Rivalries don’t come any better than Georgia-Auburn

The iconic shot of Uga V and Robert Baker is another reason why the Georgia-Auburn rivalry is great. (Associated Press)

The iconic shot of Uga V and Robert Baker is another reason why the Georgia-Auburn rivalry is great. (Associated Press)

I’ve heard it said that Georgia has more big “rivalry” games every year than just about any college program around.

There’s Georgia Tech, naturally. And Florida, with the annual neutral site meeting in Jacksonville.  Plus, of course, Auburn in the Deep South’s oldest football rivalry. And, to a slightly lesser extent, Tennessee also is a rivalry game.

Which one you consider the biggest depends on where you live, what sort of season the Dogs are having and how the rivalry games have gone in recent years.

Some fans think Florida’s recent domination of that series has diminished the series as a rivalry; others think it’s the most important game of the season.

During most of the Richt era when Georgia was in the thick of the SEC race and Tech wasn’t very good, that rivalry was viewed by some UGA fans as not as big as the SEC rivalries. For others, Tech is always the biggest game, no matter what. This year, with the SEC East already locked up and Tech fans having had a year to brag about last year’s 3-point “blowout,” that game is probably the one most UGA fans would swap a body part to get.

As Georgia’s Clint Boling told the Macon Telegraph, “Each UGA fan probably has their own different biggest rival, whether it be Florida, Tech, Tennessee, Auburn,” but for the players, “all the rivalry games are important, and that’s the way we look at all of them.”

To me the best of Georgia’s rivalries, or perhaps I should say my favorite, is the one with Auburn. There’s the fact that the two schools have had a lot of ties over the years, with the Vince Dooley/Pat Dye thing being the most obvious. It’s a competitive rivalry, with Auburn leading the series 53-51-8 while Georgia has outscored the Tigers over the decades, 1,747 points to Auburn’s 1,698. (It’s the only rivalry I can think of where anyone bothers to look at the cumulative score.) And in recent decades the visiting team often has the upper hand.

The rivalry also produced one of the great college football photos — the 1996 shot of mascot Uga V going after Auburn receiver Robert Baker in one of the greatest games in series history, an overtime win for Georgia.

But as David Ching of the Athens Banner-Herald notes, the rivarly has seen better times, with neither team in the running for more than a midlevel non-BCS bowl this year. Neither team is ranked in AP Top 25 (the first time that has happened since 1991 and only the second time since 1977), though the Tigers are ranked in the coaches’ poll.

What’s there to get excited about?

Well, for one thing Georgia already has lost this season to Tennessee and Florida and likely will be a heavy underdog to the Top 10 Jackets, so Auburn may be Mark Richt’s best chance of winning a rivalry game this year.

And as the Telegraph pointed out, losses to Auburn and Tech would make this the first season since 1999 that all four rivals beat the Dogs — a mark that was widely considered the beginning of the end for Jim Donnan. Richt is not in as precarious a position as Donnan was because he’s already banked two SEC championships and a passle of 10-win seasons. But going 0-for-rivalries this year defnitely would be a blow to the program’s prestige.

What makes this year’s Georgia-Auburn game even more interesting is that the Dogs have the chance to win four straight over the Tigers for the first time since the 1940s. Meanwhile, Auburn’s seniors have never beaten the Dogs and still smart from the Blackout/Soulja Boy experience the last time they visited Athens.

“Last year, there wasn’t as much emphasis” on the rivalry with Auburn, tight end Aron White told the Telegraph. “This year, I feel like people are going to get up for it a little more. It’s a night game, and we are trying to redeem ourselves this season and get bowl eligible. I think the rivalry is going to be a little bigger this year than it was last year.”

Add it all up and you’ve got the makings of a great game, even if it doesn’t involve great teams. Georgia-Auburn is college football at its finest. If you can’t get fired up about this one, whether you’re a player or a fan, you don’t have any business wearing red and black.

161 comments Add your comment

my existence hinges on your blog

November 11th, 2009
9:03 pm

Atlanta Gator

November 11th, 2009
11:37 am
To the idiot that said Auburn fans were the most obnoxious around…take a look in the mirror. UGAy fans have to be tops on the list in the SEC. Every year living in Atlanta for the last 20, same story…and your beloved pups haven’t won anything….especially respect. Most obnoxious is definitely Georgia, then Bama, and yes Flordia third then a tie between LSU, TN, and Auburn.

so atlgaytor are you the pot or the kettle?

Southern Star

November 11th, 2009
10:57 pm

Vols Rule…

What makes you think that the Vols, historically speaking, are such an elite sec team? The only sec team that is truly elite is Alabama. Look at the titles all time

School Last Conference Title Number of SEC Titles Number of Divisional Titles
Alabama 1999 21 7
Tennessee 1998 13 6
Georgia 2005 12 5
LSU 2007 10 6
Florida 2008 8 10
Auburn 2004 6 5

to say that uga is considered a secondary sec team, then so is UT

iJax | Baker’s Dozen

November 12th, 2009
3:29 pm

[...] the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivaly” is no exception.  However, that’s not the reason why it’s Georgia’s most important rivalry game. After losing to both the hated Vols and Gators, and with a probable loss coming at season’s end to [...]

WarEagleChuck

November 12th, 2009
8:02 pm

We may play a few cupcake teams in the SEC, but the SEC teams we have to play week in and week out far outweigh any other conference schedules!!! Saint Simons, you must be crack to not realize that the SEC is the toughest conference in the land. We play defense in the SEC like you suck your thumb after getting a beatdown from one of our teams.

Suck the left one, Gators!

November 13th, 2009
7:55 pm

Richt has one down year due to the #1 QB and #1 Running leave early for the NFL plus MoMass leaving. I can’t wiat for th Gator to feel the pain of losing Percy Harvin when comes time to play Bama. The Gators will going down haaaaarddd when the Tide rolls their prissy arses. Bama is playing real SEC football right now. UF are pretenders whose little show is about to be over…smack down by the Tide.

Paul Johnson

November 14th, 2009
12:48 am

That game doesn’t matter! Maybe the winner can play in the Gaylord Hotels Bowl.

Paul Johnson

November 14th, 2009
12:49 am

Oh yeah tell UGA to quit calling me I am not interested!

BOOGIE MAN FROM HARTWELL GA

November 14th, 2009
11:00 am

4 IN A ROW BABY!

erter6

January 20th, 2010
5:04 pm

My favorite rivalry Bulldogs vs. Gators is definitly my favorite rivalry EVER!!!! Nothing could ever be better than some Georgia-Florida action.
p.s. GO DAWGS!

erter6

January 20th, 2010
5:07 pm

This goes out to Tebow from the bowl game, THERE’S NO CRYING IN FOOTBALL!!!

[...] I’m on record as believing that the Georgia-Auburn rivalry is our greatest, but you can make a case for any of them depending on how the respective programs are doing. [...]