My freshman year at UGA coincided with Mark Richt's inaugural season on the Sanford sidelines. So obviously, I have never experienced a Dawgs loss to Georgia Tech. Therefore, they have never really been as high on my hate list as Florida, who I find new find new ways to loathe with every trip to Jacksonville, or Tennessee, LSU, and of course, Auburn.
To me, as a Georgia fan, hating Tech is like hating South Carolina, or your infinitely less cool, uglier, dumber little brother. It kind of reminds me of when the Red Sox of the early 2000s would always get into these fueds and brawls with the Devil Rays (when they really sucked). Is it really necessary to get that worked up over something when, as Tupac said "(expleive) ain't even on my level"? I'm siding with Pac on this one, and gonna say no.
Now...all that being said...talk to ANY older Georgia fans about Tech, and you can feel the venom seeping through their pores like the smell of alcohol at a 9am pickup basketball game. These guys HATE Tech, or as my stepdad (1968 UGA grad) will only refer to them, the Jerkets. They don't get nearly as excited with a Tech win as they would a great SEC victory, but the one team they do NOT want to lose to is Georgia Tech. It's just a pride thing. Sure, we can trade barbs with other SEC fans interchangeably each year based on who's over/underachieving and over a few seasons, it evens out. We recognize this. Let's just say Tech fans/students aren't like typical obnoxious SEC fans, but rather, annoying, sarcastic, little pimply-faced nutjobs. The less they talk, the better.
As for this year's contest, Tech arrives in Athens with their highest hopes of leaving victorious in eight seasons. Sure, when they came to town in 2006, Stafford was a freshman and the Dawgs had lost to Vandy and Kentucky earlier in the year; but, even the blindest Tech homer had to see the inevitable Reggie Ball implosion coming. This year though, Tech supporters are back to a level of euphoria/delusion unseen since the O'Leary/Fridge/Hamilton/Godsey years.
This probably has as much to do with the fact that Chan Gailey's program had the identity of Publix-brand vanilla ice cream (and not that 'Premium' shit, either- just plain vanilla with no toppings). Now, as the only BCS school running the triple option, Paul Johnson has given Tech backers the sense that there is a plan in place, and as he has everywhere else he has coached, he will be successful in implementing that plan. (And dude won't smile while doing it...Johnson makes Bobby Petrino look like Richard Simmons)
As much praise has been heaped upon Johnson for winning his first year here without "his players", let's not forget that Chan Gailey was a very good recruiter for Tech and the cupboard was far from bare upon Johnson's arrival. With all the "PALL JOHNSUN IZ THEE SHIT!!!11" talk, Tech arrives in Athens at 8-3. The last three seasons, they have been 7-3, 9-2 and 7-4 heading into the UGA game. This is still arguably the most talented Georgia team of that time, even if they couldn't live up to everyone's enormous expectations (Sue's included). So, pardon me if I just don't see much of a different outcome. Yes, Georgia struggles defending the option. They also have had two weeks to prepare for this contest, and Richt's record following a bye week is an impressive 11-2. Unlike in years past, where some pre-work for a possible SEC Title game would have taken some priority (%@&@*@%@%!*@), these last two weeks have been all about Tech. Either way, I look forward to watching Tech's defense attempt to slow down a rested UGA offense that in what will/could be the last game for Stafford, Moreno and MoMass.
(Quick thought...with a loss to UGA and either in the ACC "Championship" or a bowl game, Tech will end the year with five losses. The ghost of Chan Gailey lives on...)
Vegas has the Dawgs as 8 point favorites after opening at 11. I'm staying away from this game, but I'll go on record with my prediction so Jesse has some ammo if needed: A high scoring affair and the most entertaining Hate game since that 2002 contest (my, was that a glorious day). Tech keeps it close for the first few quaters, but UGA pulls away at the end, successfully stuffing (say that three times...ok I just did, wasn't very hard, never mind) the option as Tech is unable to exploit the UGA secondary with their equally weak passing attack. I'm thinking UGA 37, Tech 28.
Mississippi State (+18.5) over Ole Miss - $10 - great potential for a Croomin'.
LSU (-6) over Arkansas - $15 - I look forward to the tradition of SEC National Title winner devolving into a four loss team the following season, but as long as we're pumping out the titles, I suppose one can't bitch too much.
Mizzou (-15) over Kansas - $10 - KU looking like a one year wonder. And their coach still looking like Rick Majerus' black sheep cousin.
Tennessee (-4) over Kentucky - $15 - Send Fulmer out on a high note, hopefully forgetting that "beating Kentucky at home" now qualifies as "a high note" for this program.
Oregon (+3) over Oregon State - $15
Oregon (ML) over Oregon State - $10
Yeah, Oregon State in the Rose Bowl definitely one of those "believe it when I see it" things.
Also, I think in following in the proud tradition of his former boss, Clemson will beat South Carolina and Dabo Sweeney will retain his title of head coach for at least another season. That said, no fucking way am I ever betting on Clemson.
Last Week: 2-5
2008 Inferior Picks: 5-8-1
2008 Overall Record: 50-49-3
2008 Pot: $140