It’s a shame the whole Cam Newton soap opera has overshadowed one of college football’s oldest and most competitive rivalries this week.
As I’ve said before, Georgia-Auburn is my favorite of the Dogs’ rivalries. I think it’s one of the best rivalries in college football. It has so much going for it: the proximity of the two schools, the many ties between them (including Vince Dooley and Pat Dye) and the fact that it’s been a remarkably even series, with the Dogs having a chance to tie up the all-time record this year with a win. One of the most oft-cited statistics involves the fact that even in cumulative scoring it’s pretty even, with Georgia leading all-time 1,778 to 1,722. In what other series does anyone even look at that?
It’s also been a great rivalry on the field, as I noted last year with my list of the 10 greatest Georgia wins over Auburn. So many memories, from “between the hoses” to “Look at the sugar falling out of the sky,” from Uga V trying to take a bite out of Robert Baker and the SEC’s first overtime game to “70-X Takeoff” to Soulja Boy and the first blackout and even Bacarri Rambo valiantly raising his arm to the crowd as he was wheeled off the field after knocking himself out with a game-winning pass breakup last year.
I’ve also noted in the past that, unlike some rivals’ fans, I don’t hate Auburn folks, but that some Georgia fans who live closer to the so-called loveliest village on the Plain have somewhat more intense feelings about the people who cry “War Eagle!”
Of course, being as close to each other as they are, Auburn and Georgia split a lot of families, as is symbolized by those popular “House Divided” flags and welcome mats. One of the households flying that “House Divided” flag belongs to my longtime friend John Sosebee, a die-hard Bulldogs supporter who now lives in Anniston, Ala., with his lovely wife Lisa, an AU fan who “bleeds orange and blue,” as she says.
I asked Lisa for her take on this year’s renewal of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry and she graciously responded:
“Because I am married to a diehard Dawg Fan, I love to see Georgia win (hey, I even own a Georgia T-shirt) … I just don’t want to see them win THIS week.”
Lisa notes correctly that “Auburn certainly has the talent to beat Georgia, and not just because of the Caminator. While he’s been a definite asset to this year’s squad, the entire team has just been on fire! When the season started, I wasn’t all that optimistic — if someone had told me we’d be undefeated at this point, I would have laughed. But week to week, as we won … it seemed the team had found the ‘groove’ to keep it going. The coaching staff definitely found the right formula to make things work. And who wouldn’t agree that winning is much more fun than losing? However, I try to always be cautiously optimistic about each game. Auburn has, in the past, been known to bring a different team to each game. This week, they MUST bring the ‘A’ team and wrap up this SEC thing. Auburn has everything to gain. … Georgia has everything to prove.
“The only year AU has celebrated a win over UGA since I married a ‘Dawg man’ was in 2005, and it was a heart-stopping game. I’ve been reminded that Georgia has pulled out a win four years in a row. Remember, I’m married to a Dawg. I had to endure him wearing the ‘Blackout’ shirt, and various other score shirts throughout our six years of marriage.”
Despite Auburn being favored by eight-plus points, Lisa says this game “really is a toss up — Georgia might surprise us all, even my Dawg of a hubby.”
But, she added, “I’ll stick with my Dawg either way. Warrrrr Eagle!!”
As for John, he says, “Living in the alien, sometimes hostile territory known as Alabama for the last six years has evoked some funny remarks, stares, and sometimes rude comments. But then I have to consider the source of them; either from a trailer-trash bunch known as ‘Bammers’ who seem to get the image of Bear Bryant in his checkered hat and Nick Saban confused, or the fan-atics of the Polytechnic Institute who have had a decent season this year finally, with a really good quarterback and a mediocre defense, and a lot of luck, and now think they are invincible and cannot be defeated.”
With UGA having a very disappointing year, John said, “I have heard some comments made but not near as many as I have offered. Most folks here who know me by now acccept that I bleed red and black and will die that way. It is just hard to find ‘decent’ clothing over here, namely with the likeness of Uga on them or even just a big GEORGIA, but the state line is only 43 miles away.”
He and his spouse “understand” each other’s devotion to their respective schools, he said, “and actually enjoy watching each other’s teams, except that one day a year.”
He draws the line, though, at Lisa recently dressing his dog Corky up in orange and blue for a Facebook photo. “Sabotaging Corky, who doesn’t know better, is a different story…”
I get the feeling Lisa hasn’t heard the end of that.
Looking to Saturday, John said, “I hope we ‘TAME THE TIGER’ and spoil their chances to play in the SEC Championship.”
His prediction, by the way: UGA 38, AU 35
Thanks, John, for flying the red and black colors deep in enemy territory.
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