UGA's Smart: Take time to weigh out future of UF game in Jax

Bulldogs coach says what's best for program is what should happen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dan Mullen did his part to stay perfectly neutral on the topic. 

Kirby Smart did much of the same. 

Anyone hoping to get a feel one way or another on the Florida-Georgia football rivalry staying in Jacksonville probably came away from SEC media days feeling a bit underwhelmed. 

Smart, the Georgia head coach whose team played Alabama for the national championship two seasons ago, said Tuesday during his appearance at SEC media days that he’s fine with taking time to weigh out what benefits the Bulldogs the most.

Translation — nothing's happening anytime soon. Don't expect any more juicy sound bites on the potential move of one of best neutral-site rivalries in college football.  

“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,” said Smart, whose team went 11-3 last year and lost to Texas in the Sugar Bowl. 

“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 a group and go with it.”

A day earlier, Mullen, the Gators’ second-year head coach, gave diplomatic answers on both sides of the argument and didn’t lean one way or another. 

While neither Smart nor Mullen will have the final say on whether the Florida-Georgia event stays in Jacksonville, it’s certainly not going to appease fans of the biggest game in town every year.

The schools have a contract with the city that runs through the 2021 game. Mayor Lenny Curry said in a statement in late May that conversations were already ongoing between both universities to keep the game in Jacksonville. 

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.