The Auburn Tigers have the tough task of facing rivals Georgia and Alabama on the road this fall. If coach Gus Malzahn had his way, that wouldn’t be the case.
During an appearance on Birmingham’s WJOX’s 3 Man Front on Thursday, Malzahn was asked if he’d like to break up the time between playing Georgia and Alabama. Malzahn responded by saying the timing — Auburn plays Georgia on Nov. 10 then Alabama on Nov. 24 — wasn’t his concern.
Instead, Malzahn has more of an issue with both being on the road.
“I think the big thing is having them staggered — one at home and one away [each year] would probably be the best for those two at the end,” Malzahn said. “Last year, it was two at home, this year it’s two away. If you look back at 2010, we played Georgia at home and played Alabama away. That would be my wish.”
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The Georgia and Alabama series had routinely alternated being home and away for Auburn each year since 1998, the last season in which the Iron Bowl was played in Birmingham. This pattern changed after the Southeastern Conference added Texas A&M and Missouri for the 2012 season.
Due to expanding the SEC to 14 teams, preserving long standing cross-divisional rivalries and needing each team to have four home games in the eight-game conference slate, the conference interrupted the alternating home-and-away games in the Auburn-Georgia rivalry.
Auburn hosted Georgia in 2012 and 2013 before the series resumed its alternating home-and-away scheduling. This change resulted in Auburn’s games against Georgia and Alabama now being both away or both at home each season.
The Auburn-Georgia series wasn’t the only SEC matchup affected. Ole Miss traveled to Alabama in 2012 and 2013 as well as to Vanderbilt in 2013 and 2014, while Texas A&M traveled to Ole Miss in 2012 and 2013. All three annual series resumed the home-and-away setup after those two years.