We all know Kirby Smart doesn’t want to play his annual matchup with Florida football in Jacksonville. The Georgia coach has been very vocal about moving the game away from a neutral site and back onto campus, mainly for recruiting purposes.
News leaked out yesterday that for at least two years, he may get his wish as the stadium that is used for the annual Florida-Georgia matchup is set to undergo renovations that could require the game to move.
Florida Football: Let’s get a party going
In a radio interview with 1010XL in Jacksonville, Mayor Lenny Curry dropped a nugget that the Jacksonville Jaguars were probably going to have to find a temporary home to play in for two years while TIAA Bank Field undergoes some major renovations.
Curry said the plan is for the renovations to start in 2025 and continue through 2026.
TIAA Bank Field is, of course, where the game that was formally a really large party that serves a particular kind of beverage is played as well.
According to The Athletic, Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin has been aware of the plans to renovate but was under the belief they were further down the road than 2025.
Either way, the game will need a temporary home for two years, and expect it to turn into a massive verbal tug of war as to where the two games will actually be played:
- The games are played home and home. This is what happened in the 90s when the stadium in Jacksonville had to be rebuilt
- There is also the possibility the game gets moved to a different neutral site like Orlando, Atlanta, Tampa, etc.
Obviously, the home-and-home is the easier option, but the real reason the game has stayed in Jacksonville all these years is that it is financially better for both Florida and Georgia to play the game there. Knowing the economic boom the weekend brings to the city, it wouldn’t be insane to see another city make a bid for the game and put forth a package too good to give up.
Personally, the game should be a home-and-home. For any Gator fan living south of Gainesville, the trek to Jacksonville adds an extra hour and a half to two hours to the commute. Plus, tickets to the game are not easy to obtain even if you have season tickets.
But we know money talks, and ultimately, the powers that be will follow the money.
It’s the same as it ever was.