I may not be a popular guy after this latest edition of "Kyle Gets Contrary," inasmuch as I have elected to tackle one of the more divisive issues in Bulldog Nation, but I have made clear my position on this issue before, so I hope those who take the opposite view will not mind my breaking out the big guns in support of my cause.
It has been noted more than once that Mark Richt favors moving the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party from Jacksonville. While I take a back seat to no fan in my high regard for Coach Richt, we part company on this issue, for reasons articulated by beloved former Georgia defensive coordinator Erskine Russell. Coach Russell wrote the following words in his autobiography, Erk: Football, Fans & Friends, which was published in 1991:
Georgia people feel that Jacksonville is a part of south Georgia and, of course, Florida people call Jacksonville their territory. In this setting, some mighty battles with most unusual and strange outcomes have taken place.
In the beginning, I thought Florida had a great home field advantage and Coach Eaves threatened to move the series to home-and-home because the Gators were allotted more tickets. When that was evened out, I was convinced Jacksonville was the place for the game and the series should remain there. I still feel that way.
To all those Georgia fans who feel the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party should move from Jacksonville, I have four questions:
- Since Erk Russell wrote those words, what about the Georgia-Florida series has changed, apart from numerous Bulldog losses having nothing to do with venue and everything to do with coaching, talent, and psychology?
- If nothing has changed aside from multiple Georgia losses at a neutral site where the ‘Dawgs once owned the Gators, how is the suggestion that we abandon Jacksonville to be interpreted as anything other than an act of cowardice and capitulation on the part of Bulldog Nation?
- If our withdrawal from the field of battle can be seen only as a retreat in the face of defeat, how will moving the game from Jacksonville accomplish anything other than emboldening an already confident enemy and providing grist with which to lure away our prospective recruits in South Georgia and North Florida to an opponent already possessing impressive recruiting acumen?
- Upon the basis of what credentials do you claim to possess a more authoritative opinion upon the subject of Georgia football than Erk Russell?