Heading to the Orange Bowl?

If you are traveling to South Florida for the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31, you might be interested in activities to fill your time (and your stomach) in the days leading up to the game. We connected with Akil A. Kalathil (BS ’14), a graduate student at the Miller School of Medicine (Dhar Lab) at the University of Miami to gather a few tips for Bulldog fans of all ages.

Activities

Bars/Restaurants

Miami Beach

Wynwood

Brickell / Downtown

Former Bulldog representing red and black at Orange Bowl

This story was written by Heather Skyler and originally ran on UGA Today on December 21, 2021.

Anne Noland (ABJ ’15) works as senior director of football communications for the Miami Dolphins, but when she enters her workplace–Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida–on Dec. 31, it will be as a fan of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Noland graduated from UGA in 2015 with a degree from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and has already risen to the top of her field, becoming the third woman in the National Football League to lead a public relations department.

At Noland’s small private high school in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, students were required to be involved in sports or after school activities year-round, and since she didn’t have a fall sport (she ran track in the spring) her mother encouraged her to ask the football coach about helping with the team.

The coach said he needed someone to keep stats and Noland was in. “He handed me a pencil and pad and said to bring my own calculator,” she recalled. “There were computers available then, but that’s how we did it at the time. I crunched the numbers myself, then every Friday night I’d call the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and provide them with the final score and any other stats they wanted.”

She already knew quite a bit about the game from watching the Bulldogs with her family and learning more about football’s intricacies and plays from her father, but in her position keeping stats, she really fell in love with the whole environment. “I was a ballet dancer and I dabbled in other sports,” she said, “but I was never really a team sports player and that was my first experience of it.”

During Noland’s junior year, her father died of cancer, and although she didn’t tell any of the players about it, the entire football team along with their families showed up at the funeral to support her. “That’s the moment I knew that, moving forward, I always wanted to be part of a team,” she said.

NFL and UGA connections

Since graduating from UGA, Noland’s job has overlapped a few times with her alma mater. Prior to her position with the Dolphins, Noland worked for the Patriots when the team included former UGA players Malcolm Mitchell (AB ’15), David Andrews (M ’15), Isaiah Wynn (BSFCS ’18) and Sony Michel (M ’18), among others.

“To work with them at the NFL level and win a Super Bowl with those guys was really cool,” she said.

In February 2019, while working for the Patriots during Superbowl LIII in Atlanta, students from Grady were in attendance and Noland got to talk to them about her job.

Despite still being fairly new to the world of professional football, Noland has already faced her share of challenges, including the effects of COVID-19 on professional sports and the changing news cycle, which has evolved into a 24-hour, non-stop cycle in recent years due to the evolution of social media, in particular.

“Before, when someone was going to break a story, they would call you first to let you know and get more context, etc. Now because of Twitter, one source can give someone information and they just go with it.”

But she loves her job and tries not to ever forget the excitement and awe she experienced in her early years working with the Dawgs and Grady at UGA.

“Earlier this season I received a Facebook memory from 10 years ago on that day. It was a photo of my first UGA football game credential from the press box. I remember how excited I was about that. And now that’s second nature,” she said.

Noland chose UGA, in part, because it has elite athletic and academic programs, and she said she learned so much from so many but recalled Senior Associate Athletic Director of Sports Communications Claude Felton (ABJ ’70, MA ’71) in particular. “He was pivotal to my life and career and taught me so much. The more I work in this business, the more amazed I am by how he treats everyone. He’s never too busy for anyone.”

“Athens and UGA are special places,” she added. “I think it’s a community of people who love the university and are proud to be there. When you have that kind of a shared pride it creates a very special environment.”

The Jerry Tanner Show – Orange Bowl: Michigan

Michigan beat Georgia in ’57, UGA evened the score in ’65, and 56 years later, we have the rubber match. Oh, and the winner goes to the natty. NBD.

Show off your Bulldog spirit and your hometown pride with a UGA state decal! Represent the Dawgs and your state of choice (or D.C.) on your car, laptop, water bottle, or whatever. Plus, each decal purchase includes a $5 donation to support UGA students. Get yours today at alumni.uga.edu/statedecals.

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

History of the Championship: Georgia

December 4, 2021 is the date of the 30th SEC Championship Game, which may come as a surprise to some fans of the 89-year-old conference.

In 1992, with the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina, the SEC took advantage of an NCAA rule that allowed conferences with 12 members or more to organize into divisions and hold a championship game at the end of the regular season, thereby circumventing NCAA limits on the number of games a team could play in a season. The SEC became the first NCAA conference—in any division—to hold a football championship game.

The University of Georgia has been involved in eight SEC Championship Games, and while some have been ecstatic victories and some have been crushing defeats, they were all memorable in their own way.

Back in the game (for the first time)

On Nov. 16, 2002, at around 6 p.m. in Auburn, Alabama, Michael Johnson reached up and pulled UGA out of a 20-year drought.

Of course, neither he—nor anyone else—could know that at the time, but the energy that had built up over Mark Richt’s second season at UGA made believers out of many long-suffering Bulldog fans. With that heart-stopping, fourth-down connection against Auburn, the Bulldogs closed out their SEC slate with only one loss, good enough to finish first in the East and earn the Dawgs’ first-ever trip to the SEC Championship Game.

The situation in the SEC West was much murkier. Alabama finished with the best record, but they were forbidden from postseason play due to NCAA probation. Behind them was a three-way tie for second between LSU, Auburn and Arkansas. The Razorbacks had head-to-head wins over the others, so they became the West’s representative in Atlanta.

And representing the West was about all they did in that game. UGA came out guns-blazing, scoring 17 points before Arkansas even gained a yard of offense, and took a 23-0 lead into halftime.

One final UGA touchdown and an Arkansas field goal later, the game ended 30-3 Georgia. The dominant win would earn the Bulldogs a trip to the Sugar Bowl—a game they would win 26-13 over Florida State—and their first SEC championship in 20 years.

A dish best served cold

In the days before the 2005 SEC Championship Game, the narrative was “revenge.”

For UGA, this was a chance at payback for 2003, when the Nick Saban-led LSU Tigers beat the Dawgs twice in one season: by a respectable 7-point margin in the regular season, and by an embarrassing 21-point margin in the conference title game. The Bulldogs had enjoyed some small amount of vengeance in 2004, but the bitter taste of that 2003 SEC Championship Game remained.

For LSU, they could avenge that 45-16 beatdown in Athens from 2004. And getting revenge would be doubly important because, in 2005, LSU was breaking in first-year head coach Les Miles following Saban’s departure for the NFL. They needed to prove that their winning ways didn’t leave with him.

Both teams earned their spot in the title match. LSU claimed victory against Arizona State, Florida, Auburn and Alabama, none of which ranked lower than no. 16. Georgia had wins against ranked Boise State, Tennessee and Georgia Tech teams, but their losses to Florida and Auburn meant that LSU would be the favorite to win the conference.

But the Dawgs had D.J. Shockley, and LSU did not.

Shockley would be named the MVP of the game—and justifiably so—but this was a team effort. Two timely interceptions—one midway through the first quarter, another at the start of the fourth quarter that turned into a pick-6—shut down LSU drives, and a blocked punt in the second quarter gave UGA a short field that Shockley took advantage of.

By the final whistle, Georgia had its revenge: a 34-14 win and the Bulldogs’ second SEC title in 4 years.

Five yards from glory

The 2012 SEC Championship Game was a titanic struggle full of drama and laden with national championship implications, presaging today’s UGA-Alabama rivalry for reasons both wonderful and terrible.

A scoreless first quarter suggested this might be a defensive affair. But the game began in earnest with the first snap of the second quarter.

UGA flailed against Kirby Smart’s defense for the remainder of the half, and with two minutes left before halftime, Alabama running back Eddie Lacy broke away for a 41-yard touchdown run to even the score at 7. Georgia QB Aaron Murray was intercepted deep in Alabama territory on the next drive, and Bama was able to take the lead with a field goal as the half ended.

The third quarter, however, belonged to the Bulldogs. Todd Gurley scored 3 minutes into the second half, and roughly six minutes later, Alec Ogletree turned the Georgia Dome upside-down.

Georgia now led by 11, but Alabama answered with a T.J. Yeldon touchdown and two-point conversion just minutes later, and Eddie Lacy started the fourth quarter with a touchdown that gave Alabama the lead once again: 25-21.

Two minutes later, Gurley took it back.

UGA held this lead, 28-25, until 3:15 in the fourth, when Amari Cooper broke loose on what is likely an eerily familiar play for Georgia fans. The long touchdown gave Alabama a four-point edge with just minutes left in the game.

On the following Bulldog drive, Alabama stymied the Georgia offense and forced a punt with two minutes to go. The Dawgs’ defense returned the favor, keeping the Tide from moving the ball and using all their timeouts to preserve the clock. After receiving the subsequent Alabama punt, UGA had one last chance with about a minute left from their own 15.

Backed by the sound of Bulldog Nation’s gnashing teeth and murmured prayers, the Dawgs began their million-mile march to victory. Murray and his offense escaped catastrophe, soared through the air, raced for the sidelines, and stared in the face of certain doom all the way down to the Alabama 8-yard line.

After this last first down, Murray looks to the sidelines and motions for a spike, to stop the clock and give the offense time to regroup. But the offense races ahead of him, setting up for the next play. We can only assume the coaches saw something they liked in Alabama’s on-field personnel, or perhaps they thought they could catch the Tide off-guard.

Ten seconds. The ball is snapped.

Eight seconds. Murray throws to his right, where Chris Conley is running a 3-yard out route and Malcolm Mitchell is headed for the end zone. An Alabama defender leaps forward and his hand collides with the ball. It takes a dramatic vertical arc.

Seven seconds. Chris Conley turns to see a ball headed in his direction. His reaction reads as surprise. Somewhere in his thinking, he likely knows the clock is moving, that he is too far from the sideline, and that he is not in the endzone. But for his entire life he’s trained to be a receiver: someone who catches the ball. So, with a ball heading his way, five yards from winning a conference championship, he does what he has trained to do.

Six seconds. Conley hits the ground, two yards from the sideline, five yards from the goal line. The clock keeps moving.

Three seconds. Conley climbs to one knee. Everything is moving too fast.

Five weeks from now, Alabama will go to Miami and destroy the Fighting Irish. They will easily claim Nick Saban’s third national championship at Alabama. And every Georgia fan watching will know, deeply and without reservation, that had the Dawgs been there, they would’ve done the same.

But right now, there are three seconds left. Not enough time to win, but more than enough time to think about how close you were.

Georgia fans would spend five years in those final seconds. The 2013-2015 seasons would be marked by an inability to win “the big game” and return UGA to championship contention, and those years would become the conclusion of the Mark Richt era. It was not the ending fans would’ve wanted for the coach who pulled them out of the morass and into national prominence, but it did lead to the hiring of another coach—ironically, one who was partially responsible for 2012’s tragic finish—who would lift the Dawgs to new heights.

As time has passed, the pain of 2012 has dulled and the vast majority of Bulldog Nation is able to appreciate the full scope of Richt’s tenure, all its triumphs and tragedies. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we’ve been able to make some new, better memories in the championship game.

This Saturday, Georgia will face a familiar foe for the Dawgs’ ninth SEC Championship Game. Our history with the Tide is what it is, but more than anything, it is just that: history.

On December 4, 2021, a Bulldog team that is undefeated in SEC play for the first time in 39 years, 12-0 for the first time since 1980 and boasting one of the best defenses in school history will take the field in Mercedes-Benz Stadium for their first-ever game against an Alabama team that went to the wire against Florida, Arkansas and Auburn.

It’s time to write some history.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 12, 2021: Georgia Tech

UGA is 8-2 against Tech since 2010. 16-4 since 2000. 23-7 since 1990. 30-10 since 1980. Should I keep going? I could definitely keep going.

Hairy Dawg has a special Thanksgiving message for supporters of UGA! See what Hairy’s cooking up at alumni.uga.edu/thanksgiving.

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

How to watch the 2021 SEC Championship: Georgia vs. Alabama

On Saturday, Dec. 4, all eyes will be on Georgia and Alabama as they tee it up in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the 2021 Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

This will be the first time that the Bulldog Nation and the Crimson Tide have met in the SEC title game since the 2018 Championship, when the Alabama won 35-28. This time, Georgia enters the arena with a No. 1 ranking that it’s held for more than a month. Alabama enters at No. 3.

As the 4 p.m. EST kickoff approaches, make sure you know how you’re watching the game, Dawg fans.

If you’re watching on TV:

Tune into CBS to watch the game. If your cable or satellite package includes the SEC Network, you can find the championship there, too. Use the SEC’s channel finder to determine availability.

If you’re streaming:

Stream on CBSSports.com or on the CBS Sports App.

If you’re listening:

You can listen online with the SEC Sports online audio player, with georgiadogs.com or with The Varsity Network’s app.

Attend an official UGA game-watching party

No matter where you are, Bulldogs never bark alone. Find an alumni game-watching party and share the fun on social media using #AlwaysADawg.

 

History of the Rivalry: Georgia Tech

“The Red River Showdown,” “The Game,” “The Iron Bowl:” these are the kind of titles given to historic college football rivalries. They embody the region the teams share, the historically high stakes of the match, or a unique characteristic of the rivalry.

If the UGA-Georgia Tech rivalry fits into any of those categories, it might be the last one. Because the “Clean Old-Fashioned Hate” these two teams and their fanbases have for one another, stretching back even before they played one game of football, is unique indeed.

Throwing rocks and stealing girlfriends

Before Georgia Tech even had a football team, they hated Georgia. The two schools had met several times on the baseball diamond and established their rivalry prior to 1891, but tensions began to escalate that year. Students from Auburn and UGA were set to play a game of football in Athens, and some Auburn students invited Georgia Tech students to come root for Auburn. Tech students happily accepted, devised some Tech-specific cheers on the way to the game, and dotted the stands with old gold and white, cheering not necessarily for an Auburn win but certainly for a Georgia loss.

Two years later, Tech had their football team, then known as the Blacksmiths, and they had a game set up with the Bulldogs. Among the Tech team’s preparations were coaxing, cajoling or otherwise swaying a number of students from a nearby all-girls school to wear old gold and white to the Georgia game at Herty Field. When these women, some of whom were current or former romantic interests of UGA football players, showed up to the game in Tech colors, the stage was set for a dramatic contest.

When all was said and done, Tech won 28-6 and Georgia fans showed their dissatisfaction by chasing the Tech team back to the train station with rocks, knives, whatever they could get their hands on. The next day, an Athens journalist accused Georgia Tech in the Atlanta Journal of liberally mixing in professionals with their students on the team.

It’s a romantic origin for this rivalry, but it’s hard to know how much of it is actually true. Sources differ on essentially every point of the preceding stories. But whether or not the Tech team sweet-talked the students at Lucy Cobb and whether or not Tech students went to a Georgia game just to boo the Dawgs, the powerful distaste underneath these stories is undeniably true and deep-rooted. There’s a reason not one but two cherished Tech fight songs include lines like “to hell with Georgia” and “drop the battle-axe on Georgia’s head.”

It runs deep

The depth of the enmity between Georgia and Georgia Tech can often be found in the unique ways the teams and their fanbases antagonize one another. Here are a just a few of the ways this disdain has been expressed.

  • During World War I, UGA, like many schools, lost a majority of their able-bodied male students to military service, forcing them to suspend their football program. Georgia Tech, however, was a military training ground, so, with no lack of athletes, they carried on playing football during the war. When Georgia revived football in 1919, the students held a parade to celebrate, and a pair of floats created a scandal: one was shaped like a tank, with a banner that read, “UGA in Argonne;” the other was a donkey dressed in yellow with a banner that read, “Tech in Atlanta.” Georgia Tech was furious and severed athletic ties with UGA, resulting in, among other things, no regular season play between the teams until 1925.

 

  • Georgia and Georgia Tech were among the 13 charter members of the Southeastern Conference at its creation in 1932, but in 1964, Tech exited the conference following a feud between GT coach Bobby Dodd and Alabama coach Bear Bryant over scholarships and student-athlete treatment. Eleven years later, Tech mounted a campaign to return to the SEC. This required a vote by conference members, and that vote failed. Legend has it that one school in particular marshaled the “no” votes that blocked Tech’s re-entry. You get one guess as to who that was.

 

  • Legends of thievery abound on both sides of the rivalry. Tech fans claim that Dawg people are responsible for two incidents where their Ramblin’ Wreck was stolen. Georgia fans say that Yellow Jackets have stolen the Chapel Bell before. And there’s strong evidence to suspect that Georgia Tech students were behind the theft—and subsequent scavenger hunt to recover—the bulldog statue in front of Memorial Hall.

What Dooley started, Richt perfected

From 1893 to 1963, the series was fairly level: 27 Tech wins, 26 Georgia wins and five ties. However, the Yellow Jackets owned the mid-century era thanks in part to their hall-of-fame head coach Bobby Dodd. From ’43 to ’63, Tech had 14 wins to Georgia’s seven, which included an eight-game winning streak for GT that still stands as the longest win streak in the series.

But following the 1963 season, which saw the Bulldogs go 4-5-1 with losses to Alabama, Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech, UGA made a change at head coach, releasing Johnny Griffith and hiring Auburn assistant coach Vince Dooley. The turnaround was nearly instantaneous. After losing three in a row, the Bulldogs rattled off five consecutive wins over the Yellow Jackets. And Dooley’s dominance wouldn’t fade: he would build a 19-6 record against Tech over the course of his legendary career.

Even in the Ray Goff and Jim Donnan eras, Georgia held an advantage in the rivalry, winning seven of the 12 games played. Still, Tech won a national championship in 1990—Goff’s second year—and Tech won three consecutive games in Donnan’s final years, perhaps leading some Yellow Jackets fans to think they had turned a corner.

Then Mark Richt came to Athens in 2001 and spent 15 years owning this rivalry in a way few coaches have ever owned a Division I football rivalry.

Richt’s 86.67% winning percentage in the series (13-2) became not just the best among Georgia coaches, but the best of any coach who coached five or more UGA-GT games. In fact, if you look at the record of every coach who spent five or more years involved with the historic rivalries mentioned at the beginning of this article—Oklahoma-Texas, Michigan-Ohio State, and Alabama-Auburn—Richt’s win percentage against Georgia Tech is eclipsed by only Ohio State’s Jim Tressel, who went 9-1 against Michigan.

What had been a one-game lead for Tech in this series when Vince Dooley set up shop in Athens became a 25-game lead for the Dawgs by the time Mark Richt departed.

Kirby Smart has only strengthened UGA’s stranglehold on this series by going 3-1 since his arrival, including three consecutive, dominant victories. And while Tech’s fortunes haven’t improved in the past few years and Georgia appears poised to grow their series lead for years to come, it remains vital that the Dawgs not take the Yellow Jackets likely.

Why? Ask any Bulldog who was around in the ’50s or who lived through Tech’s national championship or who was in the stands for GT’s 2008 win. Georgia Tech fans would love nothing more than to go 1-11 if that one win meant they could spend 365 days lording it over the Dawgs.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 11, 2021: Charleston Southern

Charleston Southern is 4-5 heading into a game with an historic UGA team. So, I hope everybody just has a fun time exercising outside.

The 2022 Bulldog 100 is here! Find out who made the list of the 100 fastest growing Bulldog-owned or -operated businesses at alumni.uga.edu/b100.

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 10, 2021: Tennessee

Tennessee football has been on a run of bad coaches since 2009, but maybe this new one is different! He seems like he knows how to properly wear a gaiter, so that’s already an improvement.

UGA Alumni wants to know what you’re up to, and they want to let you know what UGA is up to! Stay in touch with your alma mater by updating your info at alumni.uga.edu/update.

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

History of the Rivalry: Tennessee

Larry Munson is one of the all-time greats in college football commentating, and his legendary career covering the Georgia Bulldogs—from 1966 to 2008—made him as central to UGA’s football history as Vince Dooley. Munson’s highlight reel spans decades and includes dozens of teams, but two of his most legendary calls signaled the start of new eras of Georgia football. And they came against the same opponent: Tennessee.

Munson’s calls made those games legendary, but even without a freshman “running over people” or a “hobnail boot,” games in the Georgia-Tennessee series were destined to have iconic moments. After all, we’re talking about the second and third winningest football programs in SEC history.

A Coronation in Knoxville

Perhaps the strangest thing about this rivalry is that, despite having played each other since 1899, despite being founding members of the Southeastern Conference and despite the schools’ campuses being separated by less than 150 miles, the Dawgs and the Vols have only met 50 times. Compare that to Georgia and Auburn, who started playing each other in 1892, but have met 126 times.

By 1980, the Bulldogs and Volunteers had only met 17 times, with Tennessee holding a one-game lead in the rivalry: 8-7-2. Georgia went to Knoxville to open the 1980 season, and the hopes they had to tie the series faded quickly. The Dawgs found themselves down 9-0 quickly, and their offense couldn’t sustain a drive. Vince Dooley knew his team of upperclassmen was strong at a number of positions, but tailback wasn’t one of them, and the early results here had proven that. So, he made a change.

The impact of that decision wouldn’t become clear until the second half, when Tennessee extended their lead to 15. No one knew it then, but that was the end of their scoring, and the beginning of Georgia’s season. Freshman Herschel Walker, who had spent the second quarter feeling out the defense and getting up to game speed, broke out in the second half and announced himself to the world with the Bulldogs’ first touchdown of 1980, immortalized by Larry Munson.

A safety and another Herschel touchdown later, UGA stunned the Knoxville crowd, pulled even in the series with the Vols and began their march to a national championship.

11 years, 11 points and a lot of praying

In 2000, Jim Donnan was in his fifth season as UGA head coach and in the proverbial hot seat. At most schools, a record of 32-15 doesn’t put you in trouble. But at Georgia, when that 32-15 contains a 5-11 record against Florida, Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia Tech, your record against everybody else means a lot less. Nevertheless, UGA started the 2000 season with a 3-1 record heading into a home game against Tennessee, who owned a nine-game winning streak over the Dawgs.

Tennessee was 2-2, with losses to no. 6 Florida and an unranked LSU team. This was out of character for the Vols, who were just two years removed from a national championship, and their ranking tumbled to 21. Still, they had no fear of the no. 19 Bulldogs. After spending nearly every year of the 90s beating Georgia, why would they?

They found the why by halftime, when Georgia took a 7-3 lead into the locker room thanks to a stifling defense. After the half, Tennessee scored to take the lead, 10-7. But Georgia answered with a Jasper Sanks rushing TD, then ended the discussion in the fourth quarter with a Musa Smith touchdown and Tim Wansley’s second interception of the day with less than two minutes remaining.

The feeling of impending victory over the Vols, foreign to Bulldog fans for over a decade, was too much for many in attendance. The raucous crowd began to spill onto the field after the game-sealing interception, and play had to be halted until the crowd could be removed.  Security kept the fans under control until the final whistle.

It was dramatic, it ended Tennessee’s dominance over UGA and it marked the only time the goal posts were torn down in Sanford Stadium’s history. But many may not remember this game, because by season’s end, there was much more this game did NOT do than what it did do. It did not spark a magical season for the Dawgs. It did not save Jim Donnan’s job. It did not herald the arrival of a new era.

Bulldog fans would have to wait a year for that.

“Another Hobnail Boot?”

Richt’s tenure at Georgia wouldn’t be quite as dominant as the Tennessee streak that preceded him, but he certainly leveled out the rivalry before his 2015 departure: Richt went 10-5 against the Vols from 2001 – 2015, bringing the all-time series record to 21 Georgia wins, 22 Tennessee wins, and 2 ties.

When Kirby Smart arrived in Athens, Knoxville had been in disarray for some time. Lane Kiffin’s ignominious midnight exit, Derek Dooley’s poor results and Butch Jones’ big game struggles all kept the Vols from coming close to their former glory. But in 2016, Tennessee was fresh off a bowl win over the no. 12 Northwestern Wildcats, they had brought in a top-20 recruiting class, and it looked as if they might finally be pulling things together.

They were 4-0 coming into a week 5 game in Athens, including a win over no. 19 Florida the week before. Georgia was 3-1 and had just been blown out by Ole Miss, a loss that nearly saw them fall from the top 25.

Smart had prepared his team well, taking a 17-7 lead into halftime. But in the second half, the Volunteers outscored the Dawgs 21-7. After multiple miscues, Georgia finally managed to string together a drive as the final minute wound down, and with 10 seconds left, down 28-24, Jacob Eason found Riley Ridley for a 47-yard touchdown pass that gave the Bulldogs the lead.

A short kickoff was returned by Tennessee to midfield, and with four seconds left, the Vols turned a heart-stopping Georgia win into a heartbreaking loss.

This one stung for Georgia fans, and it stung even more when Tennessee rattled off three consecutive losses after this: no. 8 Texas A&M, no. 1 Alabama, and unranked South Carolina, who Georgia would beat in week 6.

That sting lasted exactly one year. Because in 2017 and every year since, the Bulldogs have beaten the Volunteers by no fewer than 23 points. This is the most dominant stretch of games in the history of this rivalry, which now stands at 25-23-2 in the Bulldogs’ favor.

So, if we understand a “Hobnail Boot” play to be one that signifies a dramatic, come-from-behind game-winner that ushers in a changing of the guard, then when Gary Danielson called Tennessee’s 2016 Hail Mary “another Hobnail Boot,” he did Mr. Munson a great, great disservice.

Today, the Volunteers’ head coach is Josh Heupel, Tennessee’s fifth in 12 years. His team is not lighting the world on fire, but the Vols do have the fourth highest scoring offense in the SEC. That offense will be put to the test this Saturday when they face a Bulldog defense that is allowing fewer than 10 points per game. Should Georgia win, it will tie the longest UGA winning streak in the series (5) and become Georgia’s first undefeated season of SEC play since 1982.

So, while the series may have gotten a little stale over the last few years, Georgia fans should be excited about this opportunity to once again lay low the residents of Rocky Top.