TaxSlayer Bowl: Suppose They Gave a Bowl and Nobody Came

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TaxSlayer Bowl: Suppose They Gave a Bowl and Nobody Came

Vance Leavy Dooley

Vince Dooley
Photo: Greg Poole/Bulldawg Illustrated

 

I’m sure there have been bowl games in the past that generated less interest than Georgia’s current trip to Jacksonville, but the instances a very few and far between. As the team arrives for the TaxSlayer Bowl, fan interest is in the tank. Recruiting, Kirby Smart still coaching in Tuscaloosa, filling out the coaching staff for 2015, and Jacob Eason are topics that garner more interest among Dawgs than the team’s match-up with Penn State.

 

As of last week, Georgia fans had purchased less than two-thirds of the tickets allotted the school. UGA ran a full-page ad in the Athens Banner-Herald featuring Vince Dooley’s invitation for Georgia fans to join him in Jacksonville.

 

“I hope you will join me in Jacksonville and celebrate our love for this great University,”

 

Response to Dooley’s solicitation does not appear to have moved the ticket sales needle. Georgia fans gave up en masse on this team and, especially, its former coaching staff after the Alabama game and it is going to take more than Coach Dooley to get them back on the bus. Mr. Smart, Mr. Eason, and a new vibe coming from Athens are going to be required to convince fans to part with their cash and invest their energy in the program again. The fanbase feels, to some extent, betrayed. The team has not been prepared to play in many important games over the past few years. “They did not show up for the _________ game,” or some similar lament has been heard over and over. Those fans are a tough sell for anyone, including Coach Dooley.

 

Of course, fandom is all about hope. As soon as Alabama’s College Football Playoff run has ended and Coach Smart and his staff finalize a top 5 recruiting class and spring practice rolls around, Georgia fans will gladly get back on the ‘fan-wagon.’ Dawgs may have become grumpy, but they have not gone away.

 

Suppose, I set the over/under for G-Day attendance at 75k, which would you take?

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.