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Previewing the 2022 UGA football schedule

This is the first of our football season previews for 2022! In our second preview, we look at the new coaches you’ll see on the sidelines, the players stepping up to replace our drafted and graduated Dawgs and the new recruits we’ve signed.

The majority of Bulldog Nation is probably still riding high from Jan. 10, but with Sept. 3 right around the corner, let’s take a look at the opponents our defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs will face in the 2022 season!

UNIVERSITY OF OREGON

Saturday, Sep. 3, 2022 | 3:30 PM | ABC
Mercedes Benz Stadium – Atlanta, GA

University of Oregon

Midway through last season, this looked like a highlight match-up between a Georgia team at the top of the college football world and an Oregon team that knocked off Ohio State. Then, the rest of the season happened: Georgia took the crown, but Oregon endured two woodshed-beatings against Utah, then lost their head coach to Miami. It’s a tough spot for new Ducks coach Dan Lanning to make his return to Georgia, but UGA will be dealing with some transition of its own in new coaches and new starters. Still, this second-ever meeting between the two squads is more likely to be a long day for the Ducks than for the Dawgs.

SAMFORD UNIVERSITY

Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022 | 4 PM | SEC Network
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Samford University

Georgia’s home opener should be an opportunity to see a lot of UGA’s roster. Samford, which plays in the Football Championship Subdivision’s Southern Conference, has played UGA once: a 42-14 victory for Georgia in 2017. Two interesting facts about this game: it is the first of two games UGA will play in 2022 against teams with Bulldogs as their mascots; and Samford head coach Chris Hatcher was the head coach of the Valdosta State University Blazers while Kirby Smart was an assistant coach there in 2000 and 2001.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA

Saturday, Sep. 17, 2022 | 12 PM | ESPN
Williams-Brice Stadium – Columbia, SC

Although the final score of last year’s UGA-USC contest shows a 27-point margin of victory for Georgia, many a Bulldog fan will remember South Carolina receiver Josh Vann tallying over 100 receiving yards and the Gamecocks’ lone touchdown. Second-year head coach Shane Beamer got his team to a surprising 7-6 record in 2021—not incredible, but it did include respectable wins over Florida, Auburn and North Carolina. Building on that momentum, the Gamecocks landed major transfer wins in quarterback Spencer Rattler and tight end Austin Stogner. If Rattler returns to form, if the Bulldogs let some early-season sloppiness creep in and if the Columbia crowd shows up, USC may make things uncomfortable for the Dawgs.

KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

Saturday, Sep. 24, 2022 | 12 PM | SEC Network
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Kent State University

These two teams have played each other just once, when Jim Donnan led the Dawgs to a 56-3 win over the Golden Flashes in 1998. It’s been 11 years since Georgia lost to a Group of 5 school—a school in the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West or Sun Belt conferences—and that loss was to a formidable Boise State team. Kent State’s head coach, Sean Lewis, is responsible for creating some impressive offenses in his time with the program, but a generational Boise State team the 2022 Flashes are not.

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI

Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 | TBA | TBA
Faurot Field – Columbia, MO

Missouri Tigers

With Georgia coming off of a national championship win and the Tigers coming off two consecutive non-winning seasons, there aren’t many reasons to think Eli Drinkwitz can end UGA’s eight-game winning streak over Mizzou. But the Missouri faithful will hope that back-to-back solid recruiting classes (per 247 Sports, the 27th ranked signing class in 2021 and the 15th ranked class in 2022—likely the best in the program’s history) can start to realize their promise. Keep an eye for Luther Burden, who was among the nation’s best high school receivers and returners last year and could become Missouri’s primary weapon.

AUBURN UNIVERSITY

Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022 | TBA | TBA
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Auburn Tigers

In the last 18 months, Auburn went from cautious optimism (hiring Bryan Harsin) to disappointment (a close loss to Penn State) to despair (consecutive losses to Texas A&M, Mississippi State and South Carolina) to near-ecstasy (the majority of the Alabama game) to despondency (the end of the Alabama game) to confusion (Harsin was almost ousted after the season). To call this program tumultuous would be an understatement, but they still have running back Tank Bigsby, they still have a respectable defense and they still very nearly beat last year’s SEC champions. However, given the chaos within the program, a new defensive coordinator for the Tigers and uncertainty around the quarterback position—longtime starter Bo Nix transferred to Oregon—a sixth consecutive Georgia win seems likely in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022 | TBA | TBA
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Vanderbilt Commodores

The victim of the Dawgs’ most dominant 2021 victory (which set the record for the largest margin of victory in the history of the UGA-Vandy series) comes into this season having taken a few positive steps in the offseason—most notably a recruiting class ranked 32nd nationally—but Clark Lea’s rebuild of the Commodores will continue to take some time. This probably won’t be as brutal as last year’s game, but you can still expect to see the Bulldogs’ backups take the field well before the fourth quarter. Fun fact: two of the ‘Dores freshmen come from Germany, and one is from the United Kingdom.

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022 | TBA | TBA
TIAA Bank Field – Jacksonville, FL

Florida Gators

The Gators are now led by former University of Louisiana coach Billy Napier. Much of Napier’s focus thus far has been on the kind of administrative and organizational work that can build a strong program but doesn’t necessarily translate to immediate wins. Florida’s new coach is a proven winner—he turned the Ragin’ Cajuns into a top 25 program with a 40-12 record over four years—but will UF’s powers-that-be allow him the time to right the ship? They will need some patience this year, with tough games against Utah, Georgia and Texas A&M. Quarterback Anthony Richardson is back and the defense returns eight starters, but they—and the team as a whole—need to show they can perform consistently before they pose a threat to the Dawgs.

UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE

Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022 | TBA | TBA
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Tennessee Volunteers

Quarterback Hendon Hooker returns to Knoxville for his senior season after throwing just shy of 3,000 yards and notching 31 passing touchdowns, earning the best single-season passer rating in Tennessee’s history (reminder: Peyton Manning played there). Cedric Tillman also returns for his senior year, and the two could well eclipse Tillman’s totals from last year: 64 receptions, 1,081 yards and 12 touchdowns. UT’s experienced offense could take advantage of youth in Georgia’s defense, but can they do it for a full 60 minutes AND hold off Georgia’s offense with a Volunteers defense that is full of question marks? Signs point to a Bulldogs win, which would establish the longest UGA winning streak in this rivalry, but it may not be as easy as last year.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 | TBA | TBA
Davis Wade Stadium – Starkville, MS

Mississippi State University

Three years in, Mike Leach’s pass-happy system is well established and, to a certain extent, proven in the SEC. That caveat is required because for every five-touchdown showing for a Leach quarterback, there is a game where the Air Raid never really takes flight. The bad Bulldogs do return SIXTEEN starters across offense and defense, so experience is not a question. Also, the MSU defense is better than you might think: they were in the top 30 in total defense last year. But an Air Raid offense’s biggest weakness is disciplined defense: something our guys know a lot about. Expect UGA’s defense to keep the game in front of them, and expect UGA’s offense to chew up the clock while steadily hammering away at the Starkville canines.

UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY

Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022 | TBA | TBA
Kroger Field – Lexington, KY

Kentucky Wildcats

Only three Kentucky coaches have ever achieved multiple seasons of nine wins or more since the 40s: one was Bear Bryant, and the other is the Wildcats’ current coach. But despite this historical distinction, Mark Stoops has never claimed victory against Georgia. The ‘Cats hopes of breaking that streak rest on the shoulders of quarterback Will Levis, who could have entered the NFL Draft last year, but elected to spend one more year developing in Lexington. If Levis performs up to expectation, if Kentucky finds a replacement for star receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and the defense maintains the Wildcats’ stingy tradition, they could be trouble. But is UK better than it’s been in 12 years, and are the Dawgs weaker than they’ve been in 12 years? Unlikely.

GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022 | TBA | TBA
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Let’s start with the obvious: fourth-year head coach Geoff Collins is out of goodwill in Atlanta. After taking on the unenviable task of transitioning Tech out of the Paul Johnson era, Collins tried to re-energize the program and its fanbase with infectious energy, social media campaigns, a rebrand and more. They’ve won nine games since then. A slow start is forgivable, but the Jackets have shown vanishingly little to make their fans believe. They’ve won just seven ACC games, they’ve scored seven points in two games against Georgia (while Georgia scored 97) and the best player they’ve had in recent memory—running back Jahmyr Gibbs—transferred to Alabama in the offseason. A loss to the Bulldogs is all but guaranteed, and if Collins hopes to keep his position, he’ll need to mount one helluva comeback this year.

While we wait for kickoff in Atlanta, why not grab some championship gear and support UGA students while you’re at it? Grab one of (or all of!) the three collectible national championship editions of the spring 2022 Georgia Magazine, or pick up a boxful of exclusive natty swag with the G-Box (while supplies last).

The Jerry Tanner Show – 2022 Season Preview

Welcome to The Year of House Money. After 2021, we could take this year off, but hey, why not beat the brakes off everybody again?

If you’re like us, you’re still celebrating the natty, and there’s no better way to do that AND support UGA than by getting yourself a G-Box. Snag a bunch of championship gear (including some G-Box exclusives), support UGA students with your purchase: everybody wins. Get yours today—while supplies last—at alumni.uga.edu/gbox.

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.

Celebrate UGA’s national championship with a themed background

Since we won the national championship, we’ve been looking for any excuse to show off a little. If you’re like us, these customized backgrounds should help do the trick. 

We created six national championship-themed digital backgrounds for you to use during your Zoom/virtual meetings. Celebrate on the field with Kirby Smart and confetti or present beside the championship trophy. Whatever you choose, your meetings will burst with Georgia pride!  

Don’t know how to set a background? Don’t worry! 

If your computer is compatible with Zoom backgrounds (most are), follow the steps below to show your Bulldog pride.

  1. Select your favorite background images and save them to your desktop to make it easier to find during this process.
  2. Open Zoom and click the gray gear icon in the top right corner below your profile. *Make sure you are on your Home tab on the menu at the top of the application.
  3. Settings will open in a new window. On the right menu, click Background & Effects. *The icon is turquoise and looks like a person on a computer monitor.
  4. Click the gray plus icon in the right center of the window, and then click Add Image. Navigate to the background you’ve chose, select it and click open. *Make sure you are on your Virtual Backgrounds tab on the menu under your video display.
  5. The background will appear alongside all the other virtual background images on Zoom. Make sure it is selected before you close your Settings, and you’ll have a new championship background! *If your background looks like it’s backward, be sure to uncheck the box next to Mirror my video under the virtual background images in Zoom.

Rather have something more classic? 

We have other UGA-themed backgrounds to choose from, as well as several seasonal options. 

Want more ways to support athletics? 

Consider donating to the UGA Athletic Association to help UGA student-athletes achieve both on and off the field.  

G-Day 2022: The Dawgs’ title defense begins here

For the first time since their national championship celebration, the Georgia Bulldogs will return to a packed Sanford Stadium for the 2022 G-Day game on Saturday, April 16!

The annual spring scrimmage caps the Dawgs’ spring practices, which begin March 15. Check here in the weeks to come for more information on how to secure your spot at the debut of the 2022 Georgia Bulldogs squad.

Kirby Smart’s seventh UGA team enters 2022 having finally conquered the program’s demons, and the shine of the Dawgs’ first national championship trophy in 41 years is unlikely to fade any time soon.

Kirby Smart speaks to a reporter prior to the 2022 CFP National Championship

The Bulldogs are expected to compete for another championship in 2022. The schedule opens with a highly anticipated contest against the Oregon Ducks—now led by former UGA defensive coordinator Dan Lanning—in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Home games against Tennessee and Auburn, away games against South Carolina and Kentucky and the annual clash with the Gators in Jacksonville all add up to an exciting slate for the Dawgs.

The Bulldogs will be without a number of 2021’s standout players—get ready to hear a whole lot of Georgia names called during the 2022 NFL Draft—but they retain experience and leadership at several key positions.

Stetson Bennett scrambles during a play during the 2022 CFP National Championship

Stetson Bennett, MVP of the 2022 CFP National Championship Game, returns at quarterback, and linebacker Nolan Smith, the two-time 2021 SEC co-Defensive Player of the Week whose sack of Bryce Young was the final play of the national championship game, will help lead the defense.

Additionally, defensive tackle Jalen Carter will assume the mantle held last year by Jordan Davis, Brock Bowers will continue to victimize every player who attempts to guard him, Kendall Milton and Kenny McIntosh will carry on UGA’s tradition of talented running back tandems and Kelee Ringo, Chris Smith and Tykee Smith all return to lock down opponents’ passing games.

Nolan Smith sacks Alabama's Bryce Young during the 2022 CFP National Championship

The Georgia sideline will feature some new faces in 2022.

  • Bryan McClendon, who played wide receiver for the Bulldogs from 2002-2005 and served as a graduate assistant or coach with the team from 2007-2015, returns to Athens as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. McClendon has also been offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach for South Carolina (2016-2019) and passing game coordinator, wide receivers coach and interim head coach for Oregon (2020-2021).

  • UGA’s new outside linebackers coach is Chidera Uzo-Diribe, who played for the University of Colorado from 2011-2015. Uzo-Diribe was a general assistant at Colorado from 2016-2018, coached outside linebackers for the Kansas Jayhawks in 2019 and 2020, and most recently served as defensive line coach for Southern Methodist University in 2021.

 

We may be months away from the 2022 season, but you can start gearing up today, figuratively and literally!

  • UGA alumni can stay plugged in on the latest Bulldog news—from on and off the field—by updating their info at alumni.uga.edu/update.
  • Want to show off your Bulldog spirit and your hometown pride all at once? Head over to the UGA Bookstore and find your state decal. Bonus: every purchase includes a $5 donation to the Georgia Fund, which supports scholarships and the areas of greatest need at UGA.
  • Tennessee and Florida Dawgs: with your help, Bulldogs across the Volunteer and Sunshine States can purchase specialty license plates that rep the G! Check out the Tennessee and Florida license plate campaigns to find out how you can make UGA car tags a reality.

A UGA parent paints the town red (and black)

When the Georgia Bulldogs secured their first national title in 41 years, the outpouring of emotion from University of Georgia alumni and fans was so intense, so widespread, it could’ve painted the sky red and black.

And in New York City, thanks to a UGA student’s parent, it did.

Shortly after the 2022 CFP National Championship finished, the iconic Empire State Building traded its usual illumination for red and black hues, and the world took notice.

https://twitter.com/CFBPlayoff/status/1480930289467670544

But it wasn’t just the Empire State Building. The Helmsley Building at 230 Park Avenue also lit up the night red and black—not just on Monday night, but Sunday and Tuesday, too.

230 Park Avenue in New York City on Tuesday, Jan. 12

Timelapse of 230 Park Avenue the night of Jan. 11

Timelapse of 230 Park Avenue the night of Jan. 11

It all began with Bill Elder, managing director and executive vice president at RXR Realty. Elder, whose youngest daughter, Eliza, is a third-year studying real estate at UGA, had already started planning the lighting of 230 Park Avenue, a building in RXR’s portfolio, when he realized he had an opportunity to go even bigger.

“I had a call scheduled with Tony Malkin [chairman, president and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust, Inc., which owns the Empire State Building], so I thought I’d see if he would do a favor for me,” said Bill. “So, I reached out to him on the Saturday before the game, and I said, ‘My daughter goes to Georgia, and we’re lighting 230 in red and black in honor of the game—do you think you could light up the Empire State Building? And he said ‘Absolutely, done.'”

The following Monday night, Bill was—like the rest of us—consumed by the drama of the national championship’s final minutes and the elation of the celebration that followed, so he didn’t know that Tony Malkin came through on his promise a little bit early: “The World’s Most Famous Building” wore red and black from the moment the Dawgs claimed victory until 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Bill’s role in amplifying the joy of Bulldog Nation is spectacular enough on its own, but it becomes even more so in light of the journey he and his wife Katie took to become UGA fans. Just a few short years ago, the Elders had just a passing familiarity with the university, but once their youngest daughter, Eliza, began to take an interest in attending, things started to change.

“I’ll admit, my first reaction was ‘not a great idea, too big, she’ll get lost,’ but then I went down there, took a tour, and within about 20 or 30 minutes of being on campus, I got immediately comfortable with the place and thought UGA was a great decision,” said Bill.

Katie and Bill Elder at Sanford Stadium

Katie and Bill Elder at Sanford Stadium

Once Eliza became a student, Bill and Katie were approached by members of the Parents Leadership Council (PLC), a group of highly engaged parents who support student-focused organizations and efforts on campus.

“I didn’t realize how much need there was among UGA students,” said Bill. “So, when I heard about the outreach and the kind of need fulfillment that the PLC was doing for these great kids, I was in. How could you not want to help somebody who might be the first person in their whole family to go to college? How could you not want to give students a better chance?”

Bill and Katie have been members of the PLC ever since. Beginning this August, they will serve as chairs of the PLC’s Grants Committee, which administers grants that provide funding to a variety of organizations across UGA’s campus. Last year, the PLC Grants Program awarded 69 grants totaling over $625,000, and the program has awarded more than $3.8 million over its lifetime to groups like Designated Dawgs, the Outreach and Financial Assistance Fund at the UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic, the Student Government Association’s Clothing Closet and the University Health Center’s Counseling and Psychiatric Services Program.

So, when some of Manhattan’s most iconic structures took on the colors of the national champion Georgia Bulldogs, it was an expression of the unbounded joy of alumni and fans who had waited nearly a half-century for a championship, but it was also a culmination of the Elders’ journey.

They are not a family with generations of Bulldogs, they didn’t grow up dreaming of Broad Street or Milledge Avenue, but they believe in the university and its mission just as strongly as a third-generation Dawg from Marietta.

“We went from knowing very little to humbly hoping that we can make a difference at the university,” said Bill. “UGA has embraced us, and we embrace them. We’re really happy to be a part of it, and we’re really proud to be a part of it.”

The Jerry Tanner Show – Jerry Watches the National Championship

Relive the before, during and after of the greatest football game ever played with your good friend Jerry, who—like you—spent his entire paycheck on championship merch.

Athens will be rocking on Saturday, Jan. 15, as Bulldog Nation celebrates the 2021 NATIONAL CHAMPION Georgia Bulldogs! Find out more about the parade and celebration on alumni.uga.edu/football.

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.

Three days in the frozen tundra (AKA what to do in Indianapolis)

As the clock ran down in the Orange Bowl and the Bulldogs heading to the Natty became a reality, thousands across the country began booking plane tickets and rental cars, purchasing game tickets, finding accommodations, and answering the question: “What does a Southerner wear to a January football game in the Midwest, when the temperatures are in the teens?” *don’t worry, I’m clueless as well.

As we are just a few days away from the big game, traveling fans may find themselves wondering how to spend a day (or three) in Indy. As a UGA staff member making the trek to assist with communications and hosting alumni on site, I found myself wondering what Indianapolis holds for fans during the frigid days and hours before the big game.

So, I gathered a few ideas from those in the know, Dawg fans. If you visit any of them, take a pic and tag us in social using #AlwaysADawg.

INDIANAPOLIS ALUMNI CHAPTER

Indianapolis Alumni Chapter President Liz Smith (AB ’82) suggested a few places to eat:

ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution knows that Indianapolis is “more than fast cars.” Here are a few highlights from its story:

VISIT INDY

The official welcome wagon for the city of Indianapolis, VisitIndy.com features hordes of ideas to curate a fun weekend in this Midwest town. Here are a few highlights I spotted on both their “things to do” list and their “where to eat” list:

HOMEFIELD APPARAL

Indianapolis-based Homefield Apparal offers licensed college apparel (including UGA). Their team posted a series of Tweets highlighting things to do and see in town. A few highlights for each of their categories are below; the full list is far more extensive:

INDIANAPOLIS HOST COMMITTEE

The group responsible for hosting the CFP National Championship has curated resources for travelers visiting the city for the big game.

DOWNTOWN INDY

This nonprofit organization focuses on developing and promoting downtown Indianapolis. Here’s its events calendar and lists of what to explore while in the area.

A FEW ADDITIONS

  • The Indiana Pacers host the Utah Jazz on Saturday night at 7 p.m. if you’re looking to makae it a two-sport kind of weekend.
  • Did you know there is a Georgia Street in Indy? The three, pedestrian-friendly blocks of this street connects the Indiana Convention Center with Bankers Life Fieldhouse and features food and beverage stations, concert stages, street performers and more.
  • Don’t forget there are several official events hosted by the CFP National Championship and you can find those on our football landing page.

I hope these resources help you enjoy a fun weekend in Indianapolis (capped off with a win for the Dawgs on Monday). Whether or not you’re heading to the game, be sure to tag @UGAAlumni on social so we can share photos and videos from Bulldogs around the world. Sic ‘em!

Turn up the volume and jam your way to Indianapolis

The Bulldogs are heading to Indianapolis, vying for a National Championship victory over Alabama on January 10. Whether you’re enduring the 9-hour drive to Lucas Oil Stadium or cheering on the Dawgs from Athens, a good old-fashioned playlist will help you prepare for an epic showdown in Indy.

From “Glory” and “Baba O’Riley” to “Dooley’s Junkyard Dogs” and “In the Air Tonight,” we’ve got you covered with over 140 songs in our Road to Indianapolis: National Championship Edition playlist.

Watch out, Bama. “The Boys are Back in Town” and are looking to rise up “Against the Tide.” “I Gotta Feeling” that our Dawgs are going to “Rock You Like a Hurricane” come January 10. “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Bulldog Nation!

The Jerry Tanner Show – 2022 National Championship: Alabama

We may win, we may lose, but above all else, I just want to dedicate this national championship game to all the Auburn fans out there.

The UGA Mentor Program is celebrating Mentor Month throughout January, and you can join the celebration by becoming a mentor. Invest in the next generation of Bulldogs by sharing your experience and helping a UGA student find their way in the world. Learn more at mentor.uga.edu.

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 Uniform: Michigan and Georgia

Anyone inside Michigan Stadium on Oct. 2, 1965, was able to see two of college football’s most iconic, classic uniforms together on the field for the first time ever—though they probably didn’t know it at the time.

Michigan’s winged helmet had already established itself as a symbol of college football, but in 1965, Georgia was only in its second year with an oval G on a red helmet. In the half-century since, both teams’ uniforms have held close to the way they looked on that Saturday in Ann Arbor, and the success both programs have enjoyed over that span has cemented those uniforms in the minds of college football fans.

The winged helmet and the oval G would clash that day and then never again… until this New Year’s Eve. As we head into this long-awaited rematch, let’s look back at the people and decisions that defined the looks of the 1965 Bulldogs and Wolverines and how those looks have (and have not) changed since.

The Maize and Blue

Georgia plays MichiganThe Michigan Wolverines’ colors of maize and blue date back to the late 1860s, when a committee of Michigan students chose “azure blue and maize” as the university’s colors. This color combination may have appeared in some form or fashion on the Michigan football team’s jerseys from the 1890s up through the early 20th century, but it wasn’t until the team adopted their winged helmet in the 1930s that the two stood side-by-side in stark contrast and created a visual identity that would stand the test of time.

Fritz Crisler arrived in Ann Arbor in 1938 as Michigan’s new head football coach. Before leading the Wolverines, he coached at Princeton, where, in 1935, he had ordered leather helmets with a “wing” panel across the top-front of the helmet. In an effort to help his quarterbacks find their receivers downfield, Crisler had the wing panel painted a different color from the rest of the helmet, creating a stark contrast easier to spot amid the chaos of a football game.

So, in 1938, Crisler brought his helmet innovation to Ann Arbor, and on October 1, 1938, the maize-and-blue winged helmet took the field for the first time against Michigan State.

Crisler’s career as Michigan’s head football coach would run nine years, accumulating a 116-32-9 record, two conference titles and a national championship, but his most lasting contribution to Michigan football (and the University of Michigan’s identity, perhaps) lies in the wing design that has lasted 83 years and counting.

The Red and Black

Vince Dooley might have gone to Auburn, but he knew what Georgia’s colors were: red and black. So, when the young coach arrived in Athens in 1964, he was confused at the amount of silver the Dawgs wore on game day: They had red jerseys, but their helmets and pants were silver.

Dooley wanted to put his stamp on a program that had been through some tough years following the departure of long-time coach Wally Butts. With months to go before a single snap of football was played, Dooley decided to start by establishing a consistent visual identity.

First out were the silver britches in favor of red or white pants with a stripe down the outside of the leg—although the silver britches would return in 1980.  Next, it was time for a new helmet. Dooley knew he wanted red, and while UGA had begun sporting helmets with a square G in ’62, the logo’s use was sporadic, so Dooley figured it was time to lock in a new logo.

John Donaldson (BSED ’52) was a coach on Dooley’s first staff, and he volunteered his wife, Ann (BFA ’55), who studied commercial art at Georgia, to create the new logo. What she developed was accepted immediately by Dooley, and it has come to be known as the “oval G,” “Power G,” or “Super G.”

The logo has often been compared to the Green Bay Packers’ signature mark—developed three years prior to Georgia’s ‘G’—and Dooley was aware of the similarity. He reached out to the Packers organization and cleared the use of the Bulldogs’ new logo. Interestingly, as time has passed, the Packers have subtly adjusted their own logo to a form that more closely resembles UGA’s oval G.

With his new helmets and new pants, Dooley had made his first mark (of many) on the program. The Dawgs went 7-3-1 in their first season wearing Dooley’s duds, and they opened 1965 with two wins before heading up to Michigan.

Since the Bulldogs’ 1965 victory over the Wolverines, both teams have indulged in the occasional wardrobe variation—like Michigan’s 2017 all-Maize unis and Georgia’s 2007 Blackout jerseys—but their standard outfits have remained largely consistent over the last 56 years.

The helmets might be fancier, the numbers might be sharper and the players might be a whole lot bigger, but the Dawgs and Wolverines of 2021 still look an awful lot like their 1965 counterparts.

Michigan uniforms in 1965 and 1921

UGA uniforms in 1965 and 2021

All black-and-white photos owned by Regents of the University of Michigan and licensed under CC BY 4.0