Having been on both sides, Will Muschamp weighs in on location of future Florida-Georgia game
Many people have weighed in over many years about the location of the Florida-Georgia game. But few have the perspective of Will Muschamp, who was a player at Georgia, and the head coach at Florida before his current stint as the South Carolina head coach.
“That game is a special game,” Muschamp said Wednesday at SEC Media Days. “I’d love to see it stay in Jacksonville. I’ve been on both sides of it. That’s one of the special, special games in college football. I hope that they don’t go to a home and home personally.”
There are three years remaining on a five-year contract between the schools and the city of Jacksonville. The agreement includes a total of $2.75 million in incentives for the two schools. Both programs will receive $125,000 as a signing bonus and a new guaranteed annual payment of $250,000 for each school. The contract also includes an increase in travel and lodging stipends.
For his part, Georgia coach Kirby Smart said he prefers what the staff and administration agree on.
“I’m for what’s best for the University of Georgia and as a group and as a staff and as administration, and we’ll look at that internally and make the decisions based on what is best for our student-athletes and what is best for the university,” Smart said. “I don’t get caught up in the emotion of this decision or that decision. I look at it from a perspective of 10,000 feet where I say: What is best for our program? And it’s that simple. And we’ll make that decision as I group and go with it.”
Florida coach Dan Mullen said the neutral site rivalry game is pretty unique across college football.
“You know what, I think you can make an argument either way,” Mullen said. I think being in a neutral site, obviously it makes it a very special game, a very unique game that you get to go coach in. There’s not many of those in college football if you look at those every year, traditional neutral site games. And I might be off on it.
I know there’s Florida/Georgia. There’s Texas/Oklahoma. And there’s Army/Navy. I don’t know if there’s any more than that. If I am, I don’t want to offend a rivalry out there. That’s something special to say that you got to play in this very special unique game. But you can also see and make the argument the other way of how big a game it is. You’re taking one of your biggest rivalry games every year and you’re moving it off campus where you can’t host that in your home stadium for your fans, all of your season ticket holders for recruiting.
I think you can make arguments on both sides of why it should stay in Jacksonville, why it should leave Jacksonville, and be a home and home. Then it’s interesting, I think it will be an interesting discussion the next couple years of when the contract runs up of what the future is going to be for that game.”
The game has been played in Jacksonville every year since 1993, except for 1994 and 1995, when the contest was played in Gainesville and Athens, respectively, because of stadium reconstruction.