I hate the Georgia bulldogs.
Actually, that’s not true. I have nothing personal against them. Florida fans hate Georgia and vice-versa. And they can share that each year.
However, for one week of the year, I don’t like Georgia very much either.
And that’s odd, because I’ve always considered Georgia like the cousin you see twice a year at the family BBQ and Thanksgiving. I have a cousin my age. He attended a rival high school. When my school played his, I rooted for my school. But I held nothing against him personally before, during, or after the game. My cousin also had a shot at a basketball scholarship. Scouts came to watch him play. I wished him well, even if my school was the other team on the floor.
And so I feel when that way when Auburn plays Georgia.
Years ago, Auburn played its biggest games at neutral fields as the city of Auburn wasn’t big enough to host them. When Auburn began bringing its opponents to Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech all fought the change. Only Georgia respected Auburn’s right to play its home games where it wanted to. I always liked that story, though an older friend of mine once told me that, had I seen the field where Auburn and Georgia used to play (in Columbus, I think he said), then I’d understand why Georgia didn’t argue. In the end, it didn’t matter.
For me, one of the greatest acts of sportsmanship involved a game against Georgia. The Auburn CB was laid out on the Georgia sideline. The Auburn defense knelt around him and said a prayer while the trainers worked on the player. The Georgia players came off the sidelines and knelt around the Auburn defense. On the first play from scrimmage after the injury, the Georgia QB threw a TD strike at the guy’s replacement. Still, it was a prayerful moment.
And, as I look at this weekend’s game, I think about the fact that we have lost three straight. In one of those three, we were heavily favored (2006). In another one, we were the underdog and just blew it (2008). It’s time to redress the balance and have the “W” on our side of the ledger again.
So, as I said, I hate Georgia.
But only for this week.