I hate Georgia.
There, I said it. It’s out there. Hate is the strongest form of dislike. If you’d like further clarification, light your neighbor’s house on fire and leave a note on their lawn that says “Hahahaha I totally burned down your house” and observe the subsequent behavior. That should about explain it, right?
But it’s not sufficient to simply aim hatred toward another team without knowing why. So here are five good reasons why you should aim said feelings of hatred at Georgia, counting down:
5) Many Georgia fans are truly delusional
This covers a wide variety of different behaviors from Dawg fans, whose main method of elucidating support for their team comes in the form of barking like dogs at people rather than using English. And yet that may be the only sign of intelligence you’ll ever see from an unfortunate amount of them, as at least they remembered what they learned from that See-N-Say their 12 year old daughter got them last Christmas.
For one thing, they claim a victory over Florida in 1904. Too bad there was no University of Florida in 1904. But that seemingly simple logic is lost on many Bulldog fans, who refer to a 52-0 Georgia victory over Florida Agricultural College as the first game in the series despite the University of Florida not being created until the following year. Go ahead, Doggies. If it makes you feel better, go ahead and claim that victory, 111 years ago, so you can say you lead the all time series 50-41, not 49-41. I know. You want every win you can get because you’re afraid the Gators will catch up soon with the right coach.
More generally, Georgia fans have higher expectations of a consistently mediocre football team than any other fan base in the country. Bulldog fans have spent every August since I can remember crowing about how this year, they’re actually going to win the SEC. Weird, because they haven’t actually done so since 2005 and they’re on the brink of being eliminated from that being a possibility this year as well. Georgia’s standards are such that long-term mediocrity with an outlier 11-2 season thrown in there is perfectly acceptable; the only reason Georgia has averaged nine wins over the last ten seasons is because of an 11-2 record in 2007 and a 12-2 record in 2012 that totally throw off the average. The Bulldogs are rarely awful (though they were in 2010, in which they finished with a losing record) but they are never great. They always lose one or two games every year that great teams win en route to a national championship- which by the way Georgia hasn’t won in 35 years.
4) Georgia has dealt Florida some devastating losses over the years
Admittedly, Florida has ruined more Georgia seasons than vice versa, but that doesn’t mean Georgia doing so to Florida doesn’t sting. This dates all the way back to the 1970’s, when the Bulldogs handed Florida a pair of crushing losses in successive years: a 10-7 loss that featured an 80 yard touchdown pass on a reverse in 1975 and a 41-27 loss in 1976 that saw Georgia score the game’s last 28 points to erase a seemingly comfortable 27-13 halftime lead. Truthfully, that second one was Florida’s own fault, as head coach Doug Dickey’s brilliant decision to go for it on fourth and a solid yard from their own 29 midway through the third quarter backfired and kick-started the Georgia comeback, but still.
The 1980 game may have hurt the worst. Florida was about a minute away from springing a huge upset over unbeaten and #2 ranked Georgia, but Buck Belue’s screen pass to Lindsay Scott on third down turned into a 93 yard game winning touchdown pass and the Bulldogs went on to win the national championship. Georgia also directly cost Florida undefeated regular seasons in 1985 and 2012 with 24-3 and 17-9 wins, respectively, and dished out the most aggravating loss of all in 2007 (more on that game later on).
3) Many fans and administrators complain about the game being in Jacksonville
According to fans and administrators alike, playing the game in Jacksonville every year gives the Gators an unfair advantage. You know, because Jacksonville is a 90 minute bus ride away from Gainesville, while Georgia has to sit on a plane for all of 20 minutes to get there. And because of the closer proximity to Gainesville, Florida can get more fans in the stadium. This is despite the fact that south Georgia is littered with Bulldog fans, including some who live closer to Jacksonville than a lot of Gator fans do. So the consensus opinion is that the reason Florida wins the game so often (19 times in the last 25 years) is because it’s in Jacksonville, and that the game should be played in each other’s stadiums.
Hmmm. Weird, Georgia fans don’t seem to complain about the SEC Championship Game always being played in their backyard of Atlanta. And if playing so much closer to home is really that important, why does Georgia have a losing record in SEC Championship Games? Oh and before I forget, Florida did go to Athens once, 20 years ago just to test this little theory- and smacked the Doggies 52-17. And the Gators’ 52 points still stands as the most points ever dropped on Georgia on its home turf despite Florida only getting one shot to do it.
2) Georgia cost Florida the 1984 SEC Championship
Following Florida’s third game of the 1984 season, Florida coach Charlie Pell was fired because he and his staff were found to have committed several NCAA violations over the last few years. The NCAA promptly banned them from a bowl game that year and each of the next two years, and declared them ineligible to win the SEC or National Championship each of the next two years, but let them continue to play out the 1984 season with an opportunity to win the conference. Galen Hall took over and guided Florida to nine straight wins and its first ever SEC Championship.
However, the SEC then held a vote the following spring with all ten schools in the SEC to decide what to do with the official 1984 SEC Championship: let Florida keep it or force them to vacate it. The vote was 5-4 in favor of the latter with only Georgia left. Perhaps still salty from the 27-0 drubbing they suffered at the hands of the Gators earlier that year, Georgia’s vote was cast in favor of vacating the title. A 5-5 tie would have allowed the Gators to keep it, but Georgia’s deciding vote forced the Gators to retroactively surrender the championship. Which is horsesh*t, because Florida still has the rings, shirts and coke bottles they originally received to prove that they truly won the SEC.
And if Georgia fans want to claim I shouldn’t be bitter about something that happened 30 years ago: go ahead, but this happened five years after you won your last national championship.
1) That damned end zone dance
Never have I even considered seeing the day where I would forgive Mark Richt for orchestrating the most childish and disrespectful thing I have ever seen on a live field, and I might never consider seeing that day. For those of you who somehow don’t know what I’m talking about: the entire Georgia bench charged the field following the Bulldogs’ first touchdown in the 2007 Florida-Georgia game and began to dance right in front of Florida players’ faces. Well, they called it dancing, anyway. It looked more to me like a bunch of crack-addicted, ADD-riddled thugs confronting their drug dealer for selling them “weak” cocaine, but that’s beside the point. They showed the Gators up on the field in a way that even Pee Wee teams wouldn’t.
Various claims have been made about Florida’s potential retaliation in 2008, ranging from Urban Meyer’s timeouts with under a minute to play to make Georgia sit there and take their beating for as long as possible to Chris Rainey’s fake kneel down and big return on the ensuing kickoff. Even the 49-10 score itself has been considered sufficient payback. But none of that, nor the slightly less convincing but still convincing 41-17 blowout the following year in which Tim Tebow broke Herschel Walker’s record for rushing touchdowns, is enough for me. I will not settle, and I will not consider Florida and Georgia even, until and unless Mark Richt pays the ultimate price: losing a game to Florida that in some way or another costs him his job.
UPDATE: I wrote this before the 2015 game. Yes, Florida’s 27-3 beatdown of Georgia turned out to be what ultimately cost Mark Richt his job. And true to my word, my anger has somewhat abated. But I will still never forget what happened, and getting even isn’t good enough in a rivalry like this.