BY RICHARD PROCTOR
In Georgia, Thanksgiving week brings crisp fall air, falling leaves, turkey and dressing. For the football fans in the state, the Saturday following Thanksgiving brings the state rivalry, Georgia vs Georgia Tech, also known as “Clean Old-Fashioned Hate.”
The two teams first met back in 1893 when the Golden Tornado, as Tech was known, rode the train to Athens and defeated Georgia 28-6. Since that game the teams have met 113 times with the current record standing at Georgia 67 wins, Tech 41 wins, and there are 5 ties in the series.
In the last 50 years, the series has heavily tilted toward the Bulldogs with Tech having only 12 wins in that span. The disparity is so much that if you ask most Georgia fans about the rivalry, they will tell you that Tech is no longer their primary rival as many point to it being Florida or Auburn.
Even so, the game remains a feisty affair and must have some point as if you are a Georgia coach and lose too often to Tech, you lose your job, Jim Donnan.
Or if you are a Tech coach and beat Georgia some and continue to not behave as a little brother should, you anger the Bulldog faithful and fall out of favor with the local media, Paul Johnson. Tech is to have its role and that role is to not be a threat to UGA, only to provide a spirited game and for many years this has been the case.
The last time Tech upset the order was in 2016 with 18 seconds to go Qua Searcy ran right to throw a pass back to quarterback Justin Thomas, but instead took the ball and ran the last five yards and dove into the end zone to bring the final score 18-17 Georgia Tech.
Since that game Tech has a new coach and a struggling program that will face the number 1 Georgia Bulldogs this Saturday. The Tech faithful fear a repeat of the 1980 game and for the current version, they might want that as even the Hershel Walker lead variant only had a ten-point lead 24-14 mid-way through the third period.
This year the game will be at Bobby Dodd Stadium and with each team’s record the stands will probably be filled with more red and black than white and gold. But the fried chicken and adult beverages will be at the tailgates and barring inclement weather the state will go on with its rivalry game.
Georgia appears poised to recapture that number 1 spot and Tech appears to be but a speed bump before the SEC Championship game where the Dogs will face the team from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Coach Smart would like nothing better than to salt away the Jackets early and give his number 1’s and maybe even number 2’s some rest so that they can be ready to make that run for three more games.
Tech would like nothing better than to spoil the party and walk out of Bobby Dodd Stadium with an upset win that would bring a supersonic moan from 80 percent of the state of Georgia.
The ESPN predictor gives Georgia Tech a 3 percent chance to pull the upset and if one was laying down a bet, I wouldn’t place money on the Jackets to win.
But that is why the game is played and the Governor’s Cup is awarded to the winner.
So, when toe meets leather on Saturday, let’s hope we can look back on the game as one that brought something more than just a W in the column for Georgia and a crushing end to the 2021 season for Tech.
Richard Proctor, born in Newnan, recently moved back from Denver, Colorado and is an avid college football fan as well as a published author.