UGA Football

Changing Georgia’s date with Florida ‘not an option’

Sony Michel runs through Florida defenders in Georgia’s game against the Gators in 2015.
Sony Michel runs through Florida defenders in Georgia’s game against the Gators in 2015. AP

It’s unfortunate Florida and LSU weren’t able to play against one another during the weekend.

And of course, there could be some consequences if the two teams aren’t able to make the game up.

If Tennessee loses again and Florida wins out, the Gators would go to the SEC championship game, despite playing one fewer conference game and having lost to the Volunteers.

Tennessee would have a legitimate gripe in this scenario, sure.

But what does this have to do with Georgia?

The reason Georgia has found itself in this particular conversation is because of the recent chatter that perhaps the Bulldogs and Gators could reschedule their annual rivalry for Oct. 22, in order to free up Oct. 29 to reschedule the Florida-LSU game

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity ruled out this scenario Monday. In an email to The Telegraph, McGarity was asked whether any discussions have taken place to move the Georgia-Florida game up a week and if this is a scenario the athletics department would consider.

“Nope. Not an option,” McGarity said.

And that’s the way it should be.

Georgia has a set schedule and shouldn’t alter it because LSU and Florida were forced to postpone their game. And this is especially the case since LSU offered to host Florida with Florida declining. Florida couldn’t play the game earlier in the week or after the scheduled Saturday date, due to Hurricane Matthew hitting the state. If the two programs and the SEC want to reschedule this game, they should figure out a way to work it out among themselves and themselves only.

Georgia should never enter the equation.

Forget about the fact that Georgia and Florida are set to play in only three weeks, with a ton of planning going into the event that surrounds the neutral-site game. And forget about the logistical nightmare EverBank Field would deal with if Georgia and Florida played Oct. 22 with the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting the Oakland Raiders a day later.

Tens of thousands of Georgia fans have purchased tickets and made travel arrangements for the annual game, formerly labeled and still called the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. This is an annual game that Georgia’s fans, especially those in south Georgia and north Florida, look forward to each season.

Georgia shouldn’t have to adjust its schedule because two other teams need to find a make-up date.

There’s only one scenario in which Georgia should even possibly entertain a move, and even then it would be a disservice to those who are planning to travel to Jacksonville, Florida, in three weeks.

Georgia should only even begin to consider moving the game to Oct. 22 if it gets to host it in Athens. Otherwise, forget about it. Georgia gains nothing by keeping the game in Jacksonville while moving the date up a week.

It will be interesting to see what happens with LSU and Florida and whether Florida could win the SEC East while playing only seven conference games.

But whatever happens, Georgia shouldn’t be pressured into changing anything.

And judging by what McGarity had to say, it doesn’t appear the Bulldogs will be.