Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Georgia-Florida Proposed Time Change Still Getting Flak

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Georgia-Florida Proposed Time Change Still Getting Flak

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Elliott, Times-Union sports writer

Not that Florida-Georgia has ever needed any added hype, but the decision to move the game to a night contest to accommodate ESPN's national telecast has followers from both sides citing the good and bad about such a move.

Before Gator and Bulldog fans start booking that extra hotel night, however, all the speculation of the gametime moving to night is still just that -- speculation.

Granted, it's strong speculation, in that this year's UF-Georgia contest looks to be a battle between potential Eastern Division contenders, a high-ranking ESPN official said the company can still go with another game that day, should either the Bulldogs or Gators falter.

"Yes, we have the Florida-Georgia game on our radar screen for that day, but we have 12 days prior to that date [Nov. 2] to select a different game if we feel there is a stronger matchup either in the SEC or in another conference," said Dave Brown, director of programming of college football for ESPN. Brown has the responsibility of putting together the most attractive schedule for the network, a job that entails the selection of over 100 games each fall.

"We understand that moving the game to night is a departure from previous Florida-Georgia games and we are very aware of the sensitive nature of the elements surrounding this contest," Brown said. "We want this to be a success for everyone involved -- for the schools, our audience and the people in attendance.

"But we also want to maintain our flexibility in selecting the best available game that day. If those schools are [as strong] however, we could make this game official prior to our 12-day window. None of the networks -- ESPN, CBS or ABC -- like to make these announcements before you absolutely have to."

So while ESPN hasn't and won't officially announce the game as a 7:45 p. …

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