Georgia Football: How to fix rivalry game to keep it at neutral field

Kirby Smart (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Kirby Smart (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Georgia Football has the coolest tradition in college football as the Dawgs meet Florida for a neutral-site game in the middle of the season.

Every year, Dawg fans can mark their calendars for the final weekend in October for a trip to Jacksonville to take on the Gators at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

Half the fans in the stadium wear Blue and Orange, and the others Red and Black. It’s genuinely one of the greatest sites in all of college football.

Traditions are so important to keep in college football since so much of it is changing.

Head coach Kirby Smart played in this game. He played his freshman year in Athens and the remaining three years in Jacksonville. So he knows what it’s like to see it played at home and a neutral site, and yet he wants to make it a home-and-home series.

The reason he gives is recruiting and how it prevents them from being able to host players every other year.

During the bye week, the annual question came up during one of his press conferences, and he shed some light on why he feels the way he does.

"” All I ever say is that the home atmosphere we have is incredible, and the ability to bring recruits in is big,” Smart said in his Oct. 19 press conference. “If I knew every year, we’d have home games like we’ve had this year, it’d be less of an issue but it’s an issue when you have your biggest rival, but don’t have the opportunity to bring recruits in every other year.It’s certainly valuable when kids decide before the early signing day in December and they’re enrolling in January. Those are the most critical weekends you have to have kids on campus. I stand by the fact that we miss opportunities and everyone else in the country doesn’t.”"

So how can you fix having the recruiting issue and still keep your incredible tradition? There has to be a way to get recruits there like it’s a home game situation.

This event is one of the coolest, and the fact that recruits cannot attend unless they buy tickets is just not okay.

You fix it by getting with the NCAA and trying to propose a loophole that the home team can host and bring recruits into the game. That way, it would be like a home-and-home series, but still at the traditional spot in Jacksonville.

Sure some teams may feel like that is favoritism to these teams, but also allow it to happen with the Red River Rivalry that Oklahoma and Texas have yearly. Week 1 kick-off games and stuff could be added with this rule so other teams can use his new tool to their advantage, but there would need to be different rules.

Whoever is the home squad can host recruits and do what they usually do for recruiting weekends. Granted, it won’t be the same because neither team is on campus, and they cannot do their whole recruiting pitch, but they could come up with unique ways to host them.

First, the two teams need to come together and agree on this because this tradition is a selling point. So many players who love this rivalry, and it could be a way to introduce it to kids who have never witnessed it before.

There are very few neutral-sited rivalry games in college football, don’t get rid of this one. Instead, make it a unique recruiting tool to show kids that you can participate if you choose either team.

Both teams already get kids to the games in undisclosed ways, so why not make it legit? They are the only SEC schools that meet in neutral environments. It’s naturally something that could intrigue recruits.

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Georgia and Florida both need to discuss, and with Josh Brooks as the new athletic director, he seems like someone who could potentially be interested in this. If allowing recruits makes Smart okay with the rivalry staying in Jacksonville, then by all means, figure out how to allow it.