I congratulate the Auburn Tigers on their victory in a back-and-forth game that was much closer than the score indicated. As with the Georgia Bulldogs' loss to the Florida Gators, it was a great game to watch if you weren't emotionally invested in the result. I am proud of the Red and Black for going on the road and playing toe-to-toe with the best team in college football, which is led by the best player in college football.
Last spring, David Hale asked, "[W]ill you stick by Richt if Georgia finishes 8-5 again this year, but does it with a more fundamentally sound D, a better approach to kickoffs and a duo at tailback that understands how to play the position?" At the time, I rejected the premise, writing: "I don’t believe a more fundamentally sound defense, a better approach to kickoffs, and an effective tailback tandem can fail to produce a record better than last year’s."
I was wrong. The 2010 Georgia squad will finish with the worst record of the Mark Richt era, but it is a much better team than the 2006, 2008, or 2009 editions of the Red and Black, which bodes well for the future. Some frustrated Georgia fans take the view that, although Coach Richt is entitled to one more year, he needs to prove himself in 2011 by winning at least ten games. Regardless of whether you agree with that position, I believe the play of this team down the stretch indicates that such a special season next year is very much in the cards, and I, for one, am excited about the Bulldogs' prospects. Right now, I feel about as good as it is possible to feel in the wake of a loss to a despised rival.
Regarding the "despised rival" part, I often am I asked why I hate Auburn so much. No one who watched the last five minutes of this football game needs to wonder why I feel the way I do about the Bulldogs' oldest rival, but, just in case it wasn't clear, let me spell it out for you: Auburn is dirty.
Auburn is the dirtiest program in SEC history, which is saying something. Shug Jordan, one of the namesakes of Auburn's stadium, got the Tigers put on probation. Pat Dye, the namesake of Auburn's football field, got the Tigers put on probation. Terry Bowden was on tape discussing Auburn's dishonest recruiting practices. The Tigers were the kings of the chop block under Tommy Tuberville. Auburn put its university accreditation in jeopardy in a sleazy attempt to replace a coach who had not been fired. Bobby Lowder, when not causing his bank to fail, has been one of college football's most embarrassingly involved big-money boosters. Now, to top it all off, we have the inaccurately-named Nick Fairley spending the entire game delivering cheap-shot late hits to Aaron Murray, and, when the Georgia offensive line decides to exact a little---a very little---retribution for his dirty play, the Tigers respond by earning a pair of ejections for fisticuffs.
Some will say this is sour grapes. It's not; the Tigers were the better team today, and they won this game on the field. (Whether the NCAA will allow them to keep that win in the record book remains to be seen.) The Plainsmen's late-game extracurriculars, though, serve as a reminder of the truth of all the criticisms of Auburn I have offered over the years, so, when you see the words "I hate Auburn" appear here, you should understand that I mean them, and that I have valid reasons for the sincerity of the sentiment.
There are plenty of good Auburn people out there; some of them frequent this site, and many of them may be found at our SB Nation sister site, Track 'em Tigers. A few good apples can't redeem a rotten bunch, though, and, when an Auburn man calls a Georgia man a son of a bitch, he would do well to remember that it takes one to know one.