Its the day before the biggest game of the season and I thought I’d resurrect and update an old blog I wrote back in 2001 when I was writing for the now defunct PigskinPost.com website. Despite being almost a decade old, this blog still rings true…and probably will for years to come.
Rivalry week is always Thanksgiving week here in Georgia because that is the week that the Yellow Jackets and Bulldogs suit up and face off on the gridiron. It doesn’t really matter when other teams play their rivalry games. This week is rivalry week in the state of Georgia.
Georgia and Tech hate each other so much that the fans of both schools actually have incorporated it into their respective fight songs. Georgia fans sing, “Glory, Glory to ‘ole Georgia and to Hell with Georgia Tech!” while Tech fans sing, “If I had a son sir, I’ll tell you what he’d do, he would yell To Hell with Georgia! Like his daddy used to do!”
The Jackets and Dawgs first played each other in 1893 (Tech won 28-6) and have battled 103 times since that first meeting. Georgia leads the overall series 59-39-5 although many Georgia fans dispute a few of Tech’s victories during the World War II era and argue that GT had an unfair advantage, or used ringers, in more than a few of those games. Tech fans deny those allegations and simply point to the scores, as they were reported, while claiming the wins as legitimate. So…you see…modern day Tech and UGA fans cannot even agree on the historical series record.
Lacking even a single point of agreement, the relationship between Jackets and Dawgs just goes downhill from there. The feelings between Tech and UGA fans were once described by author Bill Cromartie as “Clean, Old Fashioned Hate”. I have the most recent edition of his book on my coffee table as I write this. It’s a great chronicle of the history of the Georgia vs Georgia Tech football rivalry. During a recent re-reading of Cromartie’s book, a few events jumped out as perfect examples of the “hate” Jackets and Dawgs hold for each other.
Consider the early years of the rivalry:
1893 – Atlanta newspapers report that UGA supporters chant “Well well well, Who can tell, the Tech’s umpire has cheated like hell!”
1899 – Tech and UGA disagree on the final score. UGA says 33-0 and GT says 20-0.
1903 – UGA promises Clemson a bushel of apples for every point in their margin of victory over Tech. The final is 38-0.
1919 – A float in a UGA parade insinuates that GT cowardly stayed home during World War I, while UGA went to war. No athletic events are scheduled between UGA and GT for the next six years.
Obviously the rivalry got off to a quick start and has had little love lost from the very beginning. This decade, close contests and controversial calls on the field have restored the heat and hate to a rivalry that faltered in the 1970s and 1980s:
1993 – Leading 36-10 and with 89 seconds left in the game, UGA throws a fourth down pass for another TD and a 43-10 drubbing of Tech on their home field. The result? A bench clearing brawl.
1997 – A game saving GT interception, on UGA’s last drive, is erased by a questionable pass interference call. Georgia scores on the very next play to win 27-24.
1998 – An apparent GT fumble on the Jacket’s final drive is ruled as down and the Jackets go on the kick a field goal with 3 seconds on the clock to win 21-19.
1999 – With the score tied at 48, 13 seconds on the clock, and the ball at GT’s 2 yard line, UGA decides to go for the touchdown instead of the sure field goal. Jasper Sanks “fumbles” the ball and Tech recovers to send the game into overtime. The Jackets go on to win 51-48 and the local media creates a circus over the “fumble” which was later shown to have actually been down.
2000 – GT jumps out on UGA early, prompting legendary UGA radio personality Larry Munson to say the Jackets are moving the ball on the Bulldogs like UGA “was Wake Forest of Maryland or Somebody”. Tech goes on to win decisively and Tech fans like myself can be seen walking around in gold shirts that say “Tech Fans for Donnan…And Quincy Carter too!”
2002 – 51-7…
2004 – Reggie Ball throws the ball away on fourth down. UGA fans claim he can’t count. GT fans claim the officials failed up to update the down notifier in the endzone, confusing the Jackets.
2005 – Thomas Flowers benefits from obviously missed clipping calls on two big punt returns to swing field position and give UGA the edge and the win.
2006 – The refs choke on their whistles and fail to blow a play dead as Tony Taylor pulls a fumble out of the pile and runs for a TD in a game that ended 15-12 in UGA’s favor.
2008 – 45-42…Roddy Jones is still running down the sideline!
These historical references have fueled a rivalry that lasts 365 days a year and goes well beyond just football games. GT vs. UGA games sell out in every sport available. The baseball and basketball series are especially heated. Fans of UGA and GT make a hobby of cheering against each other any chance they get. If UGA’s basketball team played against the Russian national team or if their baseball team played against a Cuban national team, I’d still pull against the Dawgs.
A rivalry as old and heated as GT versus UGA obviously goes well beyond just sports venues and finds its way into neighborhoods and offices throughout the state. Growing up in central Georgia as an UGA fan (my dad is an UGA alum) I learned all of the old insults that were used regularly against Tech. Having spent the past 20 years attending and cheering for Tech, I’ve heard most of the insults that are used against UGA…
UGA fans call GT fans geeks, yechies, nerds, bugs, bumble bees, yellow maggots, NATS (North Avenue Trade School, a joke based on GT’s address and location), and just about anything else they can think of to make light of GT’s academic reputation or unique mascot the Yellow Jacket.
GT fans call UGA fans mutts, leg humpers, UGAG, rednecks, boo dawgs, ditch diggers, and just about anything else we can think of to make light of UGA’s lower academic standards and way overused mascot, the bulldog.
UGA fans call Bobby Dodd Stadium the “Joke by Coke”, while making fun of the seating capacity and ancient facilities. They were particularly partial to our “Mystery Liquid” and crowded sight lines before the stadium upgrade.
GT fans prefer using “Sanford and Son Stadium” instead of Sanford Stadium when referring to UGA’s home field and the sewage issues (and odors) that have been known to arise there.
UGA fans make fun of the lack of women on Tech’s campus while claiming that GT recruits its cheerleaders from local women’s colleges.
GT fans discuss the loose morals of UGA co-eds and their tobacco chewing habits while steadfastly defending the intelligence and integrity of the women that do grace Tech’s campus.
UGA fans claim that the local newspapers are partial to Tech athletics.
Tech fans claim that the favorable coverage is obviously directed in the Dawgs’ direction.
UGA fans make fun of the fact that GT doesn’t always sell out every home game, despite evidence otherwise.
GT fans make fun of the fact that UGA’s stands “bleed red” in the third quarter, during losing efforts, despite the fact that the stands may have been full at the beginning of the game.
UGA fans claim that Tech “lies and cheats.”
GT fans point to UGA’s past NCAA scrutiny in response.
UGA fans bash GT for taking so many Northern recruits and having so many out of state alums.
GT fans bash on UGA for being afraid to go on the road to play a real out of conference opponent that isn’t located close to home here in the South.
The insults, jibes, and accusations go on 365 days a year. There is no possible way anyone could catalogue them all. The ones listed above are the obvious ones that take about five minutes to crank out on short notice. The list will surely be longer this time next season. GT and UGA fans will be sure to jump on any news stories that happen to put their rival in a bad light, such as the misguided UGA fan who ran through security at Hartsfield here in Atlanta and caused the airport to be evacuated and shutdown for several hours. The idiot was trying to make his flight to the Ole Miss game…Tech fans will glean a years worth of jokes from that fellow and his mug shot that was published complete with a Georgia t-shirt. We widely wondered why Mark Richt didn’t recruit him to play running back. The guy was obviously pretty fast. Who knows…He might have been the next “Hershel Walker”…
PS: Told ya the story about the fan running through the airport would never grow old. I’m just doing my part to keep it alive!