May 30, 2014
In 2013, Ricardo Louis' touchdown on a tipped ball broke Georgia's heart
By Charles Goldberg
DESTIN, Fla. -- Fortune smiled on Auburn last year, getting to play Georgia and Alabama at home so late in the season, winning each of those games with plays that will live in football lore.
Shall we flash forward to this season? Auburn is at Georgia and at Alabama in the same season for the first time ever, and neither game will contribute to the Tigers' season ticket sales.
Could the Georgia game, on some future schedule, be moved earlier in the season to eliminate having to play in Athens and Tuscaloosa so late in the year?
"In the perfect world, I'd prefer to have another game at that back end, whether it is was Texas A&M or moving Georgia up, whatever it may be," said Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs. "But it's hard to argue with 2013. It worked out for us having those games at the end of the year. So, sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.
"Here's the thing: The eight SEC games you play will be the toughest games you play. How ever that sets up, you want to be at the best place to compete in those games."
Moving the Georgia game, the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry, is more theoretical than anything. Such talks aren't even in the preliminary stage.
"We haven't had that discussion yet," Jacobs said at the SEC Spring Meetings. "But as we look at our season ticket sales, having those games at the end, have a great end-of-the-season game, we'll continue to look at that and see if there's a win-win for everybody. But right now, we're committed to playing just like we have."
So for now, it'll be business as usual.
"We'll get through it this year and see how it is," Jacobs said. "In our league, we have to be open-minded about scheduling. We have to have good matchups throughout the year, for the television package and everything."
Jacobs said he has not discussed moving Georgia with coach Gus Malzahn. Georgia coach Mark Richt said he hasn't considered moving the game, either, though he's in a similar situation by having late-season games against Auburn and rival Georgia Tech.
For Auburn, the Georgia game isn't played back-to-back with the Alabama game. Auburn has Samford in between the two this year. Georgia has Charleston Southern between Auburn and Tech. Moving Auburn-Georgia game is not the first priority for either.
"I don't know what that would take," Richt said. "I haven't thought that much of the future schedules, quite frankly."
Problem is, said Richt and Jacobs, both teams could end up with another tough last-season opponent, anyway.
"Then you're just going to put somebody else that is pretty good in that spot," Richt said. "Everybody we play in this league is really good. I don't know if I'd be for that.
"I think you're always going to have… great opponents. I think it's inevitable."
Plus having the likes of Samford and Charleston Southern available eases the problem of playing two rival games on consecutive weekends. Playing such FCS schools, said Jacobs, is "absolutely not only a value, but a necessity."
"We have a hard time getting games, and I think it's good not only for our teams, but for those FCS schools who have a chance to play us. But we do have to continue to tend to our strength of schedule. We're one of the top four toughest schedules in the nation right here in Auburn, going to Kansas State and everybody else in this league."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine