Georgia-Florida in Jacksonville: Stop Whining Already

Tyler EstepSenior Analyst ISeptember 24, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 01: Georgia fans react as the Florida Gators build up a large lead in the third quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on November 1, 2008 in Jacksonville, Florida. Florida defeated Georgia 49-10.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Georgia-Florida will be in Jacksonville until at least 2015.


The Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors met Wednesday and agreed upon AD Damon Evans’ proposal to keep the World’s Largest Cocktail Party off campuses, out of Atlanta and in the state of Florida.


The Georgia football team will continue to travel 363 miles to its annual matchup with Florida. The Gators will go 71 miles north.


It’s not that I feel that strongly about keeping the Jacksonville tradition alive — I’d love to see the game moved to campus.

It’s that it’s not the huge, mind-numbingly terrible disadvantage that (not all, but) many Georgia fans make it out to be.

Mainly, because the players don’t care.

I have asked somewhere around 10 to 15 Georgia football players about their preference surrounding the game. Sure, some said that playing on campus “would be cool,” others that a game in Atlanta “would be fun.”

But every one of them said this: The travel isn’t that big of a deal.

I spoke to former Georgia/current Atlanta Falcons quarterback D.J. Shockley a few weeks ago, and he told me this: “I really didn’t mind. It was so big regardless of wherever it is. Regardless of where it’s at both sides are going to travel, and it’s going to be evenly-matched. It really wasn’t a big issue to me.”

Tell me something: The last time you drove roughly five hours somewhere, then got a good night’s sleep, were you still feeling the effects the next day?

Probably not.

And they don’t even drive anymore — they fly.

In fact, one of the already agreed-upon provisions in the new contract, Evans said, is that the City of Jacksonville will charter three private jets each year, so the Bulldogs can fly directly out of Athens’ Ben Epps airport, nixing the hour-and-a-half drive to Hartsfield International in Atlanta.

As Georgia president Michael Adams made a point of saying at Wednesday’s meeting, “our flight will be shorter than their bus ride.”

OK, so maybe you’re in it for the party, but Jacksonville and the sweaty and oft-disgusting “Landing” isn’t your scene. Go to St. Simon’s Island.

It’s full of Georgia students, alumni and fans of all ages doing their thing and creating the craziest and most diverse party scene the state of Georgia has seen since Freaknik left town.

You can still make it to the game — it’s only an hour or so from Jacksonville.

Yes, coach Mark Richt voiced his opinion against keeping the game in Jacksonville in the past. But he said this Wednesday after practice: “My only comment on that game or any game is just that we’re trying to win it and not being really too concerned with where it’s being played. So any question that you ask me about the game, that will be my answer. Refer to answer No. 1.”

Now, I’m sure Richt was spoken to by his superiors about his rather strong stance after taking it in the spring. But that’s the attitude Georgia, and Georgia fans, should take.

It’s just a football game.

It doesn’t matter where you play it.

There is. no. advantage. for. Florida.

To restate a tired argument: Where was that advantage when Georgia took 15 of 19 games between 1971 and 1989?

It wasn’t there. Because there isn’t one.

It’s been fabricated by disappointed, Gator-hating Bulldog fans blinded by the fear and the aura of Urban Meyer and Tim “Jesus Throws Jump Passes” Tebow.

If you want to visit Atlanta so bad, go to a Tech game.

Just calm down.


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