Apparently I’ve decided to put my most pressing thoughts about football to word again this Spring. Though, unlike last time I seem to be in favor of restoring tradition rather than amending it. Don’t worry, you probably won’t have to read another one of these for at least a year!
Having last year had the misfortune of needing to move from Athens to Atlanta for employment I find myself really missing the opportunity to attend major college sports locally. As the largest metro area in the south, Atlanta is a huge draw for graduates from across SEC territory and consequently is generally regarded as having one of the largest, most fervent base of college football fans in the country. It is the annual home of the SEC Championship game, as well as the Chick-fil-A Kick-off and Bowl games... and not much else to speak of, sadly. While I will admit to having a soft spot for the Braves, after living in and loving the Classic City for more than a decade professional teams like the Falcons and the idea of tailgating in an area beneath a series of overpasses called “The Gulch” just to watch sport played in a “domed” stadium on a sunny Sunday afternoon is revolting to me.
More than anything, my move to and subsequent travels within Atlanta have reinforced in my mind that our state’s capital really must have been a lovely place to live and work in up until some point in the mid-20th century. Probably not coincidentally that is also around the time period where Georgia Tech extracted itself from the SEC, and subsequently from any sustained relevance in major college athletics. With the recent expansion of the B1G into previously unthinkable areas, rumor has it that little brother would seriously entertain an offer to enter into an academic partnership with the Big Ten Network. While the incentives of that offer above Tech’s current arrangement really aren’t debatable, such a partnership would also bring with it bi-annual visits to Atlanta from from teams of such origins as Columbus, Ohio; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and *shudders* East Rutherford, New Jersey; as well as other exotic locations.
If Jim Delaney sees Atlanta as a city holding it’s wallet out, begging for a return of major college sporting events that’s because it is. I, however, find such a resolution to the issue as being unacceptable for a variety of reasons that I hope should be obvious to anyone. Now is the time to secure Atlanta from unwanted advances, and to offer Georgia Tech re-entry into the Southeastern Conference. Tech has a strong history with not only UGA, but Auburn and a handful of other SEC schools, as well. Such a move would eliminate UGA’s current annual OoC game allowing the inclusion of Clemson more frequently (and the ACC-tethered Tigers should welcome the SoS boost). It is a good move locally, for the culture of the city of Atlanta. It is a strong move strategically for the SEC (with admittedly few short-term gains). It is a calculated risk for UGA. But if the alternative is to watch our little brother invite the B1G into our home to stay, then it is in the best interest of all involved to finally forgive them rather than to drive them further from us.