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Blog Entry

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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Comments

Since: Dec 29, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:40 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!!!



Since: Jul 7, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:32 pm
 

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

Oh yeah...and throw Vanderbilt over to the West. Like anyone will notice.



Since: Jul 7, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:31 pm
 

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

Why does geography seem to befuddle people?  Put the two schools in Alabama in the East.  Put Texas A&M and Missouri in the West.  The only rivalries that are disrupted are the ones with LSU and Auburn/Alabama.  Big whoop.  They'll meet again the SEC Championship.



Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:20 pm
 

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

>And Auburn is named for the city its in, not for the color.

What was the city named after? The color maybe?



Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:56 pm
 

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

And Missouri was put in the East to keep Auburn and Alabama in the same division; not necessarily preserve Bama/Tennessee. Auburn probably would have gone to the East otherwise.



Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:55 pm
 

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

And Auburn is named for the city its in, not for the color. You are just full of wrong today.



Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:54 pm
 

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

Big 12 only plays 9 games because they only have 10 teams. They never played 9 with divisions.



Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:39 pm
 

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

Just go to a nine game conference schedule like the Pac 12 and Big 12 have done and the Big Ten and ACC have proposed. Is playing Sun Belt Conference games worth losing Alabama vs. Tennessee?

Better yet:

East: South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn
West: Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Mississippi State

Auburn - Where the people rejected from the University of Alabama go to college.
Auburn - They name the school after a shade of red and their school colors are orange and blue.



Since: Sep 29, 2011
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:34 pm
 

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

Wasn't the whole point of illogically putting Missouri in the Eastern Division to preserve the Tennessee/Alabama cross-division rivalry that we're now talking about sacrificing?  I suppose they'll still have to be in the East if we do away with permanent cross-division opponents because switching them with Auburn would then jeopardize Auburn/Alabama as well.

Florida and Auburn ended their very old annual rivalry the last time the SEC expanded (Auburn is actually the closest SEC school to Gainesville) and UF got stuck playing LSU every year (which starting around 2002 became quite burdensome compared to the other permanent cross-division rivalries).




Since: Oct 29, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:32 pm
 

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

Barner - Do the math before making comments. Six teams are currently in the West. Six are in the East. If you add two teams to the West it is now 8 in the West vs. 6 in the East. If Alabama AND Auburn both move to the East what do you have? Six teams in the West and Eight in the East. Alabama was never going to move to the East. Only Auburn.

Alabama resisted this change to SAVE natural rivalries including Alabama/Auburn, Alabama/Tennessee, and Auburn/LSU and has not destroyed anything.

This is what we have to deal with constantly.


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