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Yellow Jackets may play other state rival

ATLANTA - Georgia Tech's new director of athletics, Dan Radakovich, said Tuesday that Tech may agree to play state rival Georgia Southern in football for the first time.

Radakovich, hired in February to head Tech's athletic department, said he has talked with Georgia Southern athletic director Sam Baker about a possible football game between the state schools.

Georgia and I-AA school Georgia Southern have played three times in the last 15 years, and they have another game scheduled for 2008.

Tech has never agreed to play Georgia Southern, but that may change.

''Sam was by my office a few weeks ago and we talked,'' Radakovich told a gathering of Georgia sportswriters.

''I don't know when that might occur down the road, but certainly it's something as we look to fill in dates in schedules in coming years, Georgia Southern will be part of that mix.''

It is not known if Radakovich and Baker narrowed their discussion to a specific year or date.

Baker said Georgia Southern is eager for the chance to play Tech.

''We have had the opportunity to play Georgia,'' Baker said. ''We would love the opportunity to play Georgia Tech in football. We think that a Georgia Tech-Georgia Southern football game would be of great interest throughout the state.''

All of the three games between Georgia and Georgia Southern have been played in Athens. Georgia has won each of the three games. The first Georgia-Georgia Southern game was in 1992. The most recent game between the two schools was in 2004, and the Bulldogs will play host to Georgia Southern again on Aug. 30, 2008.

For now, Radakovich's focus is on Tech's first football game on his watch. The Yellow Jackets play Notre Dame at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Sept. 2.

''It's a great way to start the year,'' he said. ''We're certainly looking forward to that.''

Radakovich discussed a wide range of topics in his question and answer session with reporters:

• He said he would not use Tech's academic standards as a reason the school can't compete for Atlantic Coast Conference championships:

''I don't know that I'll ever have any apologies for the academic requirements at Tech,'' he said. ''They are what they are. They've been successful in the past. ... There's a lot of luck involved in getting in those BCS games when you get right down to it. If the chips fall the right way, I think there is an expectation that we are going to contend for an ACC championship.

''This isn't the ACC where Florida State ran for four years in a row and didn't lose an ACC game. There is much more competition within this conference. There is an expectation. My goal is to compete for championships. I think I've made it clear to all the coaches and certainly to all the student-athletes.''

• The top priority for improving facilities on

campus is to add a basketball practice building to complement Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

''A basketball practice facility is first on the list,'' Radakovich said. ''The (coliseum) is not owned by the athletic association. It is owned by the Institute, and the Institute has the ability to utilize that facility for other activities. We want to make sure that our basketball teams have the ability to utilize a practice facility anytime they need to.''

• Radakovich said there is support for a one-game college football championship game, if necessary, following the bowl games.

''I think there is some significant merit to moving forward and examining the plus-one format, utilizing the bowls to come back after those games and saying are there two teams who should play. I think there is some merit to that, but history hasn't shown there is a great need for that.''

The former senior associate athletics director at Louisiana State said LSU did not mind sharing its 2003 national championship with Southern Cal.

''Having been at a school that shared a championship, it wasn't all that bad. The world wasn't knocked off its axis. The folks at Southern Cal certainly had a wonderful football team. The people at LSU did. A few years earlier than that it was Michigan and Nebraska, and everything worked out OK. ... Sometimes it's not all bad to keep people talking.''

• He said he looked forward to his first Georgia Tech-Georgia football game and said the Yellow Jackets' five-year losing streak in the series is a hot topic in his meetings with Tech fans.

''If it's not the first thing they talk about, it's in the top five,'' he said. ''What's happened in the past we don't have the ability to change. Last year's game was very competitive as was the year before that. The ball bounces funny ways.''