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Post Could an SEC schedule adjustment affect the Tech series also?

Friday October 12, 2012

We knew the post-realignment 2012 SEC schedule was only a one-year deal, and there’s a lot of talk today about how future schedules might look and how some high hurdles must be jumped in order to maintain current rivalries within the framework of an eight-game schedule. The SEC part of it is wild enough. This also caught my eye (h/t Sicemdawgs.com):

Smith then makes note of another scheduling issue if Georgia does play at Auburn in 2013. The Bulldogs currently play at Georgia Tech in odd years and may not want to play both late-season rivalry games in that manner….The Yellow Jackets could be in favor of switching their 2013 game to Athens.

So it’s possible that Georgia could offset consecutive trips to Auburn by hosting Tech in consecutive seasons. Before you dismiss the thought as crazy talk and say Tech would never go for it, Kevin Kelley hasn’t lost it. It’s actually along the lines of an idea Tech brought up last year.

Remember back when Georgia was rearranging its schedule to drop Louisville and add a Georgia Dome game against Boise State for 2011? That matchup with Boise was about the fourth option considered by Gary Stokan when he was lining up teams for the 2011 opening game in Atlanta. One of the other options was trying to move the Georgia-Georgia Tech game to the opening week of the season and playing it in the Dome.

The catch of moving the Tech game, other than the tradition of the Thanksgiving weekend date, was that Georgia would have given up its 2012 home game against Tech. The 2011 game would have been in the Dome, and the 2012 game would have been on-campus in Atlanta while returning to home-and-home. You can see why Georgia would balk at the idea. But why was Tech so gung-ho over moving its home game with Georgia to even years?

Tech’s current home schedule in even years stinks on ice. Look at it. What’s the best home game there? Virginia? Miami? BYU? There’s nothing close to what you’d consider a rivalry game. There are few, if any opponents with large groups of road fans. Now look at an example of an odd-year schedule for Tech. Carolina. Virginia Tech. Clemson. Georgia. From a Tech perspective, that’s relatively loaded and a lot easier to sell.

It makes sense for Tech to really want to move one of its big odd-year games to even years. The ACC schedule is more or less locked in, and going to a nine-game conference schedule once Pitt and Syracuse join the ACC won’t change things much. Notre Dame might make an occasional appearance, but so far there’s not much talk of Tech’s base conference schedule changing. That leaves Georgia, and the Dawgs aren’t going to be charitable with a valuable home game.

The issue then is how badly Tech wants to balance its schedule. The Georgia game is sure to be a sell-out in any year, and the additional season ticket sales would provide badly-needed and consistent revenue in the down years between more favorable ACC schedules. Would Tech bite the bullet and give up another year without a visit from Georgia? They’ll still have a respectable home schedule to market in 2013, but it would still be realistically an economic sacrifice and certainly won’t be an advantage for their football team. If the Jackets are willing to pay this price to gain their optimal schedule, expect Georgia to be receptive to the idea should the SEC force the Dawgs to alter their own series with Auburn.

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