After one question from Tim Tebow to Kirby Smart about the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, the debate has been raging on for an entire week as to whether the game should stay in Jacksonville or move to some other format. The debate ranged from cries of abandoning tradition to deep dive analysis into the contract between the schools and the city of Jacksonville. In case you missed it, here's the interaction that seems to have started all of this.
I started to type that I've always been of the opinion that this game should stay in Jacksonville, but I quickly remembered that is not a true statement. When I was in college from 1998 to 2002 (yes that's five years, I redshirted ok?) we lost to Florida every single year. Back then, I was convinced that having the game in Jacksonville was a significant advantage for Florida. I mean, the game is played IN FLORIDA! How can that not be an advantage?!?! At the time, Florida had nearly evened the all time series after their surge began under Spurrier. Georgia coaches complained about it, and I was all in.
The funny thing is back then, my dad would always remind me that that Florida had not always had the upper hand in Jacksonville. "We owned Jacksonville for a long, long time," he would assure me. I could not wrap my head around something I had never seen in person. From 1990 until the time I graduated in 2002, Florida went 10-1 in Jacksonville (12-1 overall) against Georgia. Note, we didn't fare any better in Athens in 1995.
Fast forward to now, and Georgia has taken back the all time series lead 54-44-2. We're at the point that it feels like I've always wanted to keep the game in Jacksonville. Even though we lost every time I went as a student, I always had a great time. We would take the long weekend to head down to Jacksonville Beach for a couple of days. Then we'd head over to Jacksonville on Friday, spend Friday night at The Landing, and then on to the game on Saturday. And as it turns out, it seems like it's the teams on the field and not the field itself that determines who wins this game.
We talked about this situation this week on My God a Podcast, and as recent as this past Monday I had started to soften my stance on keeping the game where it is. Give a listen.
The short version is I heard a comparison to the Iron Bowl moving from Birmingham to Home and Home that resonated with me. However, after mulling it over this week I'm back where I started. First off, I don't think we need to take any advice from a game (The Iron Bowl) that wasn't even played from 1908 through 1947.
Second, I read Craig's post on his new Riverbend Rundown blog. Be sure to check out it out: CFB Playoff expansion would increase fan interest, but at what cost? This post really got me thinking about college football and how the game is in a constant state of change right now.
The Georgia/Florida game has been played 100 times. The game has been played on campus on 7 times out of 100. I was not a math major, but I believe that's only 7%. I get that there are benefits, primarily money, to making changes to this sport. But at this point, with so much change going on, I think this is a tradition worth holding on to.
Edited by Jim Wood
This blog initially stated Florida once held the all time series lead, which was incorrect.