UGA Dawgs Country

My city divided in fractions with factions of fans, but the state is solidly ours. GEORGIA Football is still the most popular sporting enterprise in the largest state east of the Mississippi River.

The Atlanta Braves, a Southern regional favorite and the only close competition for the title of top draw in the great state of Georgia, have been packing it in as they prepare to depart south of downtown Atlanta for an evolved and evolving commercial area south of my former hometown of Marietta. It’s not like the 49ers moving way way south of The City, so far south that calling themselves “San Francisco” is a preposterous joke. The Braves will play barely across the edge of the ATL city limits (which is right at the river on that side). They peaked (1995) twenty years ago and have seen a massive sag in popularity since they started failing to win pennants. While I expect a one-year surge in popularity when the new park opens, the franchise will then depend on wins to draw attendance. I like pro teams playing in urban centers, but the lack of train transit to the Ted is one reason I won’t miss the Braves in the city.

Storied UGA has the Classic City and history on its side. Through the 25-year Vince Dooley era, Georgia won SEC championships six (of the school’s total 12) times. Add in Richt’s now decade-old two titles during his 15-year tenure and UGA is one back of second place Tennessee (Bama has 22). Little old Georgia Tech has 5 SEC crowns, and no “expansion team” (Arkansas, S. Carolina, Missouri, Texas A&M) has any.

We need to get Florida more than Richt’s 1-of-3 average and we desperately need to win the league again to become nationally relevant. But we run this state.

I thought it was funny when Georgia Southern had Tech on the ropes last year and then beat Florida. It’s less funny now that we are facing them with our subpar offense. Richt simply may not survive a loss to these upstarts in big football with a long winning tradition at smaller ball.

Win and it will be good practice for a Tech team running the same offensive scheme. Lose and it may be all over. Richt sailing away with the remnants of the recruited Dream Team, expectations unrealized. That’d be a sad story, my friends.

See you in Athens.