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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday Spotlight: Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate

[This post originally part of the Potvin Spotlight series.]

The rivalry between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the Georgia Institute of Technology Yellow Jackets is sometimes referred to by the moniker Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. But do these schools really hate each other? You be the judge.

Georgia was founded in 1785, 100 years before Georgia Tech was founded. Due to this lack of a clear cut in-state rival, Bulldog fans had to take their aggression out on natives and slaves. However, due to westward expansions and the south’s defeat in the Civil War, there were soon no slaves or natives to be overly aggressive against. Unto whom could they fulfill their violent, megalomaniacal fantasies of continued power?

That’s easy! Just start another in-state school to rival the one you already have; now you’ve got Georgians hating Georgians, and rightly so. They only people worthy of hating a pure blood Georgian is another Georgian. And thus it is conversely true: the only person worth a Georgian’s time to even bother hating is someone cut from the same cloth.

With UGA in Athens and Georgia Tech in Atlanta, the schools were a mere 70 miles apart, and the stage was set for an epic rivalry to grow.

Below: A map of the state of Georgia showing the locations of UGA and GT.
Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Locations in Georgia
You had to see this one coming…

The hostilities began over the school colors. Georgia, whose colors were old gold, black, and crimson, removed old gold from the school’s officials colors, stating that old gold was too similar to yellow, and yellow symbolized cowardice. Georgia Tech then began wearing old gold uniforms as a metaphorical slap-in-the-face to UGA. Georgia officials then stated that white symbolizes those who nurture and embrace defeat. Again Georgia Tech responded by adding white to their uniforms. To this day, Tech’s colors are old gold and white.

More hatred came to the Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate rivalry during WWI, when Georgia mocked Tech for having a football team during the war. Most of Georgia’s players were serving in the armed forces at the time, and the school failed to field a team. Georgia Tech officials released a statement saying “It’s not our fault there’s a war on.” To this, Georgia officials famously responded with a letter that only read “Fuck you guys.”

When Georgia renewed its program in 1919 after the war had ended, the students staged a parade which featured a float shaped like a tank that read “UGA IN ARGONNE” followed by donkey draped in yellow that read “TECH IN ATLANTA”. Burn. Georgia Tech responded by burning down Georgia’s campus in Athens, killing several hundred students. Wicked burn.

In the 1970s the rivalry escalated to new heights as school pranksters tried to out do one another. The first such incident occurred in 1973 when some Tech students stole the bulldog statue in front of the UGA student center. Georgia students responded by stealing Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ Wreck, a golden colored 1930 Ford Model A sports coupe clad with cheerleaders. The following year, Tech students kidnapped Uga III, the Bulldog’s mascot, a bulldog. Though his body was never found, it was rumored that he was rolled up in a carpet and thrown off a bridge, but not before some students split a bottle of malt liquor with him. Georgia students, enraged, set together a plan to kidnap all of the yellow jackets in the state. The plan failed miserably and ended in many painful stings. Georgia students then decided to retaliate by enrolling in Georgia Tech and, using their natural abilities, lowered the school-wide GPA.

Below: A Victim of Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate
Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech
Hey, I’m not trying to pick favorites or anything, but I’d rather be in this car than hanging out with Georgia’s bulldog. Nothing against dogs, but, c’mon. Just look at this juxtaposition of the Uga (the Georgia mascot) and a close-up of one of those cheerleaders:
Georgia’s Mascot, Uga VI Close-up of Georgia Tech Cheerleader’s Good Assets

Hate is also practiced through time honored traditions. A famous Georgia Tech rallying cry is to shout out four times over the question “What’s the good word?” to which a crowd of (now) energized Yellow Jackets respond “To hell with Georgia!” despite the fact that they too are Georgians. (It has been suggested that this fact eludes them, but I doubt it.) The fourth response is set to be “Piss on them!” which, if they are referring to Georgians, means they wish to piss on themselves. This has lead many to believe that Georgia Tech fans inspired Marco Fiorito’s critically repulsed film 2 Girls 1 Cup.

Georgia currently leads the football series 59-38-5 (or so some say), and are on a 7 game winning streak against their in-state rivals as of this past year’s 31-17 victory over the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech hopes to change the trend by bringing in ex-Navy coach Paul Johnson, famous for his use of the triple option. If this does not work, Georgia Tech plans to poison the Athens water supply.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Hawaii: Heroic Losers

The Hawaii Warriors’ perfect season is over after a 41-10 loss to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on January 1st. Hawaii was the last undefeated team in FBS play, but they refused to end their season that way. “We decided to throw the game because we figured it wouldn’t be fair to all of the other teams if we ended our season with a big fat zero in the loss column,” said Hawaii head coach June Jones. “Plus, we received tons of death threats from Bulldog fans saying they’d kill us if we won. We know that at least a few of them we sincere, because they included bombs.”

“I didn’t want to die, so I made sure I had a pretty shitty game,” said Warriors quarterback Colt Brennan. “But it’s also very special to just be here and lose without any doubts.”

Hawaii saw what kind of trouble pollsters would get into should both they and LSU win their bowl games. LSU would be a two loss “national champion” while Hawaii would be undefeated and somehow not the national champion. So they lost on purpose. It was very convincing.

“At first, when I heard they were going to throw the game I was like ‘Oh great, just like when Appalachian State beat Michigan,'” said Georgia defensive end Marcus Howard. “Man, it was so obvious that Michigan lost that game on purpose. It was a pathetic showing by them. But, man, Hawaii has got it down. They can lose with the best of ’em.”

Howard was of course referring to Appalachian State’s week one upset of Michigan earlier this year. “I thought it was pretty cool,” said Michigan tackle Jake Long, in response to Howard’s remarks. “I mean, yeah, at times you could tell we weren’t trying, but just look what happened: Throughout the rest of the year, everybody else tried to have a bigger upset than us. I think that’s impressive, regardless of whatever a southern boy wants to say.”

Wolverine running back Mike Hart also replied in kind. “I bet we could lose to Appalachian State two, maybe three times if we wanted to. Hell, I bet we could lose to an Ivy League team if we really applied ourselves. Let’s see Georgia do that, or any SEC team for that matter, aside from Vanderbilt.” Hart was also defending the Big Ten, as it is typically seen as an inferior conference to the SEC.

Both Michigan and Hawaii are being heralded by many as the best losers of the 07-08 season, as Hawaii sacrificed their undefeated season and as Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr, even in his last year of coaching, had the Wolverines be the first top five team to lose to an FCS team in college football history.

LSU was right in the running with Hawaii and Michigan this year, as the Bayou Bengals lost two games in triple overtime to opponents they were expected to beat. It is unclear, however, if LSU lost the games to be extra gracious members of college football or if they lost them to gloat and brag. Tigers head coach Les Miles’ comments after each game seem to invoke both.

“We really wanted to show the nation that Kentucky can be good at football, too, even if it’s only once every 30 or 40 years,” said Miles after LSU lost to Kentucky 43-37 in October. “Plus, we think it’s unfair to go undefeated, and we really wanted to lose in spectacular style, and I think we were able to do that today.” Those words spoke volumes about LSU’s program and appeared to be building a legacy for Miles. However, his comments after losing to Arkansas were seen by many to be little more than arrogant and cocky.

“That’s what I’m talking about! I don’t think any other team in the nation can pull this off, two triple overtime loses as the number one team in the nation in the same month!” Miles comments were showered with an air of boastfulness. “I bet we still end up in the national championship!” And they did.

There were many other upsets throughout the year, such as Stanford beating No. 1 USC. It was the Trojans first home loss since 2001, and Stanford was a sub .500 team, even after the win. No. 2 California lost to Oregon State, and No. 5 West Virginia lost to unranked South Florida, who then reached the No. 2 spot some time later, only to be upset themselves. Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida… the list literally goes on and on. With so many choices, how can one possibly pick the best losers of 2007?

Most people agree that the top three are Hawaii, Michigan, and LSU. This disagreement lies in what order those three go in. For me, it is just as I wrote it: Hawaii, Michigan, and LSU. Hawaii gave up their best season in school history and the last undefeated season in college football to keep the records straight, but they also did it in convincing fashion. I don’t think anybody doubts that Georgia was the better team in Sugar Bowl now, but that’s only because Hawaii intentionally lost with such incredible vigor.

Michigan gets the number two spot because they set the pace for the rest of year, and shattered the previous history of top five teams dominating the FCS teams. Also, it’s Lloyd Carr’s last year. Tom Osborne didn’t do that in his last season at Nebraska.

LSU takes third place because they did it just so they could brag. I think the fans should be able to brag about the two loses, but the program and its leaders should show some class and commend the winning teams on their “valiant efforts” even though the games are rigged. LSU certainly did get style points by losing both their games in such glamorous ways, however, which, combined with their national championship appearance, makes them a very solid number three.

In conclusion, the Hawaii Warriors win the Best Loser award. Let’s get the AP in on this so they can give them an actual trophy. They need it after that loss.