Saturday night will present the annual grudge match between Georgia and Georgia Tech to be played at 8 p.m. and televised in a split national telecast by ABC television. The other half of the split telecast will be Notre Dame versus Stanford. The proclaimed "split" by ABC will likely be stations in the state of Georgia and a few others in the southeast with the rest of the world getting the Notre Dame game. In other words, if you are a Tech or Georgia fan traveling out of the state this weekend don't be surprised if you can't find the game on television.
I expect things not to be too friendly in the stands at Grant Field. The fans and alumni of these schools merely tolerate each other away from football and despise each other when it comes to football. With the game being at night, many in attendance will have had plenty of time to get gassed to the hilt. Their choice of fuel will obviously contribute to the hostilities.
Georgia Tech experienced a public relations nightmare last week. The NCAA hit them with probation for not adequately monitoring the academic progress of athletes. Part of the punishment was to "vacate" a slew of victories in football, including some bowl wins. Only an organization like the NCAA could declare that a school should pretend some games never even occurred. The ability to rewrite history must be a powerful elixir for those in charge of the NCAA.
Tech graduates have rallied around their academic integrity for years while throwing off on the supposed worthlessness of a UGA diploma. To suddenly find that their athletic department was shortcutting certain rules concerning the classroom was an ironic blow.
To add insult to injury, some numbskull judge ordered Tech defensive back Reuben Houston back on the team. Houston was arrested this summer with some heavy-duty drug charges. Heavy in the fact he was trying to help unload 94 lbs. of marijuana to various.
Inexplicably, Tech coach Chan Gailey put Houston in the game in the 14-10 upset of third-ranked Miami. Houston had practiced only two days after sitting out the season under a suspension. Let it be said that Coach Gailey not only takes a judge's ruling literally, but figuratively as well. It gave him an excuse to play Houston in the game when he could have chosen to leave him on the bench. Many crucified Georgia coach Mark Richt when he reinstated one of his players that spent 20 days in jail for driving with no license. Many with the hammer and nails said such a thing would never happen on North Avenue.
Georgia Tech also has many fans upset that Athletic Director Dave Braine extended Coach Gailey's contract last week. They've been calling for Gailey's job almost from the time he arrived. Maybe that was the impetus for the big win over Miami. Gailey and his players wanted to say, "take that oh ye of little faith."
Wesley and I will go to the game proudly wearing our red and black and be glad that even though the game is at Tech, we will likely be in the majority. Most Georgia fans had to buy tickets through the Georgia Tech ticket office. To get them you also had to buy tickets to the Jackets' games with N.C. State and Wake Forest. The price was $28 each for State and Wake and $50 for the Georgia game. This made for a total of $106.
You can call me crazy for allowing myself to be blackmailed into such a purchase, but I am extremely loyal to my team. I'll admit though, when I couldn't give the other games away, much less sell them, I wasn't pleased. Every so-called Tech fan I offered the tickets to had a wedding or something to attend. Lots of Tech fans must have weddings to attend on Fall Saturdays. When Tech lowered the Wake Forest tickets to $15 three days before the game, needless to say I knew I had been gouged.
All of that aside, the game on the field should be a good one. Georgia, 8-2, will be a slight three point favorite but Tech, 7-3, has their best team since 2001. Tech's tall receiver Calvin Johnson is great with his hands, and not just catching the ball. Regardless of what happens, I'll still wake up Sunday morning a Georgia Bulldog and proud of it.