Admittedly, most UGA fans aren’t too thrilled about the Dogs spending the postseason in Shreveport, but I’m thinking this is probably the least enthused I’ve ever seen the Georgia fan base about a bowl game.
The latest indication is the wince-inducing report in the Athens Banner-Herald that not only does UGA still have about 5,000 unsold tickets to the Independence Bowl, but some of the nearly 6,900 that have been sold so far have gone to Texas A&M fans. The paper reports that after the Aggies sold out their allotment of 12,000 tickets, the school’s athletics Web site encouraged A&M fans to buy tickets at Georgiadogs.com. “Let’s MAROON out the Georgia allotment,” is how they put it.
Tim Cearley, UGA’s director of ticket operations, confirms to the ABH that “a lot of the stuff that we’ve mailed out in the past few days has had Texas mailing addresses on them,” though he makes an attempt to save face by adding: “but we do have a lot of alums out there, too.”
Of course, travel time for Aggies fans to Shreveport is a lot less than for Dogs fans. And it doesn’t help that the game is on the Monday after Christmas; a weekend date probably would be selling a bit better among the UGA faithful.
Still, there’s no denying the malaise in the Bulldog Nation concerning this game. The years when any bowl was considered a reward at season’s end are long gone in these parts. We’ve frankly become spoiled by all those New Year’s Day games Mark Richt’s teams have played in. So any minor bowl would be a disappointment. And the fact that it’s the former “Weedeater Bowl” in the nonexciting location of Shreveport just makes it worse.
There’s no doubt that just about any of the other bowls parceled out to 7-5 SEC teams this year would be selling better among those in red and black. But when you lose to Kentucky at home, this is what you get.
Some have expressed concern that a weak showing of Georgia fans at the game in Shreveport will hurt UGA in future years when it comes to bowl selection. In other words, that it will indicate we don’t “travel” well.
But I wouldn’t worry too much about that. I think bowl officials are savvy enough to know that Georgia fans view the Independence Bowl differently from other bowls. The fact that Florida is having trouble selling out its allotment for the Sugar Bowl looks a lot worse in comparison.
And Dogs fans can take comfort in the fact that at least this game isn’t played on blue turf.