Auburn trades with Georgia football for Devil schedule

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 1: Mecole Hardman #4 of the Georgia Bulldogs (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 1: Mecole Hardman #4 of the Georgia Bulldogs (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia football completed a three-way schedule trade. Georgia and Tennessee came out pretty good. Auburn, not so much.

This week Auburn got their scheduling wish. Tennessee and Georgia football got the last laugh.

With Auburn – Georgia football games now set for the second Saturday in October, the Tigers can visualize their future with 2020 clarity – LSU and Alabama on back to back weekends.

The delicious irony? If the War Eagle somehow soars over those two rivals, the likely reward is the back to back to back season ending gauntlet of LSU, Alabama and then Georgia in the SEC Championship game.

By tagging along to the schedule swap-o-rama, Tennessee picked up a break. The Vols no longer play their two biggest Eastern division rivals, Florida and Georgia,  back to back and avoid a killer October of Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

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It seemed a good idea at the time

Auburn floated the idea of moving the traditional November match-up with its most ancient rival to October about a year ago. The idea, to the dismay of tradition bound Georgia football Fans, took hold. When Kirby Smart acknowledged the recruiting advantage of an early season rivalry match-up, the die was cast.

Were the Tigers too anxious to trade in their jalopy of a schedule for a shiny new October with a sunroof? It does seem the swap comes with some long-term interest payments for the Tigers.

The art of the Smart deal

When Auburn hatched the schedule swap caper, Kirby Smart laid low, bemoaning Georgia’s unappreciated willingness to play Auburn on the road two consecutive seasons in 2012 and 2013. Auburn simply returning the favor would rectify the current scheduling snafu of playing both Tech and Auburn at home in even years and away on odd years.

“I feel like if we could fix it, it would help to not have two road games back to back for us,” Smart moaned at SEC Spring Meetings in 2018.

The sting

This solution was apparently too complicated, and the game was afoot. Auburn advanced a scheduling change option. Kirby voiced a hunger for an early season big rivalry contest to help recruiting, and the mark was hooked.  There is little doubt – the Dawgs snookered the Cats.

“Every school advocates for their own desires,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told DawgNation last season. “Everybody advocates for their own.”

The Georgia athletic director advocated well, conning the Tigers into a season ending gauntlet, gaining for Smart a sweet October recruiting date every other year and maintaining Georgia football’s now traditional open date before the Florida game.

Georgia president Jere Morehead seemed to give the outcome an, “Aw shucks” approval.

“I suppose if I was looking at the schedules, the keys for me would be asking if the head football coach is happy with the schedule and has our athletic director vetted it properly.”

Golly gee, y’all.

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It’s dangerous to let tennis players hang with your girlfriend, and you definitely do not want them trading with you for a new football schedule.