I'm trying to gin up some hatred for Georgia, but I just can't do it. We may play in the same conference, but we're barely acquaintances. We hang out in the same social circles and all, and we've thrown a few pretty good games against one another, but this is not a heated and passionate rivalry by any stretch of the imagination.
Besides, I like UGA. Their mascot is cute and once attacked an Auburn player. Dawgsports is a great blog which I read every day despite not following UGA sports (we lawyers have to stick together, so I support T Kyle King's writings). They've got a cool logo. I like Athens. It's a pretty town and they've got a kick ass music scene. In fact, the greatest rock band currently working hails from Athens - the Drive-by Truckers. It pertains to nothing, but listen to this:
How can I hate that?
LSU and UGA have played 28 times in their history. The only team in the conference we've played less in South Carolina (18 times), and they weren't even in the conference until 1992. OK, we've also played Vandy 28 times, but I don't get worked up to play them either. In fact, from 1954 to 1977 LSU did not play Georgia one time. That's 33 years without a single meeting of two teams in the same conference.
When we're good, they're good. When we suck, they suck.
I have no rational reason for why this has occurred, but LSU and UGA seem to be on the same roller coaster since the late 80s. Don't believe me?
Before the Hallman Era, LSU's last SEC title was 1988. UGA actually had a better record that year, at 9-3, closing out the Vince Dooley Era. Both teams would then enter into their dark times. Neither of us like to talk about it, but the early 90s were largely a wasteland for both programs. Then came a false spirng, strangely in the same year, 1997. Dinardo brought us to 9-3, on the heels of a 10-2 year. Donnan brought UGA to 10-2, following it up with a 9-3 year. Neither coach could build on that success, though LSU flamed out far worse.
UGA brought on Richt in 2001, LSU hired Saban in 2000. Both teams returned to the SEC elite. LSU won a conference title in 2001, UGA won in 2002. The 2003-2005 games were matchups of the new powers of East and West, knocking Florida and Bama off their perches.
Then, both teams slumped again. LSU went 8-8 in conference from 2008-2009. UGA struggled through 2009-2010. Now, both teams won their divisions and are squaring off for the title. It is a strange phenomenon of the modern SEC: LSU and UGA must be good at the same time.
So I welcome the Dawgs. Playing UGA in the SEC title game means we are both ascendant again, and that's good news round these parts. In the SEC wars, UGA is not exactly an ally, but they aren't an enemy either.
Forget Hate Week. Let's party.