Oh how things change. With the conference gone for another season, Georgia now focuses its attention on Georgia Tech. Every Thanksgiving, Clean Old-Fashioned Hate comes to the family table to break bread. And the debate among Georgia fans is not about whether or not the Dawgs can beat the Jackets. It usually becomes a debate about whether or not the Jackets are the Dawgs biggest rival. It always makes for great discussion around this time and I've decided to throw in my top 10 favorite reasons (in particular order) why Georgia Tech is our biggest rival from fans I've talked to over the years and why I think these reasons carry little weight in the end. Again, it's a fun exercise and it should only create banter more than insult. So here it is:
"Georgia Tech is our biggest rival because...
1) ...this game decides who wins the in-state talent in Georgia." Really? Even when Georgia Tech reeled off three wins in a row in the late 90's-early 00's, Georgia was still getting majority of the in-state talent. Georgia Tech doesn't steal much talent from Georgia and if they do, it's because they have a great aeronautical engineering program rather than what they did on the field the year before.
2) ...no matter how bad we are, we should never lose to the Jackets." Should a team you always dominated be considered a rival? I'm sure someone will mention the recent lopsided results over the last twenty years in the "Cocktail Party" but that was, to use the word again, recent. Georgia still holds the overall edge over Florida and if anything, Florida's recent success has made it once again a rivalry. For Georgia Tech, they haven't consistently beaten Georgia in many years, so it's hard to imagine this game meaning more.
3) ...losing to them means your program has officially gone backwards." Yeah right. We know this team has gone backwards and we don't need a loss to Tech to prove it.
4) ...it's ACC vs SEC." I understand the theory but at the end of the day, this game does not have the moxy that an SEC conference game with Florida, Tennessee, and Auburn has. When you put a division or conference title on the line in front of 100,000 fans in October or November, you'll know SEC vs SEC is the equivalent to Israel and Palestine. It's huge and doesn't always create friendly environments because both teams have so much more on the line than a yearly non-conference matchup.
5) ...we can go 1-11 with a lone win over Tech and I will feel this season has been a success." I certainly don't think we'll ever see an 0-11 Georgia team play Tech in order to prove this reason but according to Dawg standards, a 5-6 record is as close as it gets to a winless season. So I ask you, does a win on Saturday make this season successful? Will most of the DawgNation sit back and feel a sense of pride in the 2010 season? Will the FireMarkRicht.com websites be taken down? I say the answer is an emphatic NO! A 5-6 team with a win over Florida is much more gratifying.
6) ...because they are so close together geographically!" Yes, it's the intrastate rivalry game but let me ask you, how many people took off this whole week to tailgate the UGA/Tech game? Thousands of Georgia fans save vacation in order to take the week off for the World's Largest Cocktail Party. The Tech game is more of a friendly church basketball league. It's competitive but both sides end up splitting a Bloomin' Onion together at Outback once it's over. Georgia and Florida don't do that.
7) ...it's bragging rights for the next 365 days!" How many Georgia Tech fans do you know? I know a few but I hardly work with any of them and they seem to be too casual a fan to be taken seriously. The state isn't exactly a 50/50 split of fans like Auburn-Bama. Sure, you meet a few alumni from Tech every now and then but most of the Tech fans out there who adopted the school seem to hate Georgia more than they really love Tech.
8) ...it's one of our oldest rivalries." True, but it isn't the oldest. That would be Auburn and you saw how that game ended less than two weeks ago.
9) ...they look at us as our rival." Kudos to us then. We must be doing something right if a program looks at us as the flagship program worth striving for. South Carolina also looks at us in much similar ways and I can tell you those crazy fans seem to want a win over Georgia more than the most rabid Tech fan.
10) ...I remember when they..." Did what? Won the game and acted like they won the Super Bowl? Tore a piece of the hedges to commemorate the win because it won't happen again for a long time? Got some cheap calls back in the days of Jasper Sanks and Joe Hamilton? These are just small parts that make up a great series of games spanning over a century but look any Georgia fan in the eye and he'll tell you a Hurricane at the Landing tastes sweeter in victory and planting a Georgia flag over the "T" at Neyland is much more gratifying than any win two days after Thanksgiving.
So there you have it. Let the debate begin. Please pass the hate.