Athens, GA (Sept 26, 2008) - As fans of the 8th-ranked University of Alabama Crimson Tide and the 3rd-ranked University of Georgia Bulldogs get ready for this weekend's nationally televised game (ESPM, 7:45 PM ET), a game that has taken on additional significance because of last night's loss by Southern California, there is an ugly little problem that may hinder their ability to get to the game. There is a wee bit of a gasoline shortage problem in Georgia, and "wee bit" is a huge understatement.
The Sports Media Watch has reported that Tex Pitfield, CEO of Saraguay Petroleum, thinks the game should be cancelled:
Calling it a "question of social responsibility," Tex Pitfield, CEO of Saraguay Petroleum, told WGAU's Tim Bryant, "If I was governor, I’d cancel the game." Pitfield: "That gas needs to be used for people to go to work, and for people to take care of their families. I did the same thing with my tennis team yesterday. I told them that I wasn’t going to start wasting gas to go play tennis."
This is all well and good, but there are not a lot of options to reschedule a game of national impact this season. Georgia has two off Saturdays: October 4 and November 22. Alabama only has one off Saturday on November 22. So that date would be the only viable date for a reschedule. But why should a game be rescheduled because people make a stupid decision to drive to a game when they know there might not be gasoline available?
To that end, the Athens Banner-Herald is reporting that University of Georgia police Chief Jimmy Williamson is calling on fans to think with their heads:
Out-of-town football fans who can't make it to Athens and back on one tank of gas should stay home this weekend, University of Georgia police Chief Jimmy Williamson said.
A gas shortage in Athens and across the Southeast means it's unlikely Athens filling stations can supply fuel for 100,000 out-of-town visitors, in addition to 115,000 residents.
Fans coming from faraway places like South Georgia or Alabama should think twice before heading to Athens for the UGA-University of Alabama football game Saturday night, Williamson said.
My drive to Sanford Stadium is only six miles, so I do not have to worry about the gasoline. Hopefully people further away will accept personal responsibility and do what is right for them.