The Georgia Gang

The Georgia Gang

Han Vance on Georgia football: ATHENS, Ga., home to the nation’s oldest state chartered public university. The birthplace of not only American public higher education – 1785, Old College, where we tailgate behind and adjacent to, directly in the President’s Garden, with legendary fan/alum Merv Waldrop as our fearless leader – but also of Deep South college football.

The first game in the Deep South was factually not the tough Georgia loss to old Auburn in Atlanta’s Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Piedmont Park on February 20th, 1892, where the legend of the big bird they call War Eagle is mythologized to have flown, with the Aubie fans pointing and proclaiming.

{$34.80 FREE US SHIPPING – legend lives forever (1980, 2017, 2019) commemorate. cultural. cool.}

Georgia had played a football game before that, at historic Herty Field in Athens, edging non-rival Mercer 50-0 before Mercer got their first win, beating Georgia Tech in Tech’s first game. Tough sport. I love Herty Field, even more so enjoy the Garden Club of the state of Georgia, just down campus from there. I love to go out there and sit a spell and write poetry and reflect on my epic life.

{photo: Michael Santini}

Coming in through a familiar side door again, like I sometimes do, I wanted to look at one fabled friend peer group, all from the University of Georgia: Mike Bobo, Kirby Smart, Will Muschamp.

First, let me point out that each is still a work-in-progess and may improve as time wears on, before they wear out. One of the three is at all chill, Mike Bobo, so burnout and health conditions developing for the other two is a very possible endgame and forced exit strategy. Bobo has already been of poor health, and I wish him well. Georgia fans pollyanna so hard for Bobo, because he was the QB who turned it around for Ray Goff to Jim Donnan era struggling, to the point of tears or booze blackouts. He beat Florida…finally. And, the clear offensive coordinator skills of Bobo pushed head coach Mark Richt to near undeniable greatness. Seth Emerson of the Athletic was cogently discussing how the real problem with the Richt era was how rarely the offense and defense were in true top form at the same time. Under Bobo and with Aaron Murray at QB, Georgia had the statistical best offense in school history. The next year, his last in Athens, after Murray matriculated, Bobo beat that mark. The best statistical year in Georgia football history, still, Hutson Mason (of Lassiter High School) was the starting quarterback. The running game was simply amazing, of course. But, still think about that, different QB after Murray had set ALL the major offensive SEC records for a career. They still stand, too. Facts are that Bobo has struggled at Colorado State as a head coach, inheriting a mid-major football program that was in good shape record-wise and not coming close to keeping it up there.

Alabama-born, Georgia-educated Kirby Smart has done well. One or two more steps of personal coaching evolution could equal a third UGA national championship (1980 super legit, 1942 after Aubie beat us sadly split, one-loss Ohio State Suckeyes were widely considered better across the national landscape, skipping a bowl while UGA won the Rose).

Winning multiple championships is not a goal at all, until you get one. Keep that in mind, fans. Nobody gets a statue for coming close, once. He can do it…we hope. I need to see it happen. That’s me.

Here’s my short list of the best SEC coaches with one total national title each: Steve Spurrier (a current Florida consultant), Phil Fulmer (the active, well not physically, AD at UT) and our beloved legend Vince Dooley. Winning as an assistant is I don’t give a crap. Loads of guys.

(Coach and I)

He must interview well, because Will Muschamp has been a pretty bad head football coach and he gets so many big jobs. After growing up mostly in Gainesville, Flor., Muschamp was the type of football-only dork that would hang around the rotunda of the buildings in Athens in all his football gear on a Friday holding court. I was there and this is my personal recall. He was a smart football player. He totally tanked in Florida. Couple years ago, let me call it three now, since the season is all the way on and GEORGIA (5-0, tied for #3 with Ohio State in one poll and alone at #3 in another) is finally a third of the way to another national championship. Three seasons ago, South Carolina was the second best team in the SEC East. Georgia beat them by only 14, in Athens. Last season, the Chickens slipped back to .500, barely made a bowl, then got blown out in it by old Virginia, a basketball school.

South Carolina is 2-3 after five football games. Imagine how bad that sucks, y’all.

I will be selling these in-person on white shirts, and they are available at today, only. I’ll get my guy to pull them down, because soon I won’t have time to mail them out before I leave for Athens.

Ah, Athens…

4th annual ATHENS LEGACY PARTY will be at “That Bar” Nov. 9th.