ATHENS — Many Georgia football fans already had Nov. 14 circled on their calendars, and the date has now become even more alluring.
The Masters, originally scheduled to start on Thursday, announced it intends to take place Nov. 12-15 this year.
That means traditions will flow within the hallowed grounds of Augusta National on Saturday (Nov. 14) less than 100 miles away from the sacred hedges of Sanford Stadium.
The Bulldogs, a preseason favorite among championship contenders, will be tangling with their orange-clad rivals from the North on that same day in what’s sure to be a nationally televised event.
“That makes for a great doubleheader, to have Augusta National followed up by a Georgia-Tennessee football game,” UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said. “That’s some high-quality TV right there.”
A look at the SEC schedule reveals the matchup between the Bulldogs and Vols to most likely be the league’s feature matchup, setting up a battle under the lights.
The possibilities are endless. Might we see College GameDay, hosts clad in green jackets, broadcast from Augusta?
Georgia football coach and golf fanatic Kirby Smart would be only a short helicopter ride away from an appearance on the show.
It certainly makes for a historical afternoon and evening on Nov. 14 that will never — and can’t possibly ever— be replicated.
The coronavirus pandemic has triggered these unprecedented times.
Precautionary measures such as social distancing and limited group gatherings are wreaking havoc on global activity. It has staggered economies while testing the willpower and patience of society.
Sports has certainly not been spared, fans now chomping at the bit to find a competitive entertainment fix.
Spring and summer sports seasons have been canceled and/or postponed, and deadlines are fast approaching if fall athletes are to be properly prepared for their respective seasons.
Football is the cash king among U.S. sports, a vital revenue producer in the television advertising and stakes game.
There’s a priceless social value as well, particularly in the Southeastern Conference where football Saturdays are their own religion of sorts. The beliefs and practices have played out among generations of family, friends and business associates.
Thus, November 14 stands to represent a day of sports pageantry like no other before in Georgia.
Some might point out that, traditionally, it would be Auburn facing the Bulldogs in that November game slot.
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The SEC office, however, swapped Tennessee and Auburn weekends on Georgia’s schedule.
It was a tradeoff that accomplished what Kirby Smart wanted, in avoiding consecutive road games with Georgia Tech and Auburn in the same month.
The Tigers, meanwhile, no longer have the prospect of facing Alabama and Georgia on the road in the same month.
And for the Vols, it splits up their two key SEC East Division games. At times Florida and Georgia came back to back, a challenge Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer would rather do without.
But this year the scheduling repercussions go well beyond the gridiron.
What’s arguably the most lavish and sacred golf tournament in the world will intersect a key football weekend.
It makes for a sports afternoon like no other.