On Wednesday, it was announced that Georgia’s annual series against Auburn, better known as the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, would be breaking from tradition. The game will now be played in October instead of November, starting in 2020. And one of the key figures in the rivalry, legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley, has weighed in on the change.
Dooley served as Georgia’s head football coach from 1964-88 and also worked as Georgia’s athletic director from 1979-2002. Dooley is also an Auburn graduate. He appeared on the “The Opening Kickoff” on WNSP-FM 105.5, and made it clear that the schedule change benefits Auburn.
“It benefits Auburn,” Dooley said. “You could imagine some of the Georgia people are not happy with it, because you get into a routine of when the game is scheduled. … No question, it’s very good for Auburn, and Georgia has evidently gone along with it.”
Dooley also recounted when he was athletic director and changed Georgia’s schedule so that the Bulldogs no longer played Auburn and Florida in back-to-back games.
“To me, the toughest thing I ever had to do at Georgia was play our two biggest rivals — Florida and Auburn — back to back. I vowed one day when I became athletic director, I was going to change that, which I’ve done,” Dooley said.
Georgia had played Auburn in November every year dating back to 1937. With the move, Georgia will now play the Tigers in early October, and face the Tennessee Vols in November.
Related: Wednesday was a tough day for Georgia football and basketball
Many had thought if Georgia moved the Auburn game, the Bulldogs would get an extra home game out of the deal. But that will not be the case unless there is an expansion to the SEC, per Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity.
With the Auburn game now moving up to start the 2020 season, there is also the possibility that Georgia could face Auburn and Alabama in a short-time period during the 2020 season. Since the SEC expanded in 1992, Georgia and Alabama, when they’ve played in the regular season, have usually met in the last weekend in September or the first weekend in October.
Georgia and Alabama also met in the 2018 SEC championship game and the 2018 national championship game, with Alabama winning both.
The motivating factor for Auburn to move up the rivalry game with Georgia was to avoid having to play the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide in a three-week stretch to close the season. Georgia has dominated the rivalry with Auburn as of late, with the Bulldogs winning 11 of the last 14 games.
Georgia travels to Auburn this season, as the two teams will play on Nov. 16.
Best stories from around Georgia football