Walmart shoppers! Here’s the scoop on Tech and UGA fans!

Sometimes Tech folks feel overshadowed. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Sometimes Tech folks feel overshadowed. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

In years past our annual look at Georgia fans vis-a-vis Georgia Tech has been offered in the spirit of good clean fun. This year, for the sake of novelty (and also because even I’ve wearied of Willie Martinez), the idea will be to help these two neighboring-but-different groups actually understand one another.

And then we’ll all join hands and raise our voices in a spirited rendition of “I’d Like To Teach the World to Sing” and toast one another with Coca-Cola products, and by the way: Did you know Georgia fans refer to Bobby Dodd Stadium as “The Joke By Coke”?

But enough! No more gags from me this year! Instead I offer the observations gained from dwelling among Tech and Georgia folks these past 27 years, eight months and 18 days.

Tech fans care just as much about football as Georgia fans. This may come as a surprise to those Bulldogs backers who are forever mocking the attendance at Bobby Dodd Stadium. (For the Jackets’ mammoth Thursday night clash against No. 10 Virginia Tech, attendance was announced at 50,140 in a facility that seats 55,000.) But counting heads isn’t necessarily a measure of passion.

Tech’s enrollment is roughly 20,000 — Georgia’s is 35,000, by the way — and a goodly percentage of those students will take their degrees and move elsewhere. (This isn’t to say that no Georgia grad ever moves out of state. Even Lewis Grizzard moved to Chicago for a few months.) But studies have shown that there are more Auburn grads living in metro Atlanta than Tech alums.

Numbers-wise, Georgia is always going to win. That doesn’t mean Tech folks don’t care. They do. Just ask any alum what he/she thinks of a Tech uniform that doesn’t feature the color gold. Or get one going on Bill Lewis’ 2 1/2-year reign of error.

Just as Tech fans hate being hit over the head with attendance figures, Georgia fans hate hearing about Jan Kemp. When John Davis was a Tech lineman back in the ’80s, he told me this joke: “How do you get a degree from Georgia? Drive by campus and roll down the window.” And there was a time, let’s stipulate, when UGA wasn’t exactly a school of renown, and the Jan Kemp trial only underscored the notion.

But that was then, and under presidents Charles Knapp and Michael Adams the University of Georgia has become a place of pride and achievement. No, calculus isn’t a requirement for every UGA undergrad, but the academic missions of the schools are rather different. Georgia is a broad-based state university; Tech is, duh, a technical institute. Not everyone wants to be an engineer. Just because your diploma is from UGA doesn’t make you a comparative moron.

Not that Tech folks are eager to concede the point. On his Tuesday night radio show, Tech coach Paul Johnson took a call from someone who began barking. Said Johnson: “He just got off from Walmart.” (FYI, the CEO of Walmart is Tech grad Michael Duke.)

• When Tech fans speak of football tradition, they think first of Bobby Dodd. He was everything a Tech fan wanted in a coach. He was smart and his teams played precise football and he won a lot of games and he, not incidentally, beat Georgia eight times running. But that was in the ’50s, and those were different times: College football wasn’t yet a billion-dollar industry driven by TV and recruiting wasn’t a cutthroat nationwide competition.

Reasonable Tech fans — and Tech fans, by and large, tend to be reasonable — cannot envision their team ever again beating Georgia eight times in a row. (Since 1977, Tech has beaten Georgia eight times total.) In their heart of hearts, Tech fans would be satisfied with winning one of every three against their bitter rival. Not coincidentally, Johnson is 1-2 against Georgia.

• When Georgia fans speak of tradition, they think first of Herschel Walker. Yes, the Bulldogs were winning SEC and even national championships and turning out famous players (Sinkwich, Trippi, Tarkenton) long before landing the kid from Wrightsville on Easter 1980, but the Era of Herschel propelled Georgia from the ranks of perennial Southern power to something bigger. By every measure, those were the three greatest years in Bulldogs history.

That said, those three seasons skewed some Georgia fans’ view of their program. Two decades would pass before Georgia won another SEC title. Mark Richt has taken two conference titles and three division championships and his teams have finished in the top 10 five times, but Georgia hasn’t played for a national crown since 1982, and five different SEC schools have finished No. 1 over the past 13 years. UGA fans are still waiting their turn, same as they await the Next Herschel.

Georgia is Tech’s biggest game of every year. Chan Gailey got fired not because he had losing seasons — he didn’t, not a one — but because he was 0-6 against the Bulldogs. And it’s undeniable that the words “To Hell with Georgia” are sung the loudest whenever “Ramblin’ Wreck” is played.

• Tech is Georgia’s biggest game only when Georgia fans are scared they might lose. This isn’t such a year. Georgia has won its division and is going to play LSU or Alabama for the SEC title next week. Georgia has, to borrow another Johnson line, bigger fish to fry. Which is the primary reason Georgia fans should be wary of Johnson and his team.

By Mark Bradley

521 comments Add your comment

Spyro

November 23rd, 2011
12:01 pm

You mean not all UGA fans and alums are Wal Mart greeters and burger flippers? I am shocked, I tell you. SHOCKED!!

Spyro

November 23rd, 2011
12:02 pm

ChiliDawg

November 23rd, 2011
12:02 pm

John Davis was a UGA commit until late in the recruiting process, when he chose Tech. The ironic thing in his statement is that he never did graduate at Tech.

DawginLex

November 23rd, 2011
12:02 pm

Mark

You picked us to win the East and go 10-2 and you picked Tech to go 8-4.

Are you backing down from your picks?

Spyro

November 23rd, 2011
12:02 pm

Wow, first on an MB article. That’s a first.

Burdell

November 23rd, 2011
12:03 pm

Nice article Mark. I think the “Clean” part has been missing lately from “Clean Old-Fashioned Hate”.

GO JACKETS!!

GTBuzz

November 23rd, 2011
12:03 pm

Tom Resident Georgia Fan

November 23rd, 2011
12:03 pm

To Hell with Tech.

Chuck

November 23rd, 2011
12:03 pm

Has Chesty fried anything of consequence since he got there?

And don’t say the Georgia game, because he dismissed the importance of THAT game.

Burdell

November 23rd, 2011
12:04 pm

The most confident Georgia fans have been this season are the weeks preceding the Boise State game and the Tech game. Coincidence?

Gorilla Biscuit

November 23rd, 2011
12:05 pm

Burdell

November 23rd, 2011
12:06 pm

UGA fans have been the most confident in the weeks preceding the Boise and Tech games.

Coincidence?

Burdell

November 23rd, 2011
12:07 pm

Yep…we ate fried Tiger tail the week after the Fish Fry comment.

Chuck

November 23rd, 2011
12:07 pm

With rivals like Tech who needs smack? It’d just be piling on.

81BME

November 23rd, 2011
12:08 pm

UGA student body is overwhelmingly becoming white suburban females. The fan numbers are not about enrollment. The fans that bark the loudest will never set foot in a classroom outside of high school.

Chuck

November 23rd, 2011
12:08 pm

Sorry Burdell, conference championships are irrelevant as well.

Tech fans say Richt’s done nothing in Athens, and that includes multiple SEC titles and championship berths – so if that’s nothing, winning a minor league like the ACC can hardly be considered an accomplishment.

Try again.

GIVE ME A BREAK

November 23rd, 2011
12:09 pm

The SEC East champion only scored 19 points on a weak Kentucky team. Tech is waiting for you. ” LET’S ROLL JACKETS “

RAMBLE ON!!!

November 23rd, 2011
12:10 pm

I think CPJ gave that caller more credit than he deserves. I think he got his unemployment check in the mail.

THWG!!!

Gold & White

November 23rd, 2011
12:10 pm

Terrific article, Mark! But notice you still haven’t answered whether the news article posted yesterday about Mark Richt willingly leaving UGA after this season has any merit. In case you lost the link…

http://www.gamingtoday.com/articles/article/33523-Georgia_football_coach_Mark_Richt_rumored_to_be_leaving

the real OLD GOLD

November 23rd, 2011
12:10 pm

Spyro

November 23rd, 2011
12:11 pm

Chuck, what Tech fan has said that Richt has done nothing in Athens? Name one.

Mark Bradley

November 23rd, 2011
12:11 pm

Kudos, Spyro.

Ted M

November 23rd, 2011
12:11 pm

I hope its a good game…UGA could run away with it.

old tech grad

November 23rd, 2011
12:12 pm

Good peice kudos from me.

Always remember the 6 to 0 game way back when Carson and Dooley were the coaches. I was in the student section yelling my #ss off. I didn’t have my voice for about a week.

Great rivalry win or lose but I agree NCAA football is moving from a sport to a business and a play off scheme will be the final nail in the coffin.

Mark Bradley

November 23rd, 2011
12:12 pm

Absolutely not, DawginLex.

I’m on record as saying Georgia will win 24-20.

Mark Bradley

November 23rd, 2011
12:13 pm

I don’t believe that “news article,” Gold & White.

For one thing, do you really think the “leading candidates” to replace him would be Mike Bobo and Derek Dooley?

Paul H

November 23rd, 2011
12:13 pm

(Since 1977, Tech has beaten Georgia eight times total.)

doodoobailey

November 23rd, 2011
12:14 pm

“……cannot envision their team ever again beating Georgia eight times in a row. (Since 1977, Tech has beaten Georgia eight times total.)”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH, DERP!!

Best piece you have ever written Mark!!

DawginLex

November 23rd, 2011
12:14 pm

gold and white

That link has been verified as a hoax started in alabama.

No truth to it at all

Roll Tide!

November 23rd, 2011
12:15 pm

ChiliDawg

So! What’s your point??? Hershel was thought to be leaning toward Tech or Clemson over UGA until “his uncle” bought him the Trans-Am and his mom a new home. Must be nice to have UGA uncles, hmmm. Be glad that was in 1980…Under today’s NCAA UGA would not even have that single National Championship and instead would have faced years of penalties.

Mark Bradley

November 23rd, 2011
12:15 pm

Georgia doesn’t usually run away from Tech. That’s why the 51-7 of 2002 was so galling to Tech fans, Ted M.

robodawg

November 23rd, 2011
12:15 pm

True, UGA fans are still waiting our turn at the national title. But even more so, we see that 20 year drought for an SEC title as unconscionable. And we’re by and large not really waiting for the next Herschel — there can be only one Herschel. We understand the game has changed, and winning will start with who’s at QB not TB.

Ted M

November 23rd, 2011
12:16 pm

that article is a complete fabrication.

Ted M

November 23rd, 2011
12:18 pm

Man, I remember that 2002 game.

boots

November 23rd, 2011
12:18 pm

And another difference: CMR is levels above CPJ when it comes to being a class-act. Johnson’s use of the term “retard” to refer to a Georgia fan shows he lacks any understanding of the challenges of special needs people and their families. Last year, it was an instruction to Tech fans to find a Georgia fan and “punch them in the face.” He should worry more about football and keeping his team off probation than he does about insulting others.

Oh, and the comment about the SEC being overrated shows he is out of touch with reality.

WDE

November 23rd, 2011
12:19 pm

Before the real “fans” get on this blog and start the spewage…Here’s hoping all of the fans of the Dogs and the Jackets enjoy this Holiday season and take a minute to reflect on how much we have to be thankful for, and lets remember those serving that will not be able to be with family this season..Happy Holidays and GATA!!

hammerhead

November 23rd, 2011
12:19 pm

Certainly not my favorite of the many rivalry games we have (that goes to Auburn), but this one is the most important. Beat Tech!!

Gold & White

November 23rd, 2011
12:19 pm

One other factoid that CPJ should have considered…The CEO of Walmart is a Tech grad (unless he has left?) thus a Tech man is the boss of more UGA grads than any other boss in the nation. LOL

True Dawg Fan

November 23rd, 2011
12:20 pm

Roll Tide!

November 23rd, 2011
12:15 pm
ChiliDawg

So! What’s your point??? Hershel was thought to be leaning toward Tech or Clemson over UGA until “his uncle” bought him the Trans-Am and his mom a new home. Must be nice to have UGA uncles, hmmm. Be glad that was in 1980…Under today’s NCAA UGA would not even have that single National Championship and instead would have faced years of penalties.

hhahahahahahahaha yea sure. Alabama has never done anything of the kind. And its 2 titles you clown. Do some research

robodawg

November 23rd, 2011
12:25 pm

Good article. But I was raised in a UGA household, and for us tradition did not start with Herschel, but with Herty Field, playing Yale to inaugurate Sanford Stadium, the railroad tracks, the mascots (the goat before the bulldog), that fabled trip to the Rose Bowl, the South’s oldest rivalry, and the outdoor cocktail party. The annual media guide was required reading.

Ted M

November 23rd, 2011
12:25 pm

Michael Duke, of GT, is still the CEO of Wal-Mart.

Vermont Yellow Jacket

November 23rd, 2011
12:25 pm

To further your final point, I met a UGag alum here in Vermont. When I told him I hated UGA and asked him to guess where I attended school, his first guess was Florida and his second guess was Auburn. When I said “to hell with Georgia” he knew.

Incidentally, he’s an intelligent guy!

GIVE ME A BREAK

November 23rd, 2011
12:25 pm

It’s like Mark said, with UGA’s talent, Tech should never beat them but has 39 times. We’ll see. I think someone from South Carolina said it best, ” Richt is an underachiever.” ” GO JACKETS “

Frank Lane

November 23rd, 2011
12:27 pm

I am very leary about this game. TECH scares the hell out of me.

Frank

Michael Adams

November 23rd, 2011
12:27 pm

Mark, you misspelled moron, it’s “moran”.

Nerd Boy 16

November 23rd, 2011
12:28 pm

I wonder what Paul Johnson thinks about his students at GA southern? LOL!

NewnanDawg

November 23rd, 2011
12:28 pm

Not to say that tech can’t win, but this will be the best, most athletic front seven that PJ has seen since arriving at tech. Could be a trap game, but our D is what makes me confident

SSG Desert Dawg

November 23rd, 2011
12:29 pm

@ Gold & White…u can read the who the suggested replacements are and see there is no merit to that article, c’mon guy. Why am I even commenting on this?

Spyro

November 23rd, 2011
12:31 pm

NewnanDawg, it won’t even be close to the best front 7 Tech has seen since PJ arrived. Iowa and UNC immediately come to mind in that regard.

Ted M

November 23rd, 2011
12:32 pm

Here is something to give thanks for…

The Braves did not offer salary arbitration to free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez.