ATHENS — Vince Dooley’s final game as Georgia coach was in the Gator Bowl. Could the same hold true for Mark Richt?
The Jacksonville bowl is on the table for the Bulldogs, and the Gator Bowl Twitter feed was seeking feedback from Georgia fans on Wednesday. And one of those tweets, which was soon deleted, put things in an interesting manner:
“Georgia Fans! Does the possibility of @MarkRicht not coaching UGA’s bowl game affect whether you travel to the game?”
It wasn’t clear if the Gator Bowl knew something others didn’t. Richt has said he will coach Georgia in its bowl game, though he did interview for the Miami job on Tuesday, and other schools have shown interest. The indications from those close to Richt are that he’s most likely to sit out this year, and the Miami interview happened in Atlanta, not Miami.
Anyway, the bowl deleted the above tweet and posted this one:
— TaxSlayer Bowl (@taxslayerbowl) December 2, 2015
Penn State and Florida State are two possible opponents, the Gator Bowl also said, with LSU another SEC team under heavy consideration. The bowls themselves don’t have as much say anymore in which teams they get; the SEC officially assigns teams, but with “consideration” given to what the schools and bowls want. No matter what is said publicly, schools can lobby, and it can be effective. Without gauging the entire fan base, it’s hard to see Georgia fans being that excited about another trip to Jacksonville. For one thing the Bulldogs went there two years ago, and attendance was down. Of course it didn’t help that the opponent was Nebraska for the second straight year. And perhaps Georgia fans will go to almost any bowl to honor Richt – assuming he is in fact coaching the team in the game. Still, it’s a good bet that the two other SEC-affiliated bowls – the Outback (in Tampa) and Citrus (in Orlando) would be better received. The problem is the Citrus is a longshot for the Bulldogs, unless some strings are pulled in Richt’s honor. Two other bowls, both based in Tennessee, are also in play: The Music City (Nashville) and Liberty (Memphis). The former would also be a second straight trip to the same town this season. The latter, well, Georgia fans didn’t travel en masse when their team went to the Liberty following the 2010 season. If it is another trip to Jacksonville, it would be one more chance for Richt to improve his record there. He’s 5-11 there, including a 5-10 mark in the Georgia-Florida game and losing to Nebraska two years ago.