Domination of 4 Traditional Rivals A Cornerstone
HAN VANCE ON GEORGIA FOOTBALL: Four…and one, Georgia ~ the SEC East back-to-back (undefeated in-division) champions out of Athens, Ga., are in control in series short trends within the rivalries, with each of their primary four rival schools: Florida, Tech, Auburn and Tennessee.
The world’s largest outdoor cocktail party is waged at the site of the old Gator Bowl in JAX, where UGA has rode through and twice trounced the (once-)Mighty Gators under alumni Kirby Smart. After a rough go of it in year one of his regime, where he lost to Tennessee, he lost Florida, he lost to Tech, Coach Smart has rebounded in an astounding way in reversing that trend.
The Dawgs are running roughshod on the competition in back-to-back 11-1 regular season campaigns, with postseason improvement needed. In the division and in the state of Georgia, in the ones that have mattered most category, which is rivalries in the Deep South, Kirby is hot.
Orange: Two years ago Georgia went to Rocky Top and decimated them, went to Florida and decimated them. Last year, steady home beating of a game but young Tennessee and then a pull away from an improving (10-win) Florida. Big game this year is not until November 2nd.
…Auburn, no problem last year in the Classic City but prior we got them twice in a year, the beating at the Plains and the glorious SEC title rematch in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. So, we’re actually 2-1 with them in just two years. That’s 5-1 total versus rival orange teams. Huge!
Tech continued to win in Athens that first year then were severely outmatched by Georgia once Kirby turned the corner. First, a blowout in the glory-filled 2017 SEC championship season. Then, this last year though, y’all, Georgia hit their total number from the year prior by halftime. Georgia blew Tech out so badly last annum. I expect that series to get more competitive.
8-1, in nine total of these key regional contests, over two seasons. Go Dawgs!!!
0-2 vs Bama, sure and remarkably poor against the non-Auburn-played-in-the-state-of-Georgia games against the SEC West, as a whole. That’s an area of improvement needed. Georgia has also been blown out in each of Kirby’s three games played at SEC West schools in his career so far, goes at Auburn this year.
Georgia has emerged as a legit rival to Bama in the SEC, and nationally, and the Bulldogs have yet to crack through with a win, playing them close twice in games in Atlanta that were off-the-charts eerily similar. The University of Georgia has a rivalry with the University of Alabama for the first time since I’ve attended UGA in 1990 (most of the 1990s, actually).
Trust me when I tell you that owning the rivals like that, all of them at once, has historically been really hard to accomplish at Georgia. If Kirby can take the momentum from dominating his rivalries of late and parlay that into overall program success, at the highest levels, beyond any one year, that will be his legacy at Georgia beginning to unfold in such a magical way, for the long-suffering fans.