House divided: SEC Championship ‘complicated’ for Atlanta family with sons playing for Bama, UGA

With their sons Dallas (L) and Dillon (R) playing football at Georgia and Alabama, respectively, it has been hard for Lisa and Robert Lee to have their whole family together. (Lee family photo)

With their sons Dallas (L) and Dillon (R) playing football at Georgia and Alabama, respectively, it has been hard for Lisa and Robert Lee to have their whole family together. (Lee family photo)

For Lisa and Robert Lee, there are two really good things about Georgia and Alabama playing in the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on Saturday — and that goes beyond their two sons who will be playing in it.

First, they will have to drive only about 38 miles to get there. That’s spit in a bucket compared with the 500-mile, round-trip jaunts they’ve made on average every weekend for the past 13 weeks.

Second, while everybody else is sweating Sunday’s bowl selections, the Lees already have made their reservations for Miami. No matter who wins Saturday’s game — the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide or the No. 3 Bulldogs — the Lees know they will attend the BCS championship game Jan. 7.

“We just don’t know who we’re going with yet,” Lisa Lee said with a laugh.

Dallas Lee is a 6-foot-4, 300-pound junior and a starting offensive guard for the Bulldogs. Dillon Lee is a 6-4, 240-pound freshman and backup linebacker for the Crimson Tide. Born three years apart, the Lee brothers starred for Buford High before landing college scholarships.

That’s all pretty cool and exciting, and some might think the Lees can’t lose. But with a loved one on either sideline, it will get complicated with Saturday’s 4 p.m. kickoff (CBS).

“We have to stay objective, although our Georgia friends and family do not understand that,” said Lisa Lee, who works as an administrator for Gwinnett County Public Schools. “They say Dallas has less time left, and Dillon will have more opportunities. But I’m going to have to look at both of them that night, and somebody is going to be completely ecstatic that they’re going to Miami and the other is going upset because they’re not getting what they hoped for. So I’ve got to think about that.”

The Lees are lifelong Bulldogs fans. Lisa’s parents have held season tickets for more than 35 years and Robert played football for Erk Russell at Georgia Southern. But they had to split their allegiances — along with their time and money — after Dillon decided in February to go his own way and cast his lot with Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.

That has meant a lot of wear-and-tear on the family car this fall. Other than two trips by plane — to Arlington, Texas, for the Alabama-Michigan game on Sept. 1 and to Columbia, Mo., for Georgia’s Sept. 8 game against Missouri — Robert and Lisa have driven to at least one Southern city and often two every weekend. If they drove to Tuscaloosa to see one of Dillon’s games, for instance, they’d typically drive to Athens to visit Dallas on Sunday, and vice versa.

“They did pretty good job of breaking it down,” said Dallas Lee, who started all 12 games for the Bulldogs. “I don’t see them much when they’re there anyway, but it’s cool to get to see them a little before the games.”

A request to interview Dillon Lee was denied by Alabama, citing Saban’s no-media policy for freshmen.

Various quirks in the schedule kept the Lees from being completely equitable in their spectatorship. At the end of it, they attended Georgia games eight times and Alabama four. The teams were 10-2 when they were on location. They even visited both boys’ campuses the weekend of Oct. 13, when both teams were off.

Incredibly, the Lees said they never had a flat tire or botched reservation. Their weekends clicked like clockwork, and they got to see a lot of good football.

They attended 12 games over 13 weeks, including Alabama’s wins against Michigan and LSU and Georgia’s against Missouri and Florida. They saw Tennessee, and oddly enough, Florida Atlantic, twice. They also were in Columbia, S.C., for Georgia’s shocking 35-7 loss to South Carolina and had a group of 12 in the stands for Texas A&M’s stunning upset of the Tide.

The rest were all victories. Their favorite was Georgia’s 17-9 win over Florida Oct. 27 in Jacksonville.

“Omar Hunter, who plays (defensive lie) for Florida, he played right beside Dallas on both sides of the ball for three years (at Buford),” Lisa said. “So we’re super close to him. And Dallas had to go head-to-head with him the whole game. So we had Buford people texting us non-stop the whole game. And then just beating Florida both years that Dallas played them, that was just incredible.”

Lisa Lee said they almost gave up hope of both boys making it to the Dome after Georgia’s loss to the Gamecocks.

“Everybody was so deflated,” she said of the Oct. 6 loss. “You didn’t really believe it at that point. But then we were like, ‘you know what, we could still control our own destiny.’ And after Florida, I was like, ‘oh my goodness, this is going to happen!’”

The Lees have been praying for Saturday’s matchup for a long time (we first wrote about it before the season started). Originally, the Bulldogs were slated to play Alabama in the regular season in Tuscaloosa. But SEC expansion that brought Missouri and Texas A&M into the league forced a reshuffling of schedules and sent Georgia to Missouri instead.

But they always knew meeting in the Dome was a possibility.

“(Alabama assistant coach) Kirby Smart had said before the season Georgia was going to be there,” Lisa Lee said. “He said ‘they’re strong,’ but also that the schedule worked in their favor. Robert and all the (Georgia) dads were saying the same thing: ‘This is going to be our year.’”

While Dallas has played a prominent role in Georgia’s drive to the Dome, Dillon’s has been more of a bit part. Working some at all four linebacker positions, he showed some early-season promise for the Tide with an interception and a tackle in the opener. But since then he has had to settle for being on the kickoff team and playing defense at the end of blowouts.

“They’ve got some guys ahead of him,” Lisa Lee said. “We have complete faith in what they’re doing. We know the talent that’s there, so we’re not worried about it. He’s doing everything he’s supposed to do.”

The up side is there is not much chance that Dallas and Dillon running into each other on the field Saturday. “Oh my God, I hope not,” Mom said. “But that could definitely happen next year.”

The Lees got 12 tickets for Saturday’s game — six from each son, per SEC rules — so the family will be split again. Lisa and her clan will be sitting among the UGA parents in Section 129. Robert’s family will be congregated among the Crimson Tide on the other side of the Dome.

A Buford embroidery shop has pitched in to help with the parents’ wardrobes. They’ve designed shirts that feature the brothers’ numbers — 64 for Dallas, 25 for Dillon — with the words “Heart Divided” emblazoned across the front.

Never has a statement been more true.

“I’m sure my parents are freaking out about it,” Dallas said with a hardy laugh. “I know my Mom is. But it’ll be a great picture opportunity. And it’ll be cool to see my brother.”

And not to have to block him.

THE LEE LOG

  • Aug. 30-Sept. 1 — Dallas, Texas — Alabama vs. Michigan — W, Alabama 41-14
  • Sept. 7-Sept 9 — Columbia, Mo. — Georgia at Missouri — W, Georgia 41-20
  • Sept. 14-Sept. 16 — Athens — Georgia vs. Florida Atlantic — W, Georgia 56-20
  • Sept. 21-Sept. 23 — Tuscaloosa, Ala. — Alabama vs. FAU — W, Alabama 40-7
  • Sept. 29 — Athens — Georgia vs. Tennessee — W, Georgia 51-44
  • Oct. 5-Oct. 7 — Columbia, S.C. — Georgia at South Carolina — L, S. Carolina 35-7
  • Oct. 13 — TEAMS OFF — Lees visit both Alabama and UGA campuses
  • Oct. 19-21 — Knoxville, Tenn. — Alabama at Tennessee — W, Alabama 44-13
  • Oct. 25-Oct. 28 — Jacksonville, Fla. — Georgia vs. Florida — W, Georgia 17-9
  • Nov. 2-Nov. 3 — Athens — Georgia vs. Ole Miss — W, Georgia 37-10
  • Nov. 9-Nov. 11 — Tuscaloosa — Alabama vs. Texas A&M — L, Texas A&M 29-24
  • Nov. 16-Nov. 17 — Athens — Georgia vs. Ga. Southern — W, Georgia 45-14
  • Nov. 23 — Athens — Georgia vs. Georgia Tech — W, Georgia 42-10

MORE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL

EARLIER THIS WEEK

MATCHUP BREAKDOWNS


58 comments Add your comment

Truth

November 29th, 2012
8:53 pm

Truth

November 29th, 2012
8:54 pm

So does that get me a new car??

drbasic1

November 29th, 2012
8:55 pm

Sorry Dillon your going to get beat!!

Scott Hall

November 29th, 2012
9:15 pm

Hey YO @ drbasic

You know all about beatings since you are probably single and work at Walmart.

Hey YO

Dawg-Gawn

November 29th, 2012
9:31 pm

I”m with the Mom, Lisa Lee… Dawgs Bawl-Out!

Anyway by now, Dillon’s probably used to getting beat-up by bigger older brother Dallas!

“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable and receives the impossible”

“Our Team” “Our Time” “No Regrets”

“Hunker Down You Dawgs” (Munson’s Spirit)

“BELIEVE” in the “G”

ARdawg

November 29th, 2012
9:53 pm

Congrats to Lisa and Robert but c’mon. That is a really good problem to have

davidinloganville

November 29th, 2012
10:11 pm

there you go TURD TROLL now you know where to look up #64 Dallas Lee’s father to tell him what a waste of a scolly his son is.

chuck

November 29th, 2012
10:57 pm

I would strongly advise “Turd Troll” to leave the Lee family alone.

GADevildawgs

November 29th, 2012
11:12 pm

I hope moms team wins Saturday night.

Dawg Talk

November 29th, 2012
11:54 pm

One win for a Georgia Team in the Dome tonight………waiting on Saturday for UGA to get theirs!!!! Sorry Dillion…..Be sure & kiss Saban for me!! Thanks!!!

Hickory Dawg

November 29th, 2012
11:59 pm

Is Mrs. Lee hot?

German Shepherd Dawg

November 30th, 2012
12:25 am

Hey Scott Hall,

Is that what passes for intelligent discourse in Alabama?

Hey YO,

RedandBlackDAWG

November 30th, 2012
3:19 am

Congratulations to the parents for raising two fine kids, that are good athletes and represent their family name well. They have a slight problem I am sure a lot of folks would not mind having.

WDE

November 30th, 2012
6:28 am

Great story about a pretty cool family, hope our Lee comes out on top this Saturday and a great holiday for the Lee family ! Go Dogs !

Cal22

November 30th, 2012
6:33 am

Don’t worry Lisa and Robert. You’ll only have to buy a ticket to Miami for Dallas.

Coaching Decision

November 30th, 2012
7:31 am

If Hutson Mason gets hurt who will hold the clip board?

flo-ri-duh

November 30th, 2012
8:27 am

Not really much for the family to get concerned about Dallas is a starter for his home state Dawgs and Dillon rides the bench for the out of state Tide. Expect he will be on the bench next year too….. as he would also be doing if he was at UGA.

flo-ri-duh

November 30th, 2012
8:29 am

Don’t worry about Hutson Mason …… not likely to get hurt but will put the hurt on opponents next year. Murray will be a 2nd round draft choice after he beats the “single wides”.

Cloonan

November 30th, 2012
8:32 am

Bama got the Stud and UGA got the fat pud. Guess who wins…….

Dallas is the BIG DAWG and....

November 30th, 2012
8:43 am

IT’S TIME TO EAT !!!!!!!!!!!

Mark

November 30th, 2012
8:48 am

I respect both teams and also the Lee family, BUT why , why, why, go against blood and family tradition? Sometimes when you have a traitor ,blood means nothing…To hell with Bama and anyone who plays for them.

WDE

November 30th, 2012
8:50 am

Cloonan I think UGA wins ….Go Dogs!

mike on lake hartwell

November 30th, 2012
9:08 am

OUR TEAM
OUR TIME
NO REGRETS

cc

November 30th, 2012
9:29 am

You know, all this talk about hw UGA did not play Bamer, LSwho and A/M, but not a whole lot said about the fact that Bamer didn’t play UGA, South Carolina or Florida. It evens out if you ask me.

Sermon

November 30th, 2012
9:32 am

Prodigal son tempted by the devil. Don’t worry mom and dad, this one turns out ok, too.

First

November 30th, 2012
9:40 am

Easy, obvious solution: Dillion should have chosen UGA

scorpainking

November 30th, 2012
9:55 am

How cool is that you have two sons playing big boy college football in the best conference in the nation!!!GO SEC

Sentrydawg

November 30th, 2012
10:11 am

Scorpainking, also playing “Old Man Football”!!!!!!!

GaSouthernALUM

November 30th, 2012
10:18 am

Has Robert been to a GSU game since he played for Erk or is he purely a sidewalk UGA alumni?

cc is right

November 30th, 2012
10:22 am

‘Bama did not have to play any of the top 3 teams from the East. So, K Smart should have said ‘Bama would have an easy road as well since the ’schedule worked in their favor’….

Charles

November 30th, 2012
10:30 am

Kirby being Kirby. Bama’s schedule every bit as weak as UGA’s, and the Dawgs have the better win. They’ll also have the head-to-head win by tomorrow night. It’s going to do my heart good to shut Kirby’s trap after all the garbage he’s spewed about his alma mater on the recruiting trail the last few years.

The SEC Rules! blog

November 30th, 2012
10:39 am

GEORGA 27 ALABAMA 23
GEORGIA IN THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!
http://thesecrules.blogspot.com/

ApothecaryMark

November 30th, 2012
10:46 am

The SEC Rules blog just lost what little credibility it had…

DP

November 30th, 2012
10:47 am

For those who lack reading comprehension, Kirby Smart made that comment before the season when Arkansas was still expected to be very good and was on Alabama’s schedule but not Georgia’s. Before the season the talk was that Georgia would not play the top 3 in the West which were expected to be Alabama, LSU and Arkansas. It turned out Texas A&M should have been in there instead of Arkansas but Georgia didn’t play them either. And of course Alabama didn’t have to play any of the top 3 in the East. Fans on both sides should be honest and acknowledge if Alabama and Georgia had played 4 of the other top 5 SEC teams like Florida, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina did, there might be 2 different teams in the Georgia Dome tomorrow.

DP

November 30th, 2012
10:51 am

Hey Charles, tell us about all this garbage Kirby Smart has allegedly spilled on Georgia. Funny that the Lees have never said anything about that.

For all the mouthing off since Smart declined to make a lateral move to be DC at Georgia (actually a demotion to go from Alabama to Georgia and Saban to Richt), if Kirby Smart is ever hired as head coach at Georgia, Dawg Nation will be thrilled.

Georgia Tiger

November 30th, 2012
11:14 am

Bama has another easy schedule next year. I guess a concession for having to live in Alabama the armpit of the nation.

NativeofAtlanta

November 30th, 2012
11:33 am

What are these guys majoring in at school? What are their grades?

Crap

November 30th, 2012
11:38 am

DP, but the reality is that 2 different teams AREN’T playing in the Dome. Nobody has to admit anything, and next year and last year, you could say the same thing. If you want to be there, beat who’s on the schedule or shut up.

The SEC Rules! blog

November 30th, 2012
11:46 am

Notre Dame has played ZERO teams who are in the Top Ten now!
Georgia has played 2.
Alabama has played 2.
AND it will be 3 each after tomorrow….
http://thesecrules.blogspot.com/

The SEC Rules! blog

November 30th, 2012
11:47 am

ApothecaryMark Hey! i live in Athens…what’s your pick?

Good article

November 30th, 2012
12:05 pm

However some of the bloggers try to trash it up. Should be a good game.

Roll TIde

Well, if their mama...

November 30th, 2012
12:24 pm

…had been like Ms. Nkemdichi they would not have this conundrum, now would they…

Slim

November 30th, 2012
12:31 pm

Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini called Alabama “as physical a team as there is out there.” “That’s not Georgia we faced today, that’s Alabama – it’s very different, “Pelini said. “Different scheme-wise. I think they’re more physical than Georgia. You know, I don’t compare teams but they’re just different. They play differently. They pressure more than Georgia did. They’re physical in their man coverage.”

Coffee Bluff DAWG

November 30th, 2012
12:32 pm

Great articles about the Lees. Glad I’m not paying their grocery bill when both are home.

Both AL and UGA had similar schedules each playing 2 tough teams and going 1-1. So looking forward to it – GO DAWGS!

St. Paul

November 30th, 2012
12:35 pm

This should be a really close game. I think BAMA wins by 7.
I know how this family feels. I have 2 sisters, 2 bro-in-laws, neices and nephews that went to UGA, and I also have a brother, another sister, sister-in-laws, bro-in-laws, and a nephew that went to BAMA. Saturday will be fun!!! The SEC rocks!
ROLL TIDE!
BAMA #1

RiffRaff

November 30th, 2012
12:40 pm

Dawgs are about to shock the college football world. Watch and see……….

[...] the original post here: House divided: Sons playing for both Georgia, Alabama have kept Lee family on move ← Back to Home Tags: attend, crimson, dallas lee, dawgs, focal, made, mile, nick [...]

[...] the original post here: House divided: Sons playing for both Georgia, Alabama have kept Lee family on move ← Back to Home Tags: attend, crimson, dallas lee, dawgs, focal, made, mile, nick [...]

Booze Hound

November 30th, 2012
1:53 pm

At least the father played for a good school.

david

November 30th, 2012
2:42 pm

slim, what the heck does that have to do with the price of tea in China?