ATHENS, Ga. — The Georgia Bulldogs will welcome Tennessee to Sanford Stadium this week, and they really will welcome the 3:30 p.m. kickoff on CBS.
"Playing at 3:30 is perfect," Bulldogs receiver Marlon Brown said. "It's not too early, it's not too late, and you still get to sleep in."
Georgia's victory Saturday over Vanderbilt at Sanford Stadium was the third consecutive televised game for the Bulldogs that kicked off after 7:30 at night. Such a streak had never occurred before this season.
Most of Georgia's players approve of the CBS-televised 3:30 starts -- "It's still during the day, and it means you're in the biggest game of the week," cornerback Branden Smith said -- and at least one Bulldogs assistant coach wouldn't mind taking the field even earlier.
"I would love to play Saturday morning," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "There is no fun early in the day watching somebody else sweat and you're still thinking about what you've got to go through during the game."
The Bulldogs played at Missouri on the night of Sept. 8 and had evening games the past two weekends. That has meant lengthy tailgating the past two Saturdays outside Sanford for tens of thousands, but Bobo has a different agenda when Georgia hosts a night contest.
He drives to the hotel in Lake Lanier, where the team stays, on Saturday mornings for meetings and walkthroughs and returns to the Butts-Mehre Athletic complex around lunch to await recruits. The recruits didn't show up last weekend until around 3:30, leaving Bobo with way more idle time than he wanted.
"I wound up watching the end of the Auburn/Louisiana-Monroe game," he said.
Commodores coach James Franklin said he often clicks the remote between a couple of games of interest before an evening contest kicks off, but he prefers an afternoon start as well.
"It gives you more time after the game to spend time with your family or travel or whatever you're doing," he said. "It gives you time to prepare for that next game as well.
"If you're going to play a night game, you want to play it at home. Road night games are hostile and tough, and getting home after that game and getting in the office on Sunday to begin breaking down your opponent for the next game becomes challenging as well."
Georgia head coach Mark Richt loves playing under the lights because of the energy level, and Brown said night games do bring back good memories from high school. Brown added that playing receiver actually can be advantageous in the evenings because the stadium lights don't affect players as much as the sun can.
Bobo liked the electricity at night when he quarterbacked the Bulldogs during the 1990s, but times have changed.
"As a coach, you want to win that thing and get it over with and go home and watch somebody else sweat it out on TV," he said.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...