Bowl season is upon us once again, and with Georgia being out of contention for the big time games, it is time to examine just where the Dawgs might end up. The most likely destinations seem to be the Gator Bowl, in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee. A third option, the Chick-fil-a Bowl in Atlanta, remains as a long shot. Given the uncertaintly which accompanies bowl matchup prognostication, I thought it best to discuss each of these possibilities on their own merit.
Beginning with the most probable scenario, I have fond memories of the Dawgs in the Gator Bowl. Though Georgia plays Florida in Jacksonville every season, the Dawgs haven’t been invited to the bowl game since the tail end of the Vince Dooley era following the 1988 season. That matchup with the Michigan State Spartans was a great one.
Rodney Hampton had a big day, racking up 180 total yards and three touchdowns. Two of Hampton’s tochdowns came on passes from quarterback Wayne Johnson, who wasn’t known for his passing ability. But it took everything the Dawgs’ offense could muster to get the better of the Spartans and wide receiver Andre Rison, who finished the game with nine receptions for 252 yards and three touchdowns.
My most vivid memory of this game is watching it with my grandfather, from whom most of my love for Georgia was passed down. With Rison getting behind our defensive backs time and again, I remember my grandfather’s disgusted expression and slow head shake after each long pass. But in the end, the Dawgs pulled out a 34-27 win.
The next most likely option, the Music City Bowl, has hosted Georgia only once, and with forgettable results. In a game I’d just as soon forget, Boston College beat the Dawgs 20-16. Georgia turned the bowl over four times, committed nine penalties, and inexplicably punted from their own forty-three yard line with 1:32 left to play. Verron Haynes rushed for 132 yards, but William Green was even better, rushing for 149 yards to lead the Eagles to the win.
Finally, the Chick-fil-A Bowl has been Georgia’s postseason destination several times; mostly when it was called the Peach Bowl. The Dawgs’ most recent appearance came following the 2006 season. Georgia trailed Virginia Tech 21-3 at the half, but intercepted Hokie quarterback Sean Glennon three times during a 28-0 run in the second half. In a game in which the two teams combined for less than 400 yards of offense, Linebacker Tony Taylor was named MVP after finishing with nine tackles and two interceptions.
Of the three possibilities, the Chick-fil-A Bowl is probably the most prestigious. Most predictions have Clemson as the ACC representative, and the bowl is unlikely to match two teams which have already played this season. The Music City Bowl, which is, to me, the least desireable, also matches SEC and ACC. Most predictions I’ve seen have Georgia Tech as the ACC representative. Again, a rematch is unlikely.
That leaves the Gator Bowl. Most sources are predicting Michigan as the Big 10 representative, with Iowa as another possibility. A Georgia-Michigan matchup would be intriguing, as these two teams haven’t met in many, many years. I’d love to see this matchup.
Wherever the Bulldogs end up, the extra practices can only benefit Hutson Mason and the young defense. Hopefully Georgia can pick up a win and build momentum for next season. Go Dawgs!