Georgia AD Evans expects more night games

Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Georgia athletic director Damon Evans (left) is greeted by Tat Thompson (right) as he and John P. Smith (center) await the start of Thursday's Exchange Club of Augusta meeting.

With the big business of college football, University of Georgia athletic director Damon Evans said Thursday he expects night games to become more prevalent.

In August 2008, the Southeastern Conference signed 15-year television contracts with CBS and ESPN. The new deals mean more prime-time coverage of the SEC.

Evans said he's guessing Georgia will play at least five night games in the upcoming season. He confirmed the Bulldogs' Sept. 12 home opener against South Carolina will be held at 7:45 p.m.

"That's just the nature of the beast at this time," he said.

Speaking at the Exchange Club of Augusta weekly meeting, Evans touched on a variety of hot topics being discussed throughout Bulldog Nation. One he mentioned is the future site of the Georgia-Florida game. The Bulldogs and the Gators are contractually obligated to play two more games in Jacksonville, Fla., where Florida has won 16 of the past 19 meetings.

"I want to do what I think is appropriate for Georgia," said Evans, who added he's trying to come up with a long-term plan this summer. "It's something that always comes up. But I don't think it's something that's an easy decision, one that you make hastily. I think you've got to put a lot of thought into it and then at the end of the day whatever that decision is we have to live with it."

Evans said he's protective of future open dates before the Florida game. In 2007, Georgia had an open date and defeated the Gators. Last year, the Bulldogs played Louisiana State the week before and lost to Florida. This year, Georgia is off before its Oct. 31 contest with the Gators.

"I'm going to protect that open date before Florida as much as I can," he said.

The Bulldogs will open the season Sept. 5 at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are one of three nonconference teams from Bowl Championship Series leagues on the schedule. Evans said in the future he wants Georgia to play no more than two BCS non-conference teams.

Evans said he's optimistic about Georgia's chances this season, despite the losses of quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno to the NFL.

"I'm always excited about our football team because of the leadership of Mark (Richt)," Evans said. "We lost a lot, but in this conference you never know what's going to happen."

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.

More

UGA defensive improvement overshadowed by offensive struggles

ATHENS, Ga. — In the latter stages of Saturday's 24-10 loss to Florida in Jacksonville, Kirby Smart didn't see any quit in a Georgia defense that... Read more

Georgia quarterback Eason feels the heat from Florida defense

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Beating Florida isn't an easy chore for a true freshman quarterback.

Just ask Matthew Stafford, Quincy Carter, Eric... Read more