- Monday, 02 December 2013 02:00
- Author: Logan Booker
Photo: Rob Saye/BI
Ask any Georgia Tech fan and they will have no problem telling you that “A win over UGA will make our season no matter what our record is.” Ask any UGA fan, and they typically like to downplay the importance of beating their (current) fourth or fifth biggest rival over in Atlanta. But after Damian Swann exhibited the proper way of batting down a fourth down, double-overtime pass to win a football game on Saturday night, UGA fans should have no problem admitting that beating the Nerds 100 percent MADE their 2013 season.
It’s been a lot of fun beating Georgia Tech 12 times in the last 13 attempts. So much so that I fear some fans have forgotten how much it absolutely sucks losing to the nerds. 2008 hit everybody by surprise, when a year of torment and regret clouded many Dawg fans’ every move for a solid year. And fortunately for UGA fans at the time, Caleb King and Washaun Ealey were able to tear through a No. 7 ranked Yellow Jacket team one year later, creating the popular moniker of “We Run This State,” which is currently the official twitter handle of Georgia Football.
But this year, even though it is now the fifth time in a row that UGA fans are allowed to hang up a Christmas tree, I have no problem saying that the 41-34 win in double overtime Saturday made my upcoming offseason a good one, as opposed to one of extreme regret and ridicule.
Had UGA not somehow tied the game up after being down 20, before unleashing the beast that is Todd Gurley in overtime, this next month leading up to a bowl game would have felt more like a year. Then, despite what might happen in the bowl game, the offseason would have been one of frustration and concern as to how low we have stooped without Aaron Murray running the show.
Instead, it was refreshing to watch Hutson Mason put up great numbers
, despite displaying the obvious jitters on the first few possessions. It was refreshing to watch Todd Gurley do what Todd Gurley does when it mattered the most. It will be nice when the dogwoods start popping up all over North Campus around March to know that the program seems to be in good hands offensively during the most stress-free part of the 365 day football season: Spring Practice.
It’s not to say that losing to Tech and impressing in a bowl game wouldn’t have given a glimmer of hope, but losing to tech shrouds Athens with a cloud of pessimism like no other loss ever could. It’s just not any fun making “little brother” jokes incessantly, then losing to said little brother. And even though it would have been only the second win for the Jackets in 12 attempts, somehow it would have felt like their fifth win in a row to all UGA fans.
Although this season had extreme highs (the magical afternoon in Sanford while beating LSU) and extreme lows (“targeting” penalties that undoubtedly led to a loss to Vanderbilt), beating Georgia Tech after they jumped out to a frustrating 20 point lead just seems an appropriate way to end a season that has dubbed the term “Cardiac Canines.” Already coping with the agony of one of the potentially worst defeats in this series, then watching our boys do what they’ve done best this year – make a game out of things – literally flipped the switch of one of the darkest days of they season into one of the brightest.
Now you can fear not having every Georgia Tech fan you’ve ever encountered throughout your life popping onto your facebook wall, or giving you that snide grin whenever you do have to cross paths in person. You don’t have to feel like every car with one of those insect stickers on their back car window is howling with laughter at the sight of your “UGA Alumni” sticker in your back car window as you pass them in I-85 rush hour traffic.
You, as a UGA fan, hate everything about Georgia Tech. And don’t think for one second that Georgia Tech fans don’t hate everything about the university that you love for so much more than just a football team. That’s the way rivalries work. And while they admit yearly that beating your program is all they wish for, find no shame in admitting that this season the feeling is more than mutual. Not only did UGA do the yearly deed with a backup quarterback making his first career start, backed into a 20-point hole, they did it while missing eight other starters. And you can bet those facts would have never been brought up with the yellow-clad had they won.
A season that started with National Championship chatter, which only solidified going into October, then bitten by the injury bug more than any UGA team has been bitten perhaps through all of time, hinged on polar opposite emotions on the stage of the fanbase that hates us more than any other out there. And while frustrating to watch the majority of the game, I can think of no more appropriate way to head into the evaluation portion of the year-long season than spotting little brother 20 points, then saying “just kidding!,” wiping their turf with them in two overtimes, and heading back to God’s Country with the Governor’s Cup for the fifth time in five attempts since they thought the tides had turned. All while knowing good ad well that their feeling of defeat only rivals or trumps the elation that we carried home with us.
A mediocre season turned great Saturday night. And while the overall result is nowhere near what we all would have hoped for as recently as week six, beating Georgia Tech made UGA fans’ season. And they should know it as much as you should be willing to admit it.