Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss this weekend’s matchup between the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators, and debate if the game should continue to be played at a neutral site in Jacksonville, FL, the site of the game since 1933.
DAN WETZEL: Cocktail party down in Jacksonville. World's largest cocktail party, it's being played this weekend. I believe that's not allowed. Is that name no longer around?
ROSS DELLENGER: No.
PAT FORDE: I think they've altered that, haven't they?
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: What is it now?
ROSS DELLENGER: I forgot what it-- see, it's such a terrible change.
PAT FORDE: World's largest outdoor party or something?
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah, something like-- yeah, something like that. It's bad. Whatever they changed it to, it's bad and nobody goes by it. I don't even know what it is. Yeah, I went last year, I don't even know what it is.
DAN WETZEL: Kirby Smart wants this thing moved to Home & Home. And his biggest problem he said last year at SEC Media Day is he can't get a Florida coach to agree with me on this. His issue is recruiting, of course. I'm competing all across the SEC who host recruits at their biggest games.
When Auburn plays Alabama, guess where the recruits are. When LSU and Alabama play, that's where the biggest recruits want to go. It's an opportunity for bringing these kids who fly in from all the country. What game do they want to come see Georgia play? They'd like to see Georgia play Florida, but they can't do that. It's very important, recruiting is very important.
I can't get a Florida coach to agree. He wants to go Home & Home so that every other year he can bring recruits to Athens for the big Florida game. Right now they cannot host recruits at an off campus site like this. Although, I'm sure there will be plenty of ways to get certainly Jacksonville area talent to wander over, if they'd like to, and maybe just sit in the stands or whatever.
We talked a little about this over the summer. But Ross, your thoughts on will they ever move the cocktail party, which I think has been there 70 years or something?
ROSS DELLENGER: I'm a proponent of on-campus games. It's something we've talked about on the pod quite a bit, especially with the expanded playoff situation. I am definitely a proponent of on-campus games. And I think that eventually we'll see this one move back, like a lot of them have, right? There's only really small amount of games that are rivalry games, traditional annual rivalry games that are held off-campus. I can-- I mean, obviously Texas and Oklahoma is one and this one is another. I'm sure there are a few more, but.
DAN WETZEL: Arkansas-A&M play--
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah. Yeah. And that's kind of a new one that went. Right. That's kind of a new one. Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: It is kind of weird.
ROSS DELLENGER: It is. Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: I mean, they're doing that for recruiting.
PAT FORDE: Right.
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah. Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: Because they want to-- So I mean you get something out of being there. That's my-- I don't know. I think this is kind of a cool tradition and it's unique. I am pro on-campus games also. But there's something about this one that just works. Like the Texas-Oklahoma game being at the State Fair. So I kind of don't want to see-- that's kind of tradition I kind of like. I know it's a little weird that I'm violating my credo on it.
ROSS DELLENGER: It's been played in Jacksonville, by the way, since 1933, other than two exceptions. So yeah, I mean--
DAN WETZEL: They've re-- they built the stadium. They had to go campus when they built the stadium. Or they redid the stadium, I remember that. Yeah. Also the Cocktail Party name comes from Florida "Times-Union" sportswriter, Bill Castells. Who in 1950s gave it the name, the world's largest outdoor cocktail party, after he observed a drunken fan offering a policeman a drink.
ROSS DELLENGER: If we named every college football game after-- could you imagine if we named every college football rivalry game after what we randomly saw outside the stadium. There would be some real interesting names of rivalry series.
DAN WETZEL: Yeah. Yeah, that would be tough. That's tough.
PAT FORDE: [LAUGHS]
I mean, I like this game and I love the game in Dallas. Those games are fun. I-- maybe I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth here too, but I think during the regular season you throw those one or two special things in there and they're bordering states. It works with the fan bases coming together. It's a wonderful atmosphere, 50/50 ticket split.
It's not a bunch of corporate muckety mucks like you get at a lot of the Bowl game sort of settings. So I would love to see him keep it. And one of the reasons Kirby is as good a recruiter as he is, is he wants every advantage and he presses every advantage. So I get it.
But I also know that 2017, '18, '19, '20, '21, '22, six straight years they've had a top five class. I don't think it's killing them to not have the Georgia-Florida game on-campus. So you know, I can't really feel like an abundance of sympathy or feel like they're really being disadvantaged there because they sure seem to be making it up in other areas.