Georgia football crushed the Gators last Saturday. The game took place in Jacksonville, as it has since 1933. There has been some talk over the years to move the game away from Jacksonville. Some have offered the idea that the game should be an on-campus game. Kirby Smart’s position is pretty straightforward, as he wants the game moved because of recruiting. The rivalry game has only been on-campus twice since 1933. Those two years were 1994 and 1995. The game was moved because of renovations to the Stadium as the Jacksonville Jaguars were a new NFL team.
The Jaguars own Everbank Stadium and hope to renovate the stadium at the end of the 2024 season, and it will be completed by 2027. Thus leaving the two schools looking for a place to play the game elsewhere.
The Associated Press released an article about potential sites for the game. In the article, the author Mark Long said the option to have the game home-and-home is still a possibility. But both schools are looking for cities with NFL stadiums to bid on the game going there. “Administrators are focused on letting cities with NFL-ready stadiums bid on the game, according to two people familiar with the planning.”
The plan for the NFL sites would be Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami. In 2026, Georgia would be the home team, and it would make sense that the game be played in Atlanta. The following year, 2027, Florida is scheduled to be the home team and would likely play the game somewhere in Florida. Orlando and Tampa make sense. But Miami? Just no. First, it is way too far south for that game to be played, and both schools would have trouble getting the game down there since Hard Rock Stadium is the home of the Miami Hurricanes.
To me, the game should remain a neutral site game. If you move the game to the campuses, you lose some of the game’s magic. Furthermore, if it moves to the campuses, it will never return to Jacksonville. The game should be played in Atlanta and Tampa. That would be my vote for anyone asking me. The game has been played in Tampa before, as well.
Wherever the game is played, the hatred will flow. The decision will be based on what the city of Jacksonville council decides on the Jaguars’ renovations. Everbank Stadium, in my opinion, needs an upgrade. It is one of the worst NFL stadiums I have ever been to. So, hopefully, the city decides to fix the stadium, and the Georgia-Florida game stays in Jacksonville.