Whether your dream best-case scenario for today’s Independence Bowl game involves the Dogs winning a high-scoring thriller against the Aggies or Georgia’s patchwork defensive scheme shutting down Texas A&M in a yawner, it’s highly unlikely this match will make any Bulldog fan’s list of favorite bowl games.
It comes at the end of a disappointing season. And it’s Shreveport. Enough said.
Still, unless the Dogs turn in a showing along the lines of earlier this season in Knoxville, it probably won’t rank as least favorite bowl, either. For me, that infamous distinction forever belongs to the 1974 Tangerine Bowl, when a Georgia team that should have stayed home lost a dismal game by a score of 21-10 to the other Miami. You know, the one in Ohio.
Of course, there’s no question which of Georgia’s 45 bowl games ranks first with fans. The Sugar Bowl game on Jan. 1, 1981, capped an undefeated season for the Dogs and gave them a national championship. And the loser was Notre Dame. Talk about perfect …
But when I asked some members of my family to pick their favorite Georgia bowl game besides that one, I got a variety of answers. One brother immediately noted that “it’s still 10 to 9 in Dallas,” referring to the Jan. 2, 1984 upset of the undefeated, No. 2-ranked Texas Longhorns by an underrated group of Bulldogs led by John “All He Can Do Is Win” Lastinger. Neither offense could do much except kick field goals that day and Texas led 9-3 when Georgia recovered a fumble, setting up the winning score when Lastinger ran the option to his right and scampered 17 yards with 3:22 left on the clock.
I think that game probably gets my nod as favorite besides the win over the Irish. But there are others still worth celebrating. The thrilling come-from-behind victory over Virginia Tech in the 2006 Chick-fil-A Bowl, which we all attended, drew a couple of mentions. That’s certainly a treasured memory.
And the 2007 Sugar Bowl against Hawaii, while not very competitive, was a lot of fun because the Dogs manhandled the Rainbow Warriors in every phase of the game and turned the pregame media hype on its head. A No. 2 national ranking to end the season was pretty sweet, too.
Among the most memorable Georgia bowl wins for me is the Jan. 1, 1960, Orange Bowl, in which Fran Tarkenton threw two touchdown passes as the Dogs beat Missouri 14-0. I woke up with the mumps that morning, but my parents still let me watch the first UGA game ever televised.
And while it wasn’t a major bowl, I have fond memories of the 1964 Sun Bowl win over Texas Tech because it wrapped up that first season for Vince Dooley that marked the rebirth of Georgia football.
The 24-9 win over SMU in the 1966 Cotton Bowl, with Kent Lawrence running for 149 yards, is another favorite, as is the 33-6 win over Wisconsin in the Jan. 1, 1998 Outback Bowl by a Jim Donnan team that featured Hines Ward, Robert Edwards and Mike Bobo, who completed 92.8 percent of his passes that day.
If there’s another Georgia bowl win that’s one of your favorites, share it with us in the comments. And come back during the game today, when I’ll be blogging live.