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Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:37 pm

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Everyone expected difficulties in scheduling an expanded SEC. But we're not sure many expected the kind of difficulties outlined by Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday--the sort that could bring an end to one of the conference's oldest and greatest rivalries.

According to McGarity, the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry" between his Bulldogs and the Auburn Tigers could be near the end if its 114-year run* as an annual series. When the SEC convenes at the end of February to map out its future schedules, it will have to decide whether or not to maintain the permanent cross-division game that has preserved the Auburn-Georgia meeting since the league's 1992 expansion. 

With only two of the potential seven cross-divisional games constituting traditional rivalries (the "Third Saturday in October" between Alabama and Tennessee is also in jeopardy), McGarity says the leaguewide support for continuing those games may not be there.

“I think if you ask Alabama and Tennessee, like us and Auburn, we’d like to retain the games,” McGarity said. “But does that work? What do the other 10 schools think? Those four schools like having those games but there’s no other East-West match-up that has that piece of history to it. So I don’t where that fits in ...

“With 14 teams, not everybody will be happy. Some will have a problem with everything. But we’ll make decisions based on the best situation of the league.”

Further complicating the issue is that with six intra-divisional games and a permanent cross-division rival, an eight-game SEC schedule would see just one slot devoted to rotating cross-divisional opponents--meaning teams in the East would play their rotating opponents in the West just twice every 12 years. A nine-game schedule would alleviate many of these problems, but both McGarity and SEC officials say there is little interest within the league to add the extra conference game. 

League officials could find a compromise--say, letting Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama continue with their cross-divisional partnerships while other schools rotate, or allowing those four schools to play their rivalry games as a nonconference matchup in years when they aren't scheduled to play within the SEC.

But those suggestions are entirely speculative. The bottom line is that in a 14-team league, there's simply no way to 1. play an eight-game schedule 2. maintain those cross-divisional rivalries 3. have other cross-divisional opponents play more often than a couple of times a decade. It doesn't work.

Which is why -- unless the league changes course on the nine-game scheduling issue -- it's going to continue to find itself wedged between the proverbial rock and a hard place. And unfortunately for Auburn and Georgia fans, the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry may well prove to be the cost of getting itself out.

*The game has been played every year since 1898 with the exception of three seasons during World Wars I and II.

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Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 7:26 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

I know you have a great point about Alabama and Auburn moving to the East but dang that makes the West LSU's playground! The winner of the East should have to be beat 2 times by the winner of the West to even it out. The problem is that you have the haves and have nots in SEC recruiting...Haves (Alabama,Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Tenn. and Florida) and the have nots (Ole Miss, Miss St, Vandy, Kentucky, Arkansas, and South Carolina) Although S. Carolina is becoming a have in recent years but still normally behind those 6. That alingment puts one of the haves in the West and 5 plus S.carolina in the East!!!!!  Maybe a North/South alignment would work better??     Who wants to be in the North division of the Southeastern Conf? Maybe Upper and Lower Divisions... There has to be a way to make it equal talent.

Since: Apr 8, 2010
Posted on: February 9, 2012 5:41 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

I myself am a huge Georgia fan and I would hate to lose this game. Some traditions should be saved and this is one of them. It already sucks not playing LSU as much as we used to, because that was a great rivalry in the late 1900's. Contrary to what fans of other schools think, most UGA fans want to play Auburn, LSU, and Alabama instead of Miss State, Ole Miss, or some crappy non-conference game against New Mexico State. The SEC definitely has to go to a 9 game conference schedule, there is no alternative. On a different note, BUCKJIM, are you an idiot or an OSU fan? Nevermind, those are usually the same thing. The SEC is the second best conference in the nation? Who is first? This is the first year an SEC team has lost the BCS championship, because people were tired of watching SEC teams beat up on everyone else, so they put 2 in the championship. That tells you all you need to know about who is the best conference in the nation. BUCKJIM just shows how stupid he is by saying something like that.

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 5:08 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

AuTigers77 nailed it.  Thanks for not making me type that out... lol

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2012 5:04 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

the answer is simple....9  game conf schedule AND a rule banning ALL games against 1-AA teams.......i know, Im dreaming.

we cant have Auburn/Georgia cause those games against The Citadel and Coastal Carolina are just too important!



Since: Mar 15, 2011
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:59 pm

ease on

ga would like to dump auburn and schedule some easier team every year like miss or miss state

Since: Aug 10, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:38 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed


You misunderstood my point that wasn't the final way the league should've lined up. Bama people are so short sighted. Of course you would have to move a Kentucky, TN, or Vandy over to even things up but not going geographically makes the entire SEC look like idiots. Why did this happen? You said it Bama resisted. There are other cross conference rivalries that are equally as important. You move Bama to the East it solves the Bama/TN question and Auburn to the East it solves the Auburn/UGA problem. I thought your logic would fill in the blanks for you but again you are an idiot.


South Carolina


Ole Miss
Miss. State
Texas A&M

This way it preserves the most amount of natural rivalries with the exception of a few. 

Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:30 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

This would partially be remedied if/when the SEC added two more teams and then they could go to a four-division format.  That would give a lot more flexibility and would preserve some of the rivalries, but of course they can't ALL continue.

With four divisions, you have three permanent in-division games, then you can pick and choose from the other three divisions which games you want to have every year, and which ones you want to rotate.  Sure, there would still be the problem of going more than four years between playing a certain school, but that would be lessened if you have three or four new opponents every season.

Division A, Team 1, plays:
Teams 2, 3, and 4 from its own division every season
Team 1 from division B every season
and maybe team 1 from Division C every season or every other year.

That leaves three open slots to play the other ten conference teams on a rotating basis, meaning you would go through all of them at least three times in a ten year period.

It's even better if you add in a ninth conference game (unlikely, yes, but as we've seen, things can change).  Then you could have at least four cross-divisional opponents each year.  And if you only had four permanent rivalries, you would have five open slots to play the other 11 teams each season, and you'd go through them all at least twice in a three-year period.

Sure, you'd lose a lot of other traditional rivalries, so you'd have to ask yourselves which is more important: an annual game between Mississippi and LSU, or one between LSU and Florida?  One between Alabama and Arkansas, or Bama and Tennessee?  Georgia and Vanderbilt, or Georgia and Auburn?  Once you've answered those questions, you can start setting up your four divisions and the permanent rivalries, and then decide on whether you want four permanents, or five, and then whether you're playing eight conference games or nine.

Oh yeah, you'd have to decide on teams #15 and #16 first, of course.

Since: Feb 24, 2010
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:17 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

If my squad, like Schmolik's, had hired SEC reject Ron Zook as its head coach, then I would be confused, too.

Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:54 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

Like who really give a crap!!!

If a fourteen team conference can't play a nine game conference schedule ( or more), that is fen' sad!!! 
Leave it to the SECond best conference to "f" up!!!

This post above by BuckJim is why you should stay in school kids.  Lots of profanity, full of emotional dribble, yet no facts.  Also, unless you are a twelve year old girl, don't use multiple exclamation points.  Try English over your ebonics.

Since: Feb 9, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:50 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

Schmolik, Auburn the city and the University were named for the first line in Oliver Goldsmith's poem the Deserted Village: "Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain." Auburn is still referred to as the 'loveliest village on the plain.  So no it was not named after a color, but a poem.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or