Some of you may remember a 30 for 30 piece that came out in September, it may have had something to do with Georgia. Many of the Georgia faithful watched it, and loved it. Hearing the story of Herschel Walker, the greatest player ever to play college football, was touching and a source of great pride.
Well tonight ESPN played the newest documentary Roll Tide/War Eagle. Most of you may not care. However, being someone who goes to Auburn University, dates a Barner, and has lived in Alabama for 14 years I had to watch it. For those of you that didn't watch it, and have no intention to, I will give you my perceptions of it. I do this mainly because we do in fact play one of the schools mentioned in the documentary this very weekend.
First of all, why the heck does this get to premiere to the entire country on ESPN, while 'Herschel' is relegated to ESPNU with plans to play on ESPN weeks later? ESPN pissed me off when I saw this, but then I remembered they employ people like Kirk Herbstreit (for more info on him listen to the Dawg Gone Podcast I already linked to) so I shouldn't expect much.
Secondly, wow. Director Martin Khodabakhshian talked to some legends. But mainly it was a who's who of hated players, coaches, fans, and personalities. I mean look at this group Bill Curry, Nick Fairley, Charles Barkley, Bo Jackson (he is included in my listing just because people think he is the greatest to ever play college football), then of course dear old Cam, Paul Finebaum, Harvey Updyke, and I am sure a host of other people I am choosing to overlook. All of them were their usual selves, as you can imagine. But dang is Cam cocky and smooth at the same time. No wonder he slipped through the NCAA's hands. The you had Finebaum acting like he had no idea why people acted the way they did on his show. I can definitively say that during the entire hour I had this horrible feeling in my gut.
Thirdly, when talking about the recruitment of Cam, Chizik said that they "sold Auburn to Cam," which I thought to be quite humorous and Freudian slip-esque. Also a caller to Paul pointed out that Auburn always has cheated and always gets away with it. To that I say, I believe that it is a very false claim that caller made. Sometimes Auburn is caught. Clearly not enough though. At this point I will insert another Coach Chizik quote "We do what we do."
The beginning of the film briefly touched on the War Eagle/Tiger conundrum, not that it explained much, and I am still just as confused afterwards about it.
Really it was a poorly done film. Why was so much focus on Harvey Updyke? I mean seriously, he is pretty recent, but still, way to just drive for a completely negative tone for the Bammers. Every few minutes Updyke's bearded face pops up on the screen saying "rtr." He had at least a solid 15 minutes of face-time in that 1 hour documentary. Besides that, they decided to show the worst of the worst fans, and not many of the good. Being a resident of Alabama I have to say that the filmmakers probably didn't do much to improve the state's reputation. Surely more notable alumni from both sides would have been more willing to get in front of a camera and talk about the two teams. And they talked about Toomers for Tide, but Bama fans rallying to support Auburn after the poisoning of Toomers was not even mentioned.
What it did do well though was show the passion and craziness of the SEC. I hope Missouri fans got to watch, to get a glimpse inside the craziness of the SEC, and what they should expect if they don't already know. The Iron Bowl is a great tradition. It gets blood boiling a little too often but in the end, the two sides can come together for the mutual good. The poisoning of Toomer's oaks was a sad day for college football. So was the day of the tornadoes. It was great to see the teams and communities come together. It is one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. People are really passionate about their Iron Bowls. I look forward to attending my first this year.
What this documentary really got me to thinking about though was this weekends 115th match-up of the
Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. It is another rivalry where things have gotten out of hand at times. Yet the ties that bond us together are really innumerable. There is of course the seemingly mirror stories of Pat Dye and Vince Dooley, then of course you have Erk Russell, Will Muschamp, even current coach Rodney Garner. Also I need to point out, did anyone realize current Auburn DC Ted Roof is a Tech man? So the schools have a lot of mutual respect for one another. Going here, I have to say most Auburn people just let it pass that I wear my red and black on campus often. There are stares and some random comments, but most of it is just light-hearted ribbing. A lot of people here are from Georgia and just wanted to leave home or go where their parents went. Countless times I have had to defend why I go to Auburn to my peers, but I understand their confusion. The rivalry is brought to my mind every day though
In 114 years there have been some amazing games, with plenty of upsets by both teams. Recent history has seen a surge by UGA to tie up the rivalry and there have been some great games played. I'll never forget the first Georgia game I went to since 1995 vs Kentucky, it was the 2007 Georgia-Auburn "Blackout." That is a game I know I don't have to go into much detail about, as we have all heard about it, I'll just say it was an incredibly unforgettable experience. Without going to that game, I probably wouldn't have been as ravenous a fan as I an now. Since then, I have been to every single edition of the South's Oldest Rivalry, and enjoyed a 3-0 record going into last year's game. Before the 2010 game, there was no doubt in my mind that it was the greatest rivalry in sports. Maybe it didn't have the hate of the Iron Bowl (there is obviously some among the players), but that's what made it so great. There was no better gameday environment, there was no better mutual respect among fans, and there wasn't a more electric game than Georgia-Auburn. Whether I was at Sanford or Jordan-Hare, I knew there would be a good split of fans from both sides, and a good deal of great tailgating.
Last year's game was a disappointment in every sense of the word. Since last year Auburn fans have randomly vandalized me, thrown trash at me, yelled at me for hours non-stop (this is literal), physically assaulted me. My view on the rivalry has slightly changed because of the 2010. I love to hate them. I love this game. I hate Auburn. I am so pumped for this weekend. There is nothing more that I would love to see than have us clinch the East against the plainsmen. I just can't express my hatred for them enough. I know I will never like them, a sentiment shared by a current Dawg. Both sides are angry, to Auburn fans we are 'thUGA' and a bunch of whiners. Most Georgia fans see Auburn now as a bunch of cheating scum who love a guy who takes cheap-shots and boo injured players.
Nothing would satisfy me more than making it 5 out of 6 and taking the game back to being within 1 of .500. I want to crush Auburn. I want this so bad just so I can go into class Monday with my Georgia shirt on and say nothing, just sit and smile. If we lose I know I am in store for a lot of crap. I just can't wait to win with grace.