Having long ago accepted that the media is determined to mark the ending of millennia and decades a year early (remember, there was no year 0 A.D.), I decided to poll a few UGA friends as to what they view as the Dogs’ greatest games of the past 10 years.
Three games tied for the most support, and I’m pretty sure they’d top just about any fan’s list for this decade:
Georgia’s 26-24 win over Tennessee in Knoxville in 2001. The “hobnail boot” game from Mark Richt’s first season, capped by cool redshirt-freshman David Greene’s throw to Verron Haynes. Says my friend Rusty: “I remember thinking Richt was a genius. What play-calling! Plus it generated one of Larry’s classic calls.”
Georgia’s 24-21 win at Auburn in 2002. The Dogs took the SEC East with Greene’s fourth-down throw to Michael Johnson in the corner of the end zone on the famed “70-X Takeoff” play. One of Georgia’s most dramatic and important victories ever.
Georgia’s 34-14 win over LSU in the 2005 SEC Championship game in Atlanta. The No. 13 Dogs upset the No. 3 Tigers with big plays on offense, defense and special teams, including two early touchdown passes from D.J. Shockley to Sean Bailey right down in the corner where I was sitting.
Coming in right behind those three games was another classic:
Georgia’s 42-30 win over Florida in 2007. My brother Tim calls this the “Dance Fever” game because of the infamous end zone celebration. Summed up my friend Johnny: “This was fun.” Urban Meyer would later tell the world in the third person that Urban Meyer didn’t agree.
Rounding out the Top 10 games of the decade:
Georgia’s 45-20 win over Auburn in 2007 in Athens. The “Blackout” game. My son said it was the “home game of the decade, hands down.” Rusty said it was “the most electric I can ever remember the stadium (including Bama in 1976).”
Georgia’s 51-7 demolishing of Georgia Tech in Athens in 2002. A number of us agreed this was one of the most enjoyable games we’ve ever seen in any decade.
Georgia’s 41-10 win over Hawaii in the Jan. 1, 2008, Sugar Bowl. The Rainbow Warriors came into this game as the media darling and the Dogs proceeded to dominate them in every phase of the game. As Johnny put it: “Not really a great game, but every once in a while it looks and feels good to pound someone in a nationally televised bowl game.” And remembering the TV shots of Hawaii QB Colt Brennan weeping on the sidelines, Tim adds: “Another example of ‘there’s no crying in football.’”
Georgia’s 45-16 win over LSU in Athens in 2004. The Dogs racked up 430 yards of offense against Nick Saban’s Tigers as David Greene threw five touchdown passes. Probably runner-up to the 2007 win over Auburn as best home game of the decade.
Georgia’s 21-10 win over Tennessee in 2000 in Athens. The only game from the Jim Donnan era to make the list, this broke the nine-loss drought against the Vols and gave Donnan his 100th career coaching victory. After Tim Wansley sealed the win with his second interception, the crowd surged onto the field with 1:13 still on the clock. The officials cleared the field, but not for long, and one set of goal posts came down.
Georgia’s 30-24 win over Georgia Tech in 2009 at Grant Field. Not many folks saw this coming, but as Johnny put it: “I just love surprises.”
Other games drawing honorable mention: The 2002 SEC Championship win over Arkansas, the 2006 comeback win over Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, The 2004 win over Florida, the 2002 win over South Carolina (with the emergence of David Pollack as a star), the Reggie Ball games, the 2006 upset of Auburn and the 2007 overtime win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Some great memories there. Any other games of the decade you’d add to the list?