Any time Georgia and Georgia Tech meet in athletics, there’s plenty of trash talk and bad feeling between the two camps.
Which is as it should be. What good is an in-state rivalry if the word “hate” doesn’t get bandied about regularly? And in that regard, the folks from North Avenue make it so easy. …
The main focus of the rivalry between the two schools may be in football, but it’s hard to beat the atmosphere at a men’s basketball game between the Dogs and Jackets, especially the student sections.
Unfortunately, the UGA athletic association schedulers, who didn’t do Mark Richt any favors this year, have made it tough for new coach Mark Fox as well by agreeing to play Tech in basketball a couple of days before classes resume at UGA, thus possibly negating some of the Dogs’ home court advantage, which has been considerable in this series. UGA has won 24 of 27 games played against Tech at Stegeman Coliseum.
Remarkably, the Jackets haven’t won in Athens in men’s basketball since Gerald Ford was president. Of course, the game wasn’t played on either school’s home court for a while. The series returned to the campus arenas in the 1995-96 season after 14 straight meetings at the old Omni in Atlanta. The home team has won every time since, with one exception: Georgia’s 75-70 win on Dec. 6, 2000. Tech’s last win in Athens came 13 tries ago, on Nov. 26, 1976.
Hopefully enough students will already be in town to have the Steg rocking tonight, but reserved-seat tickets for the game are still available. My new editing duties on the AJC’s print side will keep me from attending, but I’m hoping any of the folks in red and black who are free tonight will make the trek over to the Classic City and pack the house. The ticket booths at the Steg open at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are $15. Student tickets are $2 (student ID required) and are on sale until 3 p.m. today at the UGA Bookstore and from 4 to 5:30 at the coliseum. The first 1,000 UGA students in attendance will receive a Wreck Tech T-shirt.
Meanwhile, the football Yellow Jackets will be playing their bowl game against Iowa tonight, which raises an interesting situation for UGA fans, who generally aren’t too fond of the Big 10. But if there’s anything UGA fans hate worse than the Big 10 (and Notre Dame), it’s Georgia Tech. So not surprisingly I’m hearing from a lot of Dogs fans that they’ll be pulling for Iowa in tonight’s Orange Bowl.
What about you? Can you bring yourself to pull for a Big 10 team as long as they’re playing the Jackets?
RESHAD AND RENNIE
Not many folks are surprised to hear that safety Reshad Jones won’t be returning for his senior season with the Bulldogs, and the expectation is that linebacker Rennie Curran probably will join him in leaving for the NFL. ESPN says they’re both likely to make the announcement official later today.
Jones had his ups and downs as a Dog, particularly with pass coverage and tackling, but finished strong this season and made a couple of key interceptions. Curran has been the leading tackler and one of the mainstays of the defense for the past couple of years. They’ll both be missed next year, when whoever winds up as Georgia’s new defensive coordinator will have a pretty big rebuilding job on his hands, with graduation meaning the departure of the heart of the D-line as well.