There are some who look at the in-state rivalry between the University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology and say that football clash commonly known as “Clean, Old Fashioned Hate” has lost some of its edge. After all, the Bulldogs have won 10 of the last 11 meetings.
This year it would appear the blade has been sharpened.
In recent years this traditional regular season-ending finale has very little meaning for one or the other of the two teams, and the game ends up boiling down to a state championship of college football. Even Georgia’s own official football twitter handle is @WeRunThisState
But in 2012 there is much more at stake for both teams, and a the fires of hated have been fanned in the peach state once more.
Georgia Tech, who has had a tumultuous season, is playing to keep their season above .500 and land a bid to a relevant bowl before they head into the ACC Championship game against Florida State. A good showing against Georgia, and a place in a significant bowl will help the Yellow Jackets lure a top candidate to fill their now vacant athletic director’s position.
A win against Georgia may also be what saves head coach Paul Johnson‘s job, as he has come under heavy fire this season.
Most importantly, beating Georgia will essentially ruin the Bulldogs’ chances at landing in the BCS National Championship game in January.
That is what is at stake for coach Mark Richt and Georgia today. Not only state pride, and the opportunity to carry bragging rights for the fourth straight year, but a legitimate shot at the national championship of college football – something Georgia hasn’t tasted since 1980. Losing to the Yellow Jackets would carry a sting the Bulldogs would take with them for decades to come even if they were to go on and win the SEC championship.
Hate may not be a big enough word to describe the rivalry this year.
Walk into any sports bar, beauty parlor, laundromat, or meat-and-three around the state of Georgia and you’ll see what I mean. It’s not just arguments, it’s downright ugly verbal haymakers being thrown. Search on twitter for the phrase “To hell with Tech” (or substitute Georgia) and see the never ending list of tweets that fills your screen.
These two teams don’t like each other, but these two fan bases just absolutely despise each other, and will take any opportunity given to set fire to the other’s ego and then dance the dance of the victorious while they go up in flames.
The record between these two rivals is 61 Georgia wins, 39 Georgia Tech wins, and five ties, which is something that Georgia fans never cease to stop throwing in the faces of their gold and white foes. Georgia Tech holds the edge in national championships (4-2) and conference championships (16-14), and they are quick to use those stats as a rebuttal when taunted by a nemesis donning red and black.
If you want to see a good football game, there are sure to be many to watch this weekend when traditional rivals clash, but I can’t think of any that will have both the implications and the hatred that you’ll see when the Ramblin’ Wreck and the Junkyard Dawgs clash between the hedges in Athens, Ga. today.