Monday, November 21, 2005

Guest Blogging!

Doug from Hey Jenny Slater is our guest blogger du jour this week, and well ... if you notice a slightly different tone than we've had in some previous weeks, it's because it's Mutt Week. (For what it's worth, I agree whole heartedly about Dr. Football - an orangutan with a modem could write better columns than he does).

My answers to his questions are just as acrimonious and snarky as his are to mine - go check them out when he gets them up later on today.

Nathan: Many GT fans think of UGA football as being an overall disappointment on a historical basis. Most UGa fans will state they are a better program than GT, but they’ve only won 2 MNCs to our 4, and only a couple of more SEC titles than we won . . . and GT left the conference 30+ years ago. Is this a case where UGa has just struggled to win the big games in their best seasons, and do UGa fans view the program as having failed to fulfill its promise?

Doug: I’d be interested in hearing where you learned that Georgia has won only “a couple more SEC titles” than Georgia Tech — by my count it’s Georgia 11, Georgia Tech 5 (only one of those SEC titles in the past 25 years - Nathan). But anyway, GT fans thinking the Bulldogs are “an overall disappointment on a historical basis” is kind of like Republicans thinking of Bill Clinton as being a dishonest scumbag — in other words, their opinions aren’t exactly unbiased and objective (not that I think you’d find many Georgia fans who care all that much what Tech fans think of their team in the first place).

Sure, by certain measurements you could make the case that Tech’s program has accomplished more over its history than Georgia’s has, but as Edward Norton said in “Fight Club,” “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” Georgia Tech may have won more national championships all-time than Georgia, but two of those were in 1917 and 1928, and I doubt that more than 10 percent of Tech’s current student body can even name those two years off the top of their heads. If you look at the past, say, 30 years, the two programs have won an equal number of national titles, but Georgia has won five conference titles to GT’s one (in a tougher conference, I might add), and has beaten Tech 22 out of the last 30 times (that’s even if you count Tech’s three wins from 1998 to 2000 that were recently “vacated” by the NCAA). So no, I don’t think very many Georgia fans would say the program has “failed to fulfill its promise.” Yeah, we dump our share of big games, but so does everyone else. Mark Richt has gotten the team to the point where the road to the SEC title runs through Athens almost by default, and I think the vast majority of Bulldog fans are quite pleased with that, and with the prospects for the next five or ten years.

Nathan: Given #1, why the heck do you guys beat us so regularly? Even Bobby Dodd couldn’t consistently beat Georgia. GT’s best teams beat Georgia (1990, Joe Hamilton, etc.) but other than [that] we seem to invent ways to lose this game, and have for the life of the rivalry. Street and Smith had GT as the #16 football program of all time, UGa #18 — you’d figure the all-time series record would be closer than it is.

Doug: Tech has indeed had some great coaches — Heisman, Dodd, Ross — but look whom they’ve had to go up against on the Georgia side: Heisman’s counterpart for most of his Tech tenure was W.A. Cunningham, whom you’ve probably never heard of but still went 43-18-9 at Georgia. Dodd’s UGA counterpart was Wally Butts, a College Football Hall of Famer. Basically, even when Tech has been extremely good, they’ve been matched up against teams that also happened to be very good at the time. And even during the periods when Tech has, at least on paper, been superior to Georgia, that margin of superiority has usually been extremely slim — certainly not big enough for Tech to expect a win over Georgia every year.

That said, you’re hardly out of line in wondering why the all-time series record is so lopsided when both programs seem to be so competitive — but I think that has a lot to do with the general unspoken assumption (among both Bulldogs and Techies) that Georgia is the flagship football program in the state and Tech isn’t, which I’ll address in one of the subsequent questions you asked.

Nathan: Calvin Johnson chose GT over UGa. With as poorly as Georgia’s WRs have played the past two years (outside of Reggie Brown), which piece of ’Dawg memorabilia would you give to have him wearing red and black right now?

Doug: I’d give a signed Herschel Walker jersey and a free dinner at the Last Resort Grill in downtown Athens (drinks included), but not much more than that. Now, don’t think for a minute I’m trying to downplay Johnson’s awesomeness — he’s probably the most talented receiver in the country, and any team would be lucky to have him — but one receiver doesn’t make the team, or even the offense (unless by “receiver” you mean “Tyrone Prothro,” and by “team” you mean “Alabama,” evidently). Let me pose a different version of your question: Of the four games has lost over the past two seasons, which of those do we win if we have Calvin Johnson? Auburn 2004? Not the way Auburn was playing that year. Auburn this year? Maybe, but our offense wasn’t exactly hurting without him — it was the defense that couldn’t stop anybody. Florida a few weeks ago? OK, yeah, we might’ve won with Calvin — but if we’re going to play “Dear Santa” with that one, I’d ask for a healthy D.J. Shockley before I started looking to poach anyone off of Tech’s team.

Nathan: Like many rivalries, the smaller school strongly dislikes the larger state school because of secondary media coverage, fewer sidewalk fans, and perceived “secondary” status in the public eye — making it seem like living in enemy territory much of the time (Auburn v. ’Bama, Duke v. UNC both are similarities). Elitism seems to be the common response to this situation — is that what rubs Georgia fans the wrong way about Tech? If not, what exactly is it?

Doug: Maybe the “elitism” bugs us a little, but only in the sense that it’s based on Techie assumptions about their school’s overwhelming academic superiority that don’t really hold water anymore. Our average incoming-freshman SAT score has closed to within 100 points of y’all’s, and we’re right there in the U.S. News & World Report top public universities list along with you, too — so when we get the old “I’m going to be your boss someday” static from a Techie, our usual response these days is simply to give a demure little “whatever helps you sleep better at night” smile and leave it at that. But I think the greater annoyance for Bulldog Nation regarding football is that Tech fans seem to want to be put on the same level with Georgia in terms of top-tier I-A programs without having earned it, at least recently. And I’m not even talking strictly in terms of wins and losses — how much buzz (pardon the pun) does your program generate? How many rear ends do you put in the seats? Bulldog fans will pack out a 92,746-seat stadium even when the opponent is Louisiana-Monroe; Tech, meanwhile, has to resort to discounts and ticket “packages” just to fill 55,000 seats for some conference games. The last time I went to a UGA-GT game in Atlanta, there was more red in the stands than there was yellow, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same turns out to be true when I (hopefully) walk into the stadium on Saturday. Yet Tech fans will probably still complain that they don’t get enough media attention. Well, if you guys don’t even get excited about your own program, how do you expect anyone else to?

Let me give you another example in the form of “Dr. Football.” Dr. Football writes a weekly column for The Hive in which his alleged purpose is to analyze the week-to-week state of Tech’s team and hazard some predictions for that week’s bigger games. But Dr. Football has apparently decided that an equal part of his life’s work is dissing UGA, its fans, or anyone who so much as says Mark Richt has good hair. In his most recent column (, Dr. Football penned about 2,700 words, nearly 1,000 of which were devoted to skewering AJC columnist Mark Bradley for daring to write a column about Mark Richt being a good coach — a screed pretty representative of his body of work as a whole. Here he is, excoriating Bradley for giving too much attention to the Bulldogs — and in the process, he ends up giving more attention to the Bulldogs! The Hive folks should be embarrassed to have this guy representing them, because he’s only feeding what Georgia fans already perceive to be a major inferiority complex on Tech’s part. And like it or not, that perception impacts media coverage, recruiting, and, yes, wins and losses.

Tech fans are kind of like the poor guy whose girlfriend just dumped him and who won’t stop talking about how he’s over her, she wasn’t really that hot, he’s glad she’s gone — the more he talks, the more you realize just how completely she’s stuck in his head. In the end, I guess we don’t find this annoying so much as mildly amusing in a pathetic sort of way, but we do get kind of tired of the whining, and of the idea that any discrepancy in the two teams’ reputations is somehow our problem. Yeah, some people just take it for granted that Georgia is the premier football program in the state, but the more Tech fans talk about Georgia Georgia Georgia, the more they cement that impression. Y’all want to be treated with the same national respect that Georgia gets? Spend less time blasting the AJC for supposedly biased media coverage and spend more time going to your own games. Great programs are built on wins and devoted fan bases, not pissed-off e-mails to sports columnists.

Nathan: You asked what Tech students do on Friday nights, but what we all really want to know is if UGA grads actually put “Able to drink an entire fifth in one sitting” and “Sat with hot co-eds in class” on their resumes?

Doug: Don’t have to. When prospective employers see a Georgia degree on our résumés, they just assume it.


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