ATHENS — The Georgia-Auburn football rivalry could be moving to October, according to a DawgNation source with knowledge of the situation.
The move could happen as early as 2020, according to an Auburn reporter citing anonymous sources.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity had no official comment on the matter when contacted by DawgNation on Tuesday night.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said last May at the SEC Spring Meetings he was interested in a schedule arrangement that would prevent Georgia from playing rivalry games with Auburn and Georgia Tech “back to back” in the same month.
“I feel like if we could fix it, it would help to not have two road games back to back for us, like the situation we had last year (2017) with the Auburn and Georgia Tech back to back,” Smart said. “I understand there are problems and difficulties trying to appease everyone.”
The Bulldogs played a non-conference game with UMass in 2018 on Nov. 17 to avoid playing rivals Auburn (Nov. 10) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 24) back to back.
The Tigers, meanwhile, played Liberty on Nov. 17 last season to avoid the back-to-back rivalry games with Georgia and Alabama.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has said he’s interested in moving the game because it doesn’t like playing Georgia and Alabama in the same month — and on the road in the same years.
Brandon Marcello reported Tuesday night that: “The parties still have hurdles to overcome, but it is expected the 14 SEC schools and commissioner Greg Sankey will move forward to push the game to September or October.”
Smart said it’s not as simple as the schools agreeing to change things up.
“I have a feeling there’s more to it than just us and them,” Smart said. “It affects so many moving parts, the soonest would be 2019.”
As it turns out, 2020 is the soonest, and it might not involve one team playing two consecutive games on the road games to get the teams’ rivalry games in alternate years.
Georgia played at Auburn in consecutive years in 2012 and 2013 to help the SEC scheduling when Missouri and Texas A&M were added to the league.
Smart said if the Tigers want to change up the schedule and play consecutive years in Athens so that they play Alabama and Georgia in alternate years on the road, he’s all for it.
“Absolutely, if we can get a chance to fix it and they return the favor we paid to them,” Smart said. “I hear about that a lot.”