Among the character traits that define fans of the Georgia Bulldogs is an inherent aversion to orange, particularly when that atrocious affront to the visual sense is displayed in combination with blue. This year, the Red and Black are scheduled to cross paths with a trio of teams clad in that odious color scheme, and, while it goes without saying that we want the ‘Dawgs to grind all three of them into a fine powder, there is a legitimate debate over which of them we want to see crash and burn more completely over the course of the 2011 campaign.
Here are the arguments for and against each:
Why we should wish them well: Pollsters assume (wrongly) that all BCS conference schedules are equal, or at least equivalent, so they attach disproportionate significance to non-conference schedules. (This is why Auburn was not allowed to lose the national championship game at the end of the 2004 season.) Consequently, a good run by the Broncos after the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic will well serve the Bulldogs’ strength of schedule. In addition, the BSU faithful basically are a good bunch. Yeah, they’re new to big-time trash-talking, but, then, they’re new to the big time, period, so that’s to be understood. A quick trip to One Bronco Nation Under God reveals that they’re reasonable folks with whom one may have a civilized conversation. As we say in these parts, they’re good people. Also, they’re neither Auburn nor Florida, which is a point in anyone’s favor, really.
Why we should wish them ill: Granted, they have reason for confidence, but they don’t have that much reason for confidence. It’s reasonable to believe the Broncos will win on September 3, but the sense of this game as an inevitable coronation---a sense that was very much present prior to (but not after) the 2005 meeting between these two teams, as well, by the way---is getting to be a bit much to take. It ain’t bragging if you can do it, and their confidence may prove to be justified, but, until it does, Boise State is still a team with an 0-4 all-time record against the SEC. If the game is over and the Broncos have won, this will be fair game, but, until then, it’s a little over the top. After all, Georgia should beat Florida this year, but, given the Bulldogs’ marked lack of success against the Gators over the course of the last two decades, you don’t hear us predicting a victory in Jacksonville, even though the Classic City Canines lead the all-time series with the Sunshine State Saurians. Likewise, a little less chest-thumping in the land of the blue turf would seem wise until that particular worm has turned. Oh, and, speaking of the Gators . . .
Why we should wish them well: It reflects favorably on every team in the league when SEC squads do well. Georgia hasn’t benefited from facing relatively weaker Gator clubs in Jacksonville, where the ‘Dawgs fell to Florida in 1992, 2002, 2005, and 2010, despite having no business losing any of those games, so we might as well get the Sunshine State Saurians at their peak. Wouldn’t it be cool to see a repeat of 1985, when Georgia upset the Gators while they were ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history?
Why we should wish them ill: They’re a rival. They’re not just a rival, they’re a division rival, and, with all due respect to the Tennessee Volunteers and the South Carolina Gamecocks, they’ve been the division rival that has done the most damage to the Bulldogs’ prospects for winning the East since the SEC expanded in 1992. They’re the only major rival against whom Mark Richt has a losing record. They were coached by Steve Spurrier, who was the most hated opposing coach of the post-Pat Dye era until they were coached by Urban Meyer, who succeeded the Evil Genius in that role. Now they’re coached by Will Muschamp, a University of Georgia graduate who has done everything in his power to dis his alma mater. Also, they’re the Florida Gators.
Why we should wish them well: See my previous point about how it’s helpful to us for other SEC teams to do well. This is particularly true of teams in the Western Division, since we don’t have to worry about their success derailing our efforts to make it to Atlanta. Also, between the poisoning of the oak trees at Toomer’s Corner, the allegations made in the HBO special, the ongoing NCAA investigation(s), and the record-breaking Fulmer Cup points bonanza, they could use a little sympathy, don’t you think? Yeah, I’ve got nothing here.
Why we should wish them ill: Do you really want to get me started on this? They’re a rival. They’re not just a rival, they’re our oldest rival; in fact, ours is the region’s oldest rivalry. (Don’t listen to those North Carolina parvenus; they can’t count, anyway, although, in that respect, they’re no different from Auburn.) We’ve played Auburn more times than any other opponent. We’ve lost to Auburn more times than any other opponent. They’ve ruined more of our seasons than any other opponent, having provided the lone blemish on otherwise perfect records in 1892, 1942, 1971, and 1983. They’re the biggest cheaters in the SEC, and they resent us for disliking them, no matter how justified our disdain for them is. They think we’re a bunch of sons of bitches, and we know they’re a bunch of sons of bitches. Also, they’re the Auburn Tigers. I hate Auburn. I mean, I know vineyarddawg hates Florida, but I hate Auburn so badly, I lack the capacity to express my hatred adequately in English. Auburna delenda est!
There you have it, folks. Those are the reasons you should wish our orange-and-blue-clad opponents well in every game except the ones they play against the Bulldogs, as well as the reasons you should root for each of them to go 0-12. Where do you fall on this one? Let us know by voting in the poll and explaining your position in the comments below.