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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Since: Aug 10, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:26 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed


The SEC didn't do this Texas did by becoming greedy and creating their own network. The SEC just took advantage and took the teams before another conference did. You can't place blame anywhere other than squarely on the shoulders of Texas.  

Since: Aug 10, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:23 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed


Texas A&M ended up in the West and Missouri in the East. All of this mess is because of Alabama. The East should've got Auburn and Alabama with Texas A&M and Missouri going into the West but Bama didn't want that so you have a huge mess with rivalries that go back 100+ years being threatened. They need to change it up before they lose mass amounts of cash. No one wants to see Texas A&M Auburn over UGA Auburn. They either need to realign it or add a conference game to sort this out.  

Since: Mar 5, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:20 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

Miss (St.)
Miss (ouri)


Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:06 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

I thought Auburn was going to move to the east division and both Mizzo and Tx A+M would join the west (so 7 schools would be in each division).  If that isn't true where are the new schools going to be?  who will move to the east?

Since: Feb 9, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:57 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

Good! The greed of the SEC by adding two teams will kill what the college fan loves the most TRADITION! The SEC ended traditions for rivals in the Big 12 and now their fans can lose their tradition as well!

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:45 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

"The bottom line is that in a 14-team league, there's simply no way to 1. play an eight-game schedule."  Here is a bulletin for the SEC.  Go to a 9 game cconference schedule like the ACC, Big 12, and Pac 12 already have, and the Big 10 will be going to shortly, and solve this problem.  Does it make any sense at all to have Auburn-UGA and 'Bama-Tennessee play a "non-con" game when they are not scheduled to play each other in a conference game?  I can see it now.  Say Auburn and LSU end up in a tie for the SEC West, but Auburn loses to UGA in a "non-con" game.  LSU screams bloody murder that had that game been a conference game, they (LSU) would be the West Champs.  This really is a no brainer.

Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:34 pm

Georgia AD: Auburn rivalry not guaranteed

This is a consequence of adding to and subtracting for the sake of expanding and subtractions.

Eventually all the normal traditional games would not be played or played so infrequently that they would cease to be what they once were. Here we have the potential of 114 years of competition between Georgia and Auburn go down the tube.

Eventually the fans of these two fine institutions are gonna demand a return to tradition or withdraw any financial support they are currently offering the programs.

I can see it happening in the PAC-12 where we were once guaranteed a game each year against California and Stanford.

I am sure there is talk going on with a lot of alum from many universities as to where this madness stop, many traditions continued.

Some families, alum and fans as well as students plan to attend that particular game. Now they have no reason to attend that game and other games might not be interesting enough to go through the planning and other things necessary to attend another game you have no connection to even if you are a graduate of a particular  college.


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