I was checking out my newsfeed on Facebook last night and came across a poll being done by Georgiadogs.com’s fan page. The question: Which UGA home football game are you looking forward to the most?
Naturally, a couple of games immediately came to mind, but I decided to go game by game and look at why a Bulldogs fan might particularly look forward to each particular home date on the schedule.
OK, so we start with Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 4, a game that when I last checked had drawn zero votes in the poll. On the one hand, I can see that. It’s a minor opponent and a noontime kickoff in the summer heat. While games like this are a financial necessity — and more pleasing to Mark Richt than opening on the road against a major nonconference opponent like last year — nobody really gets excited about playing the likes of the Ragin’ Cajuns.
And yet … it is the first game of the season, always a date circled on my calendar. Watching the Dogs play in Athens has been one of my favorite pastimes my entire life, so I have to admit I am looking forward to this game. Plus it’ll be the first one in years that my wife has attended with me. She used to be a regular at UGA home games until she began working on weekends and ceded her seat to first our son and then our daughter. Now her schedule has changed and she decided she wanted to attend the first game of the season. So this will be a special game. But still not the one I’m looking forward to the most.
The next home game, Sept. 18 against Arkansas, has drawn 15 percent of the vote in the Facebook poll, putting it in third place. Last year’s game between the Dogs and Hogs was undeniably entertaining — if you like offense and not much defense — and the challenge Georgia faces trying to contain and/or keep up with Ryan Mallett in points production will certainly make this a closely watched match. If the Dogs beat South Carolina, both teams likely will come into this game ranked nationally.
But, let’s face it, there’s a reason that Arkansas is the Dogs’ only SEC home game for which single-game tickets are still available (along with Louisiana-Lafayette and Idaho State). The Razorbacks are still relative SEC newbies and don’t have that much history with UGA. So, no, this isn’t the game I’m looking forward to the most.
That distinction goes to the big SEC game against Tennessee on Oct. 9. Battles in Athens between the Dogs and Vols are usually hard-fought, and the Big Orange bring a lot of fans with them, so it’s always a terrific atmosphere. Add to that Georgia’s need to atone for last year’s dismal showing in Knoxville plus the Dooley factor introduced this year, and you’ve got the makings of a memorable Saturday Between the Hedges. In the Facebook poll, this game comes out on top, currently with 42 percent of the votes.
Vanderbilt on Oct. 16 is drawing negligible support in the poll, but I can see one big reason some fans might circle this game on the schedule: It’s homecoming. That means the parade through downtown Athens the night before, the alumni Redcoats and cheerleaders and some ramped up tailgating. But, still, it’s Vandy. And while they’ve embarrassed the Dogs at home before, it’s not the kind of rivalry that gets folks in red and black revved up.
Idaho State on Nov. 6? Well, it’s Georgia football and the weather should be pretty nice. But if UGA was still doing Band Day (which they unfortunately aren’t), this would be it. It’ll be a sell-out, no doubt, but I expect quite a few seats will go unfilled for this one.
And then there’s Georgia Tech on Nov. 27. The traditional Governor’s Cup game against the in-state rival is running second in the Facebook poll, with 36 percent of the vote. There are lots of reasons to look forward to this game, including wanting to re-establish dominance over the Jackets at home after the loss in 2008. If Tech were a conference opponent, this game undoubtedly would be the favorite for just about all Dogs fans. As it is, I’d rank it a close second to Tennessee.
How about you? Which Georgia home game are you looking forward to the most?