have beaten good Tennessee and Auburn teams, lost to bad Tennessee and Auburn teams, done miracles to beat Tennessee and Auburn, and had miracles done unto us by each of them as well, all on multiple occasions…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Otto

          Tater Tot, Tubs, Chiz and Gus all have undefeated seasons or national title games appearances. What makes you think shit canning Gus will send them to a funk?

          UT has been a dumpster fire practically since Y2K with a few exceptions.

          Like

          • 79Dawg

            And other than those high points, each followed up those seasons with some absolute stinkers (they all (other than Gus, who has hung on a couple of times by the skin of his teeth) got fired for a reason, you know)… Both have winless conference seasons in the past 6 years… But perhaps the most important and relevant data point is, who won the game on the Plains last year? Flash in the pan for Pruitt, or sign of things to come for the Barn???
            I just have a hard time believing Auburn is going to be materially and consistently better than Tennessee for the next decade or so, but YMMV.

            Like

  2. I hate to say this because of the impact on the team. What would Kirby’s reaction be if no one showed up in red and black for the 2020 Auburn game in protest of the move? Come to Athens, tailgate, and give Athens businesses (other than the bookstore and the Tailgate Club) our patronage. At game time, pack up and head home or stay at their tailgates. Students with tickets scan their IDs and walk back out to avoid a strike.

    Kirby, the failure to advocate against this was almost as dumb as your two fake kicks calls made this past season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MDDawg

      I like the idea of giving the small businesses the benefit of tailgating and such, but if the fanbase just boycotted altogether then those small businesses would exert every ounce of pressure they can muster against Butts-Mehre, and that would probably speed up the response.

      Do we know that Kirby didn’t advocate against this or are we just assuming that it wouldn’t have happened without his sign-off?

      Like

      • Derek

        My take is that it wouldn’t have happened this way without Kirby. He’s publicly on board with this for a reason.

        Is the decision the equivalent of a fake kick or a five star recruiting battle? Who knows?

        Like

      • I cannot imagine Morehead and GMcG would have agreed to this without Kirby’s blessing or “I don’t care” reaction.

        He thinks either it’s a good idea or tradition doesn’t matter to recruits … therefore, do whatever.

        Like

        • Tony Barnfart

          It probably doesn’t matter to recruits. To the extent that a 17yr old is like any other 17r old (as opposed to one signed up for football), I didn’t know **** about UGA traditions before enrolling and attending my first games.

          Football player or not, if your parents didn’t go to UGA or you didn’t have some other close tie, you’ll initially learn of the traditions in the most sterilized way (think campus tour or official visit), and they’ll eventually grow on you as you become part of the experience, but as a senior in high school you will not (yet) be emotionally invested in the preservation of that interest. You are merely on the sidelines watching the debate.

          Hell, I have a UGA degree and follow it with a passion bordering on obsession but largely abstain from the debate over the Tech series because I consider that a subject better settled among Georgians (taxpayers and permanent residents).

          Like

    • PTC DAWG

      Why not just tell the players to FO? See how that works for you.

      Like

      • You must not be able to read very well because I didn’t say it should be done. All I said is what if we reacted to this as it seems everyone associated with the football program has reacted to the surprise about fan reaction … pretty much to piss down our backs and tell us it’s raining.

        Then again, if I remember correctly, you aren’t a season ticket holder.

        Like

        • PTC DAWG

          I am not…and I’ve said the ticket holders should have somewhat of a say…but sadly, they do not. I gave up two tickets when we fired Ray…he was so close. 🙂

          Like

  3. There better be. Otherwise, I don’t see any narrative other than we got rolled.

    Like

  4. Bulldog Joe

    If Kirby played his cards well, he would now have the ability to bring recruits to the Florida game.

    Like

    • I don’t think that’s going to happen. You either have to take tickets away from students or contributors to have recruits in Jacksonville. I want the coaching staff focused on winning the game rather than entertaining 15-18 year olds. Also, you can’t have the recruiting infrastructure in Jacksonville he has in Athens.

      Do Texas and Oklahoma host recruits at the Red River Shootout?

      Like

      • Bulldog Joe

        Kirby has stated many times he wants to have recruits at this game. He has the staff to handle it.

        There were more than enough empty seats at last year’s game.

        Like

        • The Georgia allotment sells out … who are you going to take ticket purchasing privileges away from if you are Greg McGarity to accommodate recruits and their families? Students who have to pay the athletic fee and then have to pay for the ticket? The optics of that would be really bad in Athens. Contributors who have had Florida tickets for decades and contribute at the levels they do to attend the WLOCP? Sure, the Magill Society members don’t have to worry, but another thing that the optics would be really bad for the AA.

          Kirby may want it to happen, but Kirby isn’t going to be the one to take the calls from contributors who are wondering why their Florida ticket order was being refunded.

          Like

          • Bulldog Joe

            The points threshold changes every year for Florida. Using last year’s parking grab as the latest example, I don’t see the AD having any problems taking things away from low-level contributors.

            We know first hand it is the Georgia students who take the calls from disappointed contributors while the decision makers take their vacations.

            It’s The Georgia Way.

            Like

            • All of that doesn’t make it right so Kirby can have recruits (especially those who just want to go the game and aren’t planning to sign with Georgia) show up.

              All of this from someone who hasn’t been to the Florida game since 2000.

              Like

          • stoopnagle

            Easy answer: faculty/staff and students. Duh. People who don’t donate to anything they don’t have to.

            Like

            • Students contribute … it’s that little thing that isn’t optional called the athletic fee they or their parents pay for the privilege to enter the lottery for tickets they still have to pay for at face value.

              Faculty or staff who don’t contribute to the Hartman Fund … that’s probably something I could support.

              Like

              • stoopnagle

                “…isn’t optional…”

                That’s not a contribution, that’s a price.

                Like

              • Tony Barnfart

                I bet there are so many shitbirds on the faculty that have, not just a disinterest, but a disdain for all things Georgia football yet still get tickets just to turn around and scalp them for a few extra bucks. Beneficial or subsidized tickets should all be together in the same section and NOT have a hard movable ticket. Scanned ID with a receipt giving you your seat assignment as you walk in.

                Like

                • stoopnagle

                  You’d lose that bet.

                  Like

                  • Bogart Double Dawg

                    Man, people. Faculty/staff are not shit birds and a bunch love football at UGA too. Many even have degrees from UGA. They also are the ones delivering the real service of why students attend UGA and are an integral part of the University community.

                    You know, a lot of f/s also attend other sports around campus too pretty regularly. We want to support our students and cheer for our organization.

                    Don’t lump f/s in some theoretical bucket based on perceptions that aren’t validated. While there are sometimes disputes between faculty and athletics, they are usually not that intense. At the end of the day the purpose of the University (IIRC from my multiple degrees and time working here) is to “teach and inquire into the nature of things”. Doesn’t mean the folks working to provide those things don’t love collegiate sports.

                    Like

                • ilini84

                  The F/S season ticket is a card with a bar code and the name of the holder on it.

                  Like

  5. GruvenDawg

    Hopefully this is a one time deal. The slime balls at Auburn purposely scheduled UMASS that week to make us have to either move our bye or move the Auburn game for 2020. From a coaching perspective who is going to have more depth and be able to hold up at the end of the year? AU or UTjr? Based on talent I would say UT would be more susceptible in 2020 to be wore out by the end of the year.

    Like

    • 79Dawg

      My understanding is that most of the I-AA/non P-5 home game contracts have clauses that allow the home team to move the game a week in either direction or push it out to another year once the conference schedules are finally set by the leauge. If the league said Georgia and Auburn were playing on X date, Auburn almost assuredly has the contractual right with UMass to move the game… The P-5 games and neutral site games are the only ones chiseled in stone and, because they are generally set well in-advance and are good draws, the conferences are willing to work around those when developing schedules.

      Like

    • Godawg

      I hope they lose to UMass…:-)

      Like

  6. Go Dawgs!

    Agitating to end the series IS rubbing it in Tech’s face, IMO. I don’t know how serious most Georgia fans actually are when they advocate for ending the series, but I do know that it is the biggest insult you can offer to a Tech fan and it’s the dig that REALLY gets under their skin: “You aren’t worthy to be on the same field as us.” It’s the one thing they can’t even pretend they aren’t bothered by.

    Like

    • No it’s not. It’s cutting your nose off to spite your face.

      Like

      • stoopnagle

        Let’s win 9 in a row, then think it over, OK?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Explain why faculty tickets to any away game should be given? We send them bowl games, why exactly? Never have understood this. Faculty members are paid enough to pay their own way. I would rather have donors committed to the program be given an opportunity to buy those, or at least provided to students who pay an activity fee. At least someone who cares in a non-handout way.

        Like

        • stoopnagle

          It’s faculty and staff, for one. Staff are, by any measure, underpaid and, in large part, are committed to the success of the University on levels that donors aren’t. They commit their work lives to making UGA a great place for students, for faculty, and for alumni. The same goes for a lot of faculty. If you think all faculty are overpaid, then you either don’t value their work or don’t understand what they’re being paid. The effort and work put in by some of my faculty colleagues here is other-worldly – and they do it in large part not because it gets them a lot of money, but because love their work and the place they do it.

          F/S season and away tickets aren’t “given.” We buy them like anyone else and I’ve not been eligible for any of the important away games in a good long while (and I have a pretty high priority as it goes). Is it a benefit to have access to tickets? You betcha! If you want it, apply for one of the jobs on campus. Spoiler: you won’t because you wouldn’t want the pay cut. On top of that F/S pay more per ticket than students, so it’s far from a handout.

          “Donors” committed to the program aren’t always as committed as you’d expect. I often sit with a dear friend in an area of McGill Society types (if they are there or if they stick around for the whole game or if they even pay attention), so spare me the generalizations. I used his Sugar Bowl tickets and those folks were no where to be found in the 3rd quarter. (I did see my fellow staff buddy still in the stands a few sections over).

          You’re usually find you a fairly thoughtful commenter even when I don’t agree with you, but you have no idea what you’re writing about in this comment. It’s based in assumptions and generalizations about those of us that work in higher education that are politicized and, in large part, off the mark.

          Like

          • Bogart Double Dawg

            This, and my thoughts above.

            I often enjoy Macallans comments too, but people the f/s are a part of the community. They provide the means of why people come to a university in the first place.

            If a student in my class is on the field (has happened more than a few times) I want to support them in this very demanding and intense endeavor. I don’t even get f/s tickets, but donate my own way through the Hartman fund. I hope all interested f/s try to come and support their students!

            Like

        • jtp03

          away game and postseason tickets cost the same to faculty/staff season ticket holders as donors. availability of these tickets is based on length of service.

          the benefit (which is taxed, btw) is on home games that are purchased at less than face value. I for one am happy to see the admin assistants and custodial staff who might make $8/hr enjoying the games as much as i do.

          Like

          • My misunderstanding, I apologize to those above. I was under the impression that included in the bowl costs were paid tickets and travel expenses for a large number of “connected” staffers and faculty. I did not realize they were paying for tickets and travel. I then lumped that into other away games. My error.

            And I do not begrudge benefits awarded to the lower portion of any organization, I do not care for the upper echelons being taking care of on what I would call, non-business boondoggles. They can afford their own way.

            Like

            • Bogart Double Dawg

              It’s always nice to see an apology on the internet, especially from someone whose perspective I have always enjoyed.

              One thing those outside f/s should keep in mind, is that this stuff can be very personal to us. I personally have had many football players in my classes (among other sports). I personally know these athletes as my students, and I want them to succeed in all of their endeavors. Their success matters to me. I know many f/s feel the same way.

              I think the personal nature of this relationship is why you saw the responses you did.

              GO DAWGS!

              Like

              • Fair points. As I said, I took a position based on a limited amount of information. Sadly, it isn’t the only time I wish I had kept my powder dry once the smoke had cleared and more facts were visible. At least I didn’t kill anybody this time. 🙂

                Like

        • ilini84

          What in the hell are you babbling about?

          Like

        • ilini84

          It’s a UNIVERSITY and a UNIVERSITY is made of STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF. I’ve never understood why all these pikers who never sniffed a classroom get to buy a ticket until every student, faculty and staff get one.

          Like

      • Even though I realize it won’t happen soon, I don’t understand this logic. There are many schools who represent a comparable, or better, win opportunity. UGA gets so little credit for maintaining this game, which is now a virtual lock for a noon time slot against many better games on that final weekend.

        UGA/GT doesn’t even win the noon time slot, we could finish last against more interesting opponents and still win. And some games might even draw interest outside the Atlanta/Athens area. Tech fans don’t even show up for it when it is at home any longer. There are plenty of other “win” opportunities in the ACC alone. I get that you are dug in on this, but the patient is ill and the prognosis has gotten worse. Leaving the SEC put a dagger in that program.

        Like

        • GT is a P5 program. UGA gets credit for beating a P5 program by the selection committee, so I’m not sure what you mean.

          Also have to think beating the shit out of the state’s other P5 school pays dividends on the recruiting trail.

          Not to mention it’s a traditional rival.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Tony Barnfart

            My problem with Georgia Tech is that they are AT BEST in a 3 way tie with Kentucky and Mizzou for 6th place on the “I’m super excited for this game” scale–just above 9th ranked Vanderbilt among our 9 home games.

            I say “at best” because being a non-SEC team probably puts them at 6(c). But really there’s nobody else we are going to play on Thanksgiving. Literally, everybody we would want to play has an in-state game that weekend. So, I’m fine with beating their ass nearly every year–but it doesn’t fire me up. Which I think is sad for Thanksgiving weekend.

            Like

            • Tony Barnfart

              Err, 9 contracted to play games

              Like

            • Doug

              I’ll admit, it kind of sucks that, as far as the national media are concerned, COFH regularly plays second fiddle on Rivalry Week thanks to Tech’s ineptitude/lack of a national brand. But for me personally, I’m never anything less than excited for a chance to rub those smug dipshits’ faces in it for yet another year. Tech is kind of like that slump-buster booty call you hit up when you’re bored—you don’t think of them much at all, you’re certainly not going to brag to your friends about it, but if they weren’t there, you’d miss ’em.

              Like

          • Yes, they are a P5 school. But that doesn’t mean they get us any more credit than Vandy, Indiana, Rutgers, Oregon State, do. I wasn’t suggesting we replace them with a directional cupcake. GT, for all the attention they get in the greater Atlanta market, has no more impact on CFB these days than do the schools I mentioned above. I get that it is a fairly easy win in the days since they were in the SEC, but you guys are hanging onto the past.

            I am all about traditions, but some have run their race, this is one. Bring back TX and A&M, or OU and Nebraska even, but we might as well retire the dated rivalry of UGA/GT. It just isn’t playing well, and is now a placeholder on the schedule. I said earlier, I don’t think I will ever see this happen, but putting some space between it might be a good way to start. Let’s dictate to them the way AU rolls over UGA, let’s play them every four years at our place. No reason to go to Atlanta to play a UGA home game.

            Like

        • PTC DAWG

          I too have lost passion for the GT game..not sure why..but you state many of my same feelings on it.

          Even when pundits review our OOC schedule, we get ZERO credit for having GT on board.

          Problem is, what do you replace them with? I would prefer to play them game 1.

          Like

          • Tony Barnfart

            Yea, you literally can’t replace them. I believe it is a conference rule that you cannot have a bye the weekend before the SEC title game (tech weekend), so we have to have a Thanksgiving weekend game. Nobody else is available.

            Like

      • Go Dawgs!

        To clarify, I don’t believe that people who talk about ending the series actually want to do it. I think they want to piss off the nerds by saying it.

        Like

  7. What bothers me most about all this is Smart’s refusal to let us know what he’s thinking.

    Like

  8. stoopnagle

    Hey, y’all know what the best part of the 2020 schedule is? We go to Bama.

    Anyone want to lay odds on if this new Auburn game is the week before or after we go to Tuscaloosa?

    We typically play Tennessee the 5th or 6th week of the season and 4 times in the last 5 years, we’ve played our rotating west opponent the week before or after. I’ve a feeling the screw-job ain’t over yet.

    All those off weeks for our opponents in ’19 and now an opportunity to really toughen up the road for Georgia in ’20 makes me think someone in B’ham is doing someone in Alabama’s bidding, but it ain’t in Auburn.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I bet it ends up the week before, and Bama conveniently has a bye week.

      #BamaPrivilege is real and it’s spectacular.

      Like

    • Bulldog Joe

      Tennessee has won twice in Athens since Auburn’s last win.

      Auburn lost to Tennessee last season and has a greater chance of being in turmoil next season. Tennessee is a division game. If the deal is for 2020-only, I am starting to see Kirby’s way of thinking.

      Like

    • PTC DAWG

      And there it is.

      Like

    • Tony Barnfart

      Birmingham: “Team, the Jimbo threat is real and it’s growing. We have to do something…..instead of that late September slot usually reserved for rotating opponents, how about we kill 2 birds with one stone and send them to Athens while our Tahhhhd play Western Carolina ? This meeting is adjourned.”

      Like

  9. RandallPinkFloyd

    The only benefit I see here is that this breaks up the Tennessee road trip that usually has Vandy-UT in back to back weeks. Obviously, 2019 is an anomaly with us opening up at Vandy.

    Maybe I’m too tied to the tradition of Auburn in November, but it just doesn’t feel right. Hopefully, it’s a one time deal because I just don’t see much of an advantage to us unless it helps Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

    Like

  10. DoubleDawg1318

    I can understand McGarity and Morehead making this dumb decision but I really don’t see why Kirby wants this. I don’t see a strategic advantage to be gained by moving the game with UT.

    Like

  11. etdf

    I am not excited to see the Dawgs play on the “grass” in Knee-land in November. Its bad enough in October.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rebar

    To me, this lessens Auburn in the SEC. LSU has complained bitterly about having to play Florida every year, but they haven’t asked for the schedule to be changed. Gus can’t take playing UGA and Bama at the end of their season. Maybe Auburn should join the ACC,’cause SEC teams aren’t supposed to whine about how hard it is to play in the SEC!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. WTM

    It’s maddening to me that we rolled on this without getting our home game back. Auburn wanted something, we wanted something. Instead, Auburn gets their way and we get bupkis.

    Like

  14. HiAltDawg

    I’m just amazed we didn’t wait ninety days and find this out in a FOIA request.

    Like

  15. FlyingPeakDawg

    No one’s mentioned that moving UT to the back of the schedule means we may not have the SECe locked-up until that game. Not sure why Kirby would want to put pressure like that on the back-end of the schedule. As we proved in 2017, you can take the loss to Auburn, go to the SECCG and even the playoffs with one late loss. Won’t likely be true if we trip on UT in similar circumstances. I don’t get this, and I can’t even follow the money. Was CBS also involved behind the scenes, and if so, what was their angle. UGA/AU early is good, but UGA/UT late vs. UGA/AU late is worse for ratings I’m sure.

    Like

  16. UGA '97

    Gus is paid more to do the same. 2. We get the SEC Champ game at home. 3. We beat their asses 13 of last 18 (should be 14 wins if not for the Prayer at Jordan Hare). 4. The home and home with Florida is on the horizon.

    Like

  17. SouthernYank

    Strictly considering weather in November, I’d rather watch a game in Auburn than in Knoxville.

    Like

  18. Trbodawg

    Maybe it’s all just part of Kirby’s plan to ‘change the culture’ in Athens. Today’s society is all about the right now. Let’s establish our own tradition – Auburn never beats us in September-October !

    Like

  19. I cannot believe we did this and got nothing.

    Someone made a good point that playing TENN late means more years where our ability to lock down the SEC East comes later. I don’t see that as a good thing.

    This seems like a crap deal all around for us.

    RE: GA TECH: I absolutely love crushing them and think we should not even consider losing this game. It is a P5 opponent that somewhat recently won the ACC. Heisman was their coach. It has a tremendous amount of tradition. They won a national title in the 90s. This is a good P5 win that we get nearly for free, and the impact on recruiting is huge for us too.

    Like