Preface: There will be rambling herein, as well as baseless accusations and unfounded speculation. I ask forgiveness for neither, but instead tolerance of what might be considered inanity.
As a college football fan, it sucks going to my school. I'm not joking when I say that tailgating is a bigger event than the actual game. Routinely, there are about 500 people down at the lake near the stadium parking lot, grilling hotdogs and chugging beers. Rarely are there 250 students in the stadium during the game. There are usually twice as many "Townies" in attendance as there are students. But the only time we ever really feel embarrassed is when the likes of mighty Colgate show up and have about 2,000 people on the visitor's side.
I don't complain. I understand there are certain factors at play: we've never participated in postseason football and stopped giving athletic scholarships many decades ago. But you'd think a school that participated in the sport's very first contest way back in 1869, a school that actually claims more national championships than anyone else, might give the slightest damn about its football program.
Nope. We only care about lacrosse. For a boy who was raised in the country with football in his heart, this is death. But I understand why there is general apathy toward the football team: it's irrelevant.
I must say, that's the worst part about it, worse than any poor performance. No one cares whether we win or lose. It sucks, because I'm one of the few who splits off from the pack walking in a drunken stupor back to the dorms; I'm one of the few who heads into that ugly concrete monstrosity (imagine if Sanford Stadium was a malnourished person, living in famine in Mogadishu) and cheers on the football squad.
I suspect there are a lot of people who feel apathy toward the Georgia Bulldogs football team right now. Those are the fair-weather fans, the ones who wore their t-shirts and drove around with their vanity license plates when there were double-digit wins every year, endless offers of prestigious bowls. They are the ones who measure a program's success and failure by how much ESPN talks about the team. They are the ones that Bulldog Nation must fight off.
Disaffection is a program's worst enemy. It starts at the perimeter and creeps its way toward the center. It is the water that leaks in the ship, that sends boosters and recruits jumping overboard over a long enough arc. A program like UGA's won't ever be dregs. The Dawgs won't ever be forgotten like my school's team has been. Hell, the Georgia program isn't even really at risk right now, I just have this horrible vision in my head that I must let free into the ether. This vision exists because not in the years that I've followed Georgia has the mood been so godawful.
If UGA ever became a sort of less-pedigreed Notre Dame, that would just be horrible.