Wednesday, November 30

Holla at your Dawgs.

From Paul Westerdawg comes news of a "Dawg Walk" for the SEC Championship game. The details:

ATHENS - The University of Georgia Dawg Walk prior to the SEC Championship Game Saturday at the Georgia Dome will begin at 3:55 p.m.

The team will arrive and depart the buses at the West Plaza near the Gold Parking Deck off Northside Dr. They will proceed to Stairtower Four at which point they will go down stairs to the players' entrance.

That's Gate B for the Georgia Dome n00bs out there. I can't remember if we did this the last time the Dawgs went to The Show -- I was at the 2003 championship game, and all I remember about that (besides Georgia getting their asses handed to them) was some MBA from LSU sitting behind me who felt the need to show off for his date by making some comment after every single play, and in the process busting out some of the lamest trash talk I've ever been privy to. F'rinstance, after LSU's kicker shanked his second extra-point attempt of the game, as the Georgia players trotted off the field, this guy yells -- with absolute sincerity from where I was sitting -- "Well, at least we didn't sell our SEC Championship rings!" Only it was more "say-yull," "champ-in-shee-yup" and "ranngs." I know, I know, I'm a Georgia grad and I'm the last person who should be redneck-baiting anybody, but for Christ's sake, Cooter. Really.

What was my point again? -- oh, yeah, I don't know if we did this in 2003, but I'm really glad we're doing it this year. If LSU's players are expecting this to be like a Georgia home game, we might as well make it one.

Tuesday, November 29

Your taste buds are gonna need to have a cigarette when you're done.

Some of you have inquired about the cheese grits that I consumed at Thanksgiving, and my mom, because she's a generous individual who wants to spread the gift of good eatin' far and wide, has been kind enough to allow her recipe to be shared with the world through this humble blog. She cautions that this was originally not her recipe but that of Edie Dalton, former First Lady of the great Commonwealth of Virginia (Mrs. Dalton's mom was a patient of my dad's when we lived in Radford, Virginia, and yes, in a city of 12,000 that qualifies as famous). Here's what you'll need:

6 cups of water
1.5 cups of dry grits (not that instant crap, and absolutely not Cream of Wheat, for you Yankees who were thinking about it just now)
0.5 sticks of butter
1 pound of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
0.25 teaspoons of minced garlic
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
10-12 filtered cigarettes

First, boil the water -- don't dump the grits in until the water is boiling or it'll turn out crappy (trust me, I've already made this mistake once). Sprinkle the grits into the boiling water and stir with a whisk for about 5 minutes until thick.

Add the butter, cheese, and garlic, and stir until the butter and cheese melt. Then beat the two eggs and add them into the mixture, stirring constantly so that the eggs don't cook before they can be mixed in properly. Then add salt and pepper.

Now pour the whole shebangabang into a greased 3-qt casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Serves 10-12.

After everyone finishes their grits, bust out the cigarettes -- they're gonna need 'em. It's that good.

Angelina Jolie in a state of post-grits ecstasy.

As a matter of fact, I don't want a little bang in my ying yang, and I will not be coming along.

I've always been of the opinion that if I could choose only three or four cable channels to get and reduce my monthly cable bill to ten bucks or so, I would choose ESPN, ESPN2, Comedy Central and Headline News (you still my shawty, Rudi Bakhtiar) and be done with it. Yet I never realized just how thoroughly ESPN was ruining my life until I read this epic manifesto from the cats at Every Day Should Be Saturday.

Yeah, I know everybody and his brother has already linked to this, but it's soooo worth reading. Not that I necessarily agree with everything on it -- for one thing, I guess I have a much greater tolerance for Chris Berman than they do. (Though it does hurt my soul a little when Berman does his "Fastest Three Minutes" bit during halftime of each week's Sunday-night game -- cute gimmick, I guess, but at the expense of being able to make hide or hair of what actually happened in any of the games he's recapping, plus it sounds so forced I always get this mental image of some German terrorist calling Berman on a cell phone and telling him he'll execute Berman's wife and kids if he can't narrate all the highlights in three minutes.) But I'm in complete agreement with them on many others, including the giga-contrived Sean Salisbury-John Clayton "rivalry," the criminal underuse of Chris Mortensen, and the fellatiary treatment of anything even remotely connected to Southern California football. Anyone remember last year's Virginia Tech-USC Black Coaches' Association Classic? During halftime they did a backgrounder on Matt Leinart's poor vision as a child, which was so severe that -- children and expecting mothers, you may want to stop reading here -- he had to wear glasses. There's a war going on in Iraq and North Korea has the bomb, but we're supposed to wail and beat our breasts at the fact that Matt Leinart -- who is just months away from becoming a multimillionaire and who can pick up pretty much any single woman in the Los Angeles metro area with nothing more than a "C'mon, let's go" -- once had to wear glasses? Lord knows I'd sooner slice my gums with an Exacto knife than agree with Tommy Tuberville about anything, but yeah, ESPN is stuck straight up USC's ass.

Winning the Heisman and getting to nail any female in the San Fernando Valley? The horror . . . the horror . . .

The point that earned the lustiest "Hells yeah" from me, though, was EDSBS's withering condemnation of country band Big & Rich and the one-hit in their wonder, "Comin' to Your City," which ESPN's Powers That Be inexplicably chose to be the "theme song" to "College Gameday." The lyrics to said excrescence can be found here, so I'll leave it to y'all to determine just how bad this song sucks. But I'd like to widen EDSBS's point to basically decry the creeping influence of country music into football broadcasting in general. Yup, I know this is going to peg me as a fancy-coffee-swilling, imported-car-driving, Kerry-voting, red-state-insulting liberal elitist, but I'm gonna say it: Country music in its current state sucks royal ass, and anything that increases its presence in our daily football-viewing lives is not to be celebrated.

It's not just Big & Rich, either, because if you've watched "Monday Night Football" lately, you've no doubt sat in stunned stupefaction at the weekly halftime ritual of Tim McGraw singing a version of "I Like It, I Love It" rewritten to include recaps of the previous weekend's NFL action. Yup, that's right, he's singing about each week's big plays to the tune of the same damn song. I'm with this guy: Who the hell thought it was a good idea to play the same song seventeen times? I mean, I could see a different pop-music artist each week singing their current hit, but the same song? What's next, ABC replacing the roundtable segment on "This Week" with Gretchen Wilson singing a new version of "Redneck Woman" rewritten to include rundowns of the previous week's top stories?

OK, you're kinda cute, but ten bucks says you still can't come up with a rhyme for "al-Zarqawi."

(Just FYI, it took me nearly an hour to do the Googling necessary to come up with the name of one female country singer and one of her songs -- that's how completely country-music-illiterate I am when you take me so much as one step outside my Johnny Cash comfort zone.)

Anyway, to the Disney/ABC/ESPN conglomerate, I say this: Unless you are prepared to balance it out with equal helpings of Fugazi, Thievery Corporation, and the Wu-Tang Clan, it's time to can the crappy country. As it stands, you're only appealing to the microscopic subset of music fans who a) consider "I Like It, I Love It" their most favoritest song ever, to the exclusion of every other song in their library, and b) can stand Big & Rich for more than five seconds at a stretch.

Oh, and letting Nick Lachey anywhere near a broadcast booth was also an electrocutable offense, but dude's been through enough already so I'll let that one slide. As the one responsible for Jessica Simpson giving him the heave-ho, it would be just plain gratuitous of me to pile on him any further, you know?

Sunday, November 27

Now tell us how you really feel.

All things considered, I'd have to say I was uncharacteristically charitable toward Georgia Tech in the week leading up to last night's big rivalry game. And with that in mind, I would be remiss if I didn't give props to Tech's defense, which was realer-than-real-deal-Holyfield and actually caused me to have one of those horrible visions, roundabout the end of halftime, wherein I pictured my sister and myself wandering out of Manuel's Tavern in a daze, pierced by a gauntlet of smug looks from Georgia Tech fans who'd just watched their team beat UGA for the first time since the previous century and were eagerly anticipating a long night of lighting up the Internet message boards with gleeful tales of how Mark Richt really ain't shit after all, D.J. Shockley is overrated, this proves the ACC really is better than the SEC after all, blah blah freaking blah. Nightmare scenario, in other words.

But then Flowers busted those fantastic punt returns, Shock threw that beautiful touchdown pass to Bryan McClendon that was actually caught, and Reggie Ball threw that interception that was so totally telegraphed from the moment he set his feet in the pocket that you had to wonder whether it wasn't preordained from the moment God created Man, and . . . 14-7, Dawgs.

Now, as I've said, this past week has taught me that there actually are some good Techies out there, and I thank y'all for having made this an interesting and edifying week, but for the rest of y'all, the haters, the "Jasper Sanks fumbled" crowd, the folks who continue to say stuff like "A Tech grad's gonna be your boss one day" even though a Tech grad has never been my boss, though in fact I was the boss of a Techie while I worked in Atlanta way back when, to all y'all . . . well, I'll let the Man in Black, my spiritual advisor, the subject of the biopic "Walk the Line" (which I saw on Friday and which was awesome, FYI), Johnny Cash, sum it up for me:

Ahhhh. Cathartic, no? It's not good to keep your emotions bottled up.

But seriously, good game. See y'all in 363 days.

Friday, November 25

Friday Random Ten, Turkey Hangover Edition.

Thanksgiving dinner at my house was awesome, as always, but the best part was that it's become a tradition in our family to have cheese grits -- baked until it's crispy on top -- with Thanksgiving dinner every year. It's gotten to the point where the South American exchange students who have dinner with us every year are taking back stories of these cheese grits to their home countries. I've got people in Birmingham asking me to bring them back some when I go back on Sunday. Before anyone starts pondering the similarities between Alabama and South America, here's the Ten:

1. Ice-T, "6 'N tha Mornin'"
2. 3rd Bass, "Daddy Rich in the Land of 1210"
3. Paolo Conte, "Via Con Me"
4. Röyksopp, "Eple"
5. Richard Cheese, "Rape Me" (a lounge version of the Nirvana song; don't e-mail me)
6. Primal Scream, "Trainspotting"
7. Underworld, "Shudder/King of Snake"
8. Pitchshifter, "Subject to Status"
9. David Holmes, "Reuben's In"
10. Count Basie and Tony Bennett, "With Plenty of Money and You"

Yours go in the comments, along with any highlights of your respective Thanksgiving dinners. Bonus points if you managed to snag a turducken for your holiday feast.

Thursday, November 24

Bastard, yes. But not a total bastard.

You know, over the last few days, I (along with the legions of other Bulldog bloggers) have been heaping plenty of insults and abuse on Georgia Tech in preparation for this weekend's in-state battle royale, but today being Thanksgiving and everything, I thought it might be a good time to, at least temporarily, take a different tack. This is, after all, a time to be generous, to care for others, to put aside our differences and unite in our hopes for peace on earth and goodwill toward men, and . . .

Wait, I'm thinking of Christmas, aren't I? Yeah, there's still an entire month before I have to start caring about that peace and goodwill crap. In the meantime, screw those Tech nerds.

But no, seriously, as we give thanks for all our many blessings today and (hopefully) renew our commitment to sharing those blessings with others, I decided I would sit down and come up with ten things I can admit to liking, respecting, or envying about Georgia Tech. Then I decided there was no way I was going to be able to come up with ten, so I knocked it back to six. Six was doable. So anyway, here are the Top Six Things I'm Thankful For That Are Actually Good About Georgia Tech, or whatever.

6. Tech's basketball team. Now, do I root for said team? Of course not. But unlike Tech's football team, I can at least admit they're pretty good. And their coach, Paul Hewitt, is a classy guy who runs the program well. There are very few things a Georgia grad will ever admit to envying about Georgia Tech, but sometimes I do wonder how history would be different had we hired Hewitt to coach the UGA basketball team back in 1999 instead of letting Jim Harrick play the $25,000 Embarrass That Academic Institution ("I can embarrass that academic institution in five notes!" "No, I can embarrass that academic institution in three notes!") for the better part of five years.

5. Jimmy Carter. When I express my deep respect and admiration for Jimmy Carter -- who went to Tech in 1942 as a Naval ROTC student before heading up to Annapolis -- a lot of people (Democrats as well as Republicans) give me a funny look. OK, so Jimmy's presidency left something to be desired (though, while rampant inflation, sky-high gas prices and nonstop Mideast turmoil was enough to get one drummed out of the White House in 1980, it's apparently enough to win you a second term in 2004 -- maybe it's a nostalgia thing), but as a person, Carter walked (and continues to walk) the moral, Christlike, whatsoever-you-do-for-the-least-of-your-people walk where an increasing number of people these days seem content merely to talk the talk. Anyone who's ever attended GT should be proud to count him among their own; for us UGA folks, meanwhile, the best we can put up against him is Zell Miller, who was a feather in our collective cap right up until he took his appointment to Paul Coverdell's Senate seat in 2000 as an invitation to go certifiably bat-shit Tom-Cruise-on-"Oprah" crazy.

Zell Miller: From HOPE Scholarship to "I will eat your soul" in just six short years.

4. My cousin. Right about the time I pledged my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to the University of Georgia, my cousin Duff did the same to Georgia Tech. Not only did he go there to get some kind of computing degree, he was in the marching band, which for any other person might've been a swirling black hole of dorkitude from whence there was no escape. But not for Duff. He graduated, got married, now has two adorable daughters and is an excellent husband and father. Plus he's making what I can only guess is a hell of a lot more money than I am, though that probably has less to do with any discrepancy between our educations and more to do with the fact that I'm pretty much lazy and don't apply myself. (I can drink him under the table, though! Who wants to give me a high five?)

3. This chick. Say what you will about Playboy magazine, but their "Girls of the ACC" search committee must be some damn hard-working folks if they can dig up hot Georgia Tech girls on a regular basis. I've never actually seen one in her natural habitat, to be honest with you, but apparently there's at least one, and Playboy found her whilst making their rounds of the ACC last year. Her name is Julia Ryan (original, uncropped, not-even-on-the-same-continent-as-safe-for-work picture here), and in addition to being hot, she's apparently also a very courageous individual, because being a hot girl at Tech has to be kind of like being the last surviving passenger along with Rosie O'Donnell of a plane crash in the Andes. But the point is, congratulations, Tech. All is apparently not lost for you guys.

2. Night games in Midtown. Saturday's game will be the first UGA-GT game I can remember that will be held at night, which is a good thing for Tech, because it allows them to show off what is, as far as I'm concerned, the one redeeming feature of their campus: the nice views of the Atlanta skyline in the background. Sure, we Georgia alums love to poke fun at "Thursday Night Lights" and the fact that the ACC still feels the need to weasel its games into prime time by invading what is otherwise a bastion of sub-BCS conferences, but in the end there are worse things than having the Bank of America tower, the Westin, and 191 Peachtree to gaze up at all lit-up and pretty. (Whatever distracts you from Tech's crapulence on the field, am I right? Ha ha! pwn3d! Don't e-mail me.) Tech's inner-city location presents it with all sorts of problems, as Nathan explained in detail in our Q&A earlier this week, but the Atlanta skyline is kind of nice as silver linings go, and it's going to be a treat for the 35,000 or so Bulldog fans who pack the stadium Saturday night.

The team and the fans aside, this isn't that bad.

1. 36-56-5. Yes, I'm quite thankful for that, so . . . thanks, Georgia Tech. (If you don't know the significance of that number, here's a hint.)

Wednesday, November 23

Wednesday morning Bostonblogging, Win One for the Terrier Edition.

A while back, on my previous blog, I vowed I would never post pictures of pets -- and proceeded to break that vow with my very first post on this current one. I also vowed at one point I would never put clothes on any of my pets, but my sister, who knits like Shaq misses free throws, made up her mind months ago that she was going to knit Jenna the Boston terrier a red-and-black Georgia sweater, and there was no way I could say no to that. And it stands to reason that at some point I vowed I would never post pictures of my pets wearing clothes, but . . . well, if you're going to throw one promise out the window, you might as well chuck all three.

There's sort of a twofold reason for posting these. First, of course, is the fact that this is Georgia-Georgia Tech week. But second is the fact that Jenna had surgery yesterday to correct a grade 3 or 4 patellar luxation. She was doing her usual attention-seeking, tail-chasing routine at my aunt and uncle's house on Saturday and all of a sudden came up limping; it turned out her kneecap had slipped outside the patellar groove and wasn't going to stay back in unless her tibial crest was reshaped and the patellar tendon was pinned into a position where it would lie straight up-and-down across the knee joint. So yeah, she's now got a pin in her knee like an injured baseball player, and a bandage on her right hind leg that should come off around the middle of next week.

What this means, of course, is that Jenna will be inactive for the Georgia Tech game this weekend, and probably for the SEC championship game on December 3 as well. However, we're optimistic that she'll be back in time for the bowl game. And even with the gimpy leg, she can still cover receivers better than Ruben Houston.

Anyway, today we're headed down to Columbus to spend the holiday with the family, where Jenna is destined to be spoiled rotten by my mom all weekend long. Ten bucks says within a few hours of getting back up to Birmingham on Sunday, Jenna's going to be giving me dirty looks (and possibly peeing on the floor) because I'm not constantly giving her flank steak and/or leftover turkey. Well, life is tough, kid. The last five days should've taught you that.

Tuesday, November 22

Sis boom wha . . . ?

She doesn't know what the cheer is, either.

I found the above picture of a Notre Dame cheerleader while browsing through's photo galleries today. Yeah, I was looking at pictures of cheerleaders. Sue me. But the thing that really intrigued me about this picture -- taken, I believe, during Notre Dame's ass-stomping of Tennessee a few weeks ago -- was not the comely cheerleader but the sign she's holding. I'm 99 percent sure the word on that sign is "ABUSE," and call me crazy, that seems like an odd word to put in a cheer, even at a hotly contested football game. What larger cheer or phrase were they trying to exhort the crowd to shout, I wonder?


Any of those sound good? Or no? If you've got any suggestions, put 'em in the comments. Especially if you're a Notre Dame fan who was at the game and can reveal what they were actually saying.

Monday, November 21

Confessions of a Techie.

As promised, here's the Georgia Tech half of the exchange I did with Nathan of the Golden Tornado blog. (The counterpart to this post, my answers to Nathan's questions, can be found here.) This should give you some insight as to how the world looks from the Georgia Tech side of the rivalry. It's located deep in the heart of midtown Atlanta, and it's a side where there aren't a whole lot of hot girls, but it's a side worth acquainting yourself with just the same.

Just as I gave you a look at how Georgia fans see their Atlanta rivals, Nathan should give you some insight into what Techies see when they look at us Bulldogs. It ain't flattering, but hey, it's a rivalry. I have to admit, I've had some of the same thoughts about the various non-alumni Dawg fans who crawl out of their trailers for gameday and generally do a good job making the rest of us look bad, and I certainly won't make excuses for any of 'em. I guess it's just easier to overlook those folks when you play amidst the heated, occasionally downright unhinged, rivalries of the SEC. I can understand that if you're used to attending away games at Duke and Maryland, getting a beer poured on you and having your sexuality loudly called into question would be shocking, but I've been to Knoxville and Baton Rouge, and . . . well, that's pretty much how the Junior League welcomes you when you enter the city limits. But anyway, without further ado, here's Nathan.

As a UGA student from 1995 to 1999, I was naturally conscious of the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry, but it wasn't really until the '99 game -- Georgia's driving for the winning score, Jasper Sanks is down at the 2 but the refs erroneously call fumble, Tech goes on to win in overtime -- that my attitude blossomed into full-blown, out-and-out, wouldn't-piss-on-'em-if-they-were-on-fire hatred. Do you have a similar "turning point" in your history as a Tech fan, or was your burning hatred of UGA pretty much a given the minute you started following the Yellow Jackets?

I'm not from Georgia, I'm from North Carolina originally. When I applied to GT, I didn't know what I was getting into. During my freshman year (1997), I was only taking one class on the flats (I was in a dual degree program with another school) and so was somewhat separated from the normal student body. I went to a Braves game that September wearing a GT T-shirt, and while I was walking to my seat some drunken redneck idiot wearing a UGA hat screamed out "FUCK TECH YOU FUCKING FAGGOT!" and poured an entire beer over my head (much to the enjoyment of his 2 friends who were high-fiving). I was a 17-year-old kid 5 minutes from my campus, wearing a college T-shirt. I grew up with the Duke v. UNC rivalry, and people just didn't do stuff like that. I was in total shock. I've pretty much despised the University of Georgia and its fans ever since.

The average Georgia fan, as seen through the eyes of the average Georgia Tech fan.

Here's a two-part question, with the two parts being similar but not quite the same. First, what would you say is Chan Gailey's biggest win during his tenure at GT? Second, what would you say is his signature game -- win or loss, the game that best sums up how the Yellow Jackets have fared under his watch, the one that has kind of "set the tone" for the program?

Chan Gailey's biggest win [was] at Miami last week. After everything that happened during the week, it would have been very easy to just mail it in and go through the motions, and instead the team came out fired up and he called one heck of a game against Miami's basically NFL defense. That is GT's first win against a top-3 opponent since beating #1 UVa in 1990. We've also just had terrible results against the Florida schools in the past 15 years, with FSU owning us like UF owns Georgia. It was huge to go to Florida and get a win, especially on the recruiting front.

As for the game that sums up the Yellow Jackets under Gailey? Eh, it's not one game -- it's always a series of games. On his good days, Gailey has coached circles around Tuberville and Coker, on his bad days we've lost to NCSU and Duke. And that I guess is what is indicative, both the wins and the losses. It's maddening at times.

Tech hasn't had a losing or bowl-less season since 1996. They're in one of the biggest cities in maybe the most football-nutty region of the country. Why does it often seem like they can't fill their stadium without resorting to practically giving away tickets?

Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium on a typical fall Saturday -- rockin', rollin', and packed to the gills with red-clad fans.

Miami can't sell out the Orange Bowl to save their lives. For whatever reason, inner-city football programs really struggle to get fans in the seats -- but I'll take a stab at GT in particular.

#1 -- Elitist attitude and general disconnect between Tech alumni and the average fan. Quite frankly, GT is closer to MIT than to UGA, and that's not something the average football fan can relate to, or even wants to. It's really hard to cheer for a school whose basic attitude is "We'll take your ticket money but you wouldn't have a prayer of passing our curriculum."

#2 -- Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field is a wonderful place to watch a football game, but the campus isn't a great place to park, tailgate or have the gameday rituals that make college football so special. The average fan doesn't know how to find the Physics lot, or one of the other spread-out places that fans have found to set up at, and there's only so many trips to The Varsity you can make before you're tired of it. Tech has done a much, much better job of this recently -- it's not an ugly campus and if you know what you are doing it's a great scene, but it needs to be advertised more.

#3 -- Atlanta is a college football town, but everyone has their own teams already. There are huge alumni groups for Auburn, UGA, Tennessee, Florida and Alabama in Atlanta. Check out how many college football blogs are written by Altanta residents. On Saturday, they are either driving to their school's games or going to a sports bar to watch them -- they aren't going to GT games.

#4 -- Most importantly, UGA has been a better football team recently. Fans cheer for a winner, and the general impression is that UGA is the better football program, so the average fan has jumped on that bandwagon. During the 1950s, Dodd had Grant Field packed and rocking and Tech was the powerhouse. If Gailey can beat UGA with some regularity and put up consistent 8-win seasons, I think you'll see a bunch of "Tech fans" start popping up.

Obviously there are plenty of things you hate about Georgia fans (a feeling which I'm sure you know is heartily reciprocated from the UGA side). What's the one biggest thing you wish Georgia people would stop doing -- i.e., if you're Bulldog Nation's therapist, what's the single most annoying behavior you'd try to get them to quit?

Barking. Seriously, you look like a freaking idiot. When I tell friends that UGA fans bark, the look on their face is priceless.

Secondly, get control of the trailer-trash element of your fan base. The folks pouring beer over people, peeing off the second deck of Bobby Dodd, etc. -- those aren't UGA alumni. Those trash are a blight on your school. Yes, Tech has a few of those fans as well -- but the staggering majority of them in the state of Georgia cheer for UGA. There's a reason that if you polled the boards of every SEC school, UGA fans would be ranked at the bottom for overall behavior. Like Ohio State, the alumni and classy fans of the program need to take responsibility and tell the hooligan arm of the fan base to get lost.

The average Tech student as seen through the eyes of the average Georgia student. Note the MIT lanyard -- dream big, buddy!

Finally, answer the question every Georgia student/alum secretly wonders about: What does the typical Georgia Tech student do on a Friday night? (And does he really think he's any more cosmopolitan than his UGA counterpart?)

Plays World of Warcraft and checks out internet porn, probably! Seriously, Tech kids like to party just as much as any other collection of 20-year-olds, hell, our fight song mentions alcohol over and over. It's different than Athens, though, in that it's not a college town with a collection of bars catering to college kids, making it evident that students are out on the town. Many Tech kids go to Buckhead (or did when I was in school, other areas now I hear) or other places in and around Atlanta, but not in large cohesive groups like you see in the true college towns. Tech has also has a huge foreign student population, and they tend to keep to themselves -- so it's much less of the critical mass of popped collars and drunken sorostitutes you get in Athens.

Hey, don't knock the sorostitutes, pal. Especially when they bring the hooch.

You've got your injury, Wildcats . . . now stand by for the insult.

To inject some excitement into a football program staggeringly incapable of providing it, Lexington, Ky., radio station WKQQ came up with a novel promotional scheme. They put up a billboard of comely on-air personality "Kitten," and promised to remove an article of her clothing for every game the Kentucky Wildcats won this season.

Now, since UK won a grand total of two games last season, you could say this didn't involve a lot of assumed risk on Kitten's part. But lo and behold, on September 10 the Wildcats came from behind to beat Idaho State -- the fact that they had to come from behind against Idaho State kind of gives you an idea of what we're dealing with here -- and off came Kitten's sweater. On October 29, they beat Mississippi State, and off came Kitten's shoes. And on November 12, the 'Cats went to Nashville and held on for what was actually quite a surprising upset against Vanderbilt. So . . . off with Kitten's T-shirt, right?

Yeah, baby! Except . . . well, no, baby. Fearing backlash from a conservative Southern community, the billboard company evidently balked, and Shirtless Billboard Kitten has been forced to "cover up" with a sign directing would-be viewers to the radio station's Web site.

Love this quote . . .

"The billboard company is only looking out for the communities best interest, we completely understand and respect their concerns," said WKQQ Program Director Dennis Dillon, "but we made a pledge to the football team and we -- umm, they -- must be rewarded."

Good, upstanding fellow, that Dennis Dillon. Nevertheless, I can't help but still be a little peeved at the billboard company. In the first place, even a shirtless Kitten is probably no more risqué than any of those billboards you used to see on a regular basis featuring bikini-clad chicks enjoying a nice cold watery Coors Light. Secondly, being a Kentucky football player has to be a thankless task, and you'd think that this billboard company would have better things to do than deprive these guys of one of the few remaining joys of being a UK gridder. Well, besides having Ashley Judd at your games, and she's not shirtless. (That I know of -- if she was, hell, I'd go to their games.)

Anyway, here's the Web-only picture that was supposed to go up on the billboard. Saucy, yes, but hardly Western-civilization-toppling. You tell me if this is really all that censor-worthy.

A Hey Jenny Slater exclusive: Unauthorized screen capture from Girls Gone Wild CLXXVII: Too Hot for Lexington.

Who let the dorks out?

What? Tech's playing this weekend?!?

The weekend before Thanksgiving has been given the title "Rivalry Week" because of games like Auburn-Alabama and Michigan-Ohio State, but it ain't Rivalry Week for Georgia fans. That comes the Saturday after Thanksgiving, when Georgia and Georgia Tech tee it up -- this year for the 97th time.

For a number of reasons, many Georgia fans don't want to consider this a big rivalry. Either they don't want to give Tech the satisfaction of giving a rat's ass, or they consider SEC rivals like Tennessee or Florida bigger fish to fry. But I can admit I get more rabidly fired-up about this game -- not just about the game but at the opposing team's fans -- than most of the games on Georgia's annual schedule. Quite simply, I don't like Techies much. I don't like the fact that they still act like their school is that much harder to get into than Georgia (because of the HOPE scholarship, admissions requirements and academic standards at Georgia have been ratcheted up to the point where any differences between the two schools are pretty much negligible). I don't like the fact that they act like Athens is some hick town in the middle of nowhere, especially when you consider that the average Georgia student does more on a Tuesday night in Athens than the average Tech student does in an entire weekend with all of Atlanta nightlife at his disposal. I don't like the fact that they bitch and moan about how Georgia gets all the media attention and they're forced to accept what they perceive as also-ran status -- despite the fact that they can't be bothered to sell out their own stadium half the time.

Still, in spite of all of this, I was able to regard Techies with nothing more severe than passing disdain -- until 1999. The previous year, for my final home game as a Georgia student, I had to watch as Tech came into Sanford Stadium and beat Georgia* on a last-second field goal; in 1999, I came down to Georgia from Lynchburg, Virginia, where I was living at the time, and went into the UGA-GT game at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta looking for blood.

It was one of the craziest games I've ever witnessed: 1,097 total yards, 62 first downs, a total of 99 points scored by the time the smoke cleared. And those of us in the Georgia section in the west bleachers acted all the crazier in response. We yelled, we screamed, we chanted "Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!" whenever the Tech band got too loud for our liking, we heckled Tech's male flagline member, we sang the "Diff'rent Strokes" theme song every time Tech QB Joe Hamilton (5'9", 190 lbs.) took the field. It was glorious. We were down by 17 on two separate occasions in the third quarter but laid 24 straight points on Tech to take a 48-41 lead, our first of the game, in the fourth. Tech got another TD toward the end of regulation, but an emboldened Georgia team went right back down the field and ended up at 1st-and-goal from the Tech 2 with less than 10 seconds to go.

Jim Donnan decided to try and punch it into the end zone one last time before setting it up for a field-goal attempt. Jasper Sanks, the Pride of Columbus, up the middle. Sanks was taken down at the 2, and the ball came loose; Sanks's knee (both knees, actually) was clearly down, but the refs called . . . a fumble. GT's Chris Brown picked up the ball at the 1 and backpedaled into the end zone before being tackled by a couple Georgia guys, so . . . safety, Georgia? No. Refs call a touchback -- two unbelievably shitty calls on one play, gotta be some kind of record -- and the game goes into overtime. Tech kicked a field goal in OT (their first try was blocked, but they recovered the ball), Georgia lost the ball on an interception, and . . . game over.

Now, how many of these fellows celebrating Chris Young's "fumble" recovery do you suppose turned out to be ineligible?

I can remember seeing "Bambi" for the first time, I can remember the day my parents told me Santa wasn't real, I can remember the day my first girlfriend in high school broke up with me -- and none of those involved a heart-pulled-out-of-chest feeling anywhere near as severe as what I was feeling standing there in the west bleachers of Bobby Dodd that afternoon. Now, being fucked over in a Game To End All Games was bad enough, but the way the Techies acted afterward was worse. I'm not even talking about the way they acted directly after the game; I can understand their elation, the rush of joy that would've come from beating UGA in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1989-90. But even after the full extent of the refs' dumbassery was revealed, even after every pundit in the country had examined the tape and agreed, "Yep, he was down," the Techies continued to crow about their "win." In fact, they just crowed harder. And even those who were willing to concede the blown call blamed Jim Donnan for not going ahead and kicking the FG on first down. "You never know what might happen," they said -- apparently not realizing that if every coach played it safe for fear of a freak fumble, every team would just punt on first down every time and every game would end in a 0-0 tie.

So anyway, that's why I got a problem with Techies. Georgia got a little sweet revenge during our SEC championship season three years ago, laying the 51 points on Tech we should've had in '99. We got some additional sweet revenge last week, when Tech was slapped with probation for playing ineligible athletes and, as part of their punishment, had to "vacate" their 1998-2004 football records ? which include all three of GT's wins over Georgia in the last decade -- wiping them off the books as if the games never happened. But every time I'm tempted to think OK, the Techies have been through enough, I think back to 1999 and decide . . . nope, not quite.

My name is Inigo Montoya. You said Jasper Sanks fumbled when he didn't actually fumble. Prepare to die.

But I'm a nice guy, a reasonable guy, and I don't go around punching Tech people on the street just for looking at me funny or some such nonsense, nor have I ever stabbed one, to the best of my recollection. My anti-Tech fervor has waned somewhat over the past four years, as Mark Richt has gone undefeated against the Yellow Jackets in his UGA tenure to date -- though I'm sure there were plenty of us back in 1998 who thought Georgia's in-state reign of terror would go on forever, too. So let me just say that Techies aren't innately bad people, I've developed good friendships with some of them, I'm even related by blood to one of them, so my baseline position is that Techies are OK -- as long as they know their place.

One of those Techies who is not an innately bad person happens to be a fellow named Nathan who runs Golden Tornado, a blog primarily devoted to Georgia Tech sports. Even though, by virtue (or fault) of my Bulldog fandom, I'm just a drunk redneck guaranteed to make an ass of himself whenever he ventures out in public -- OK, some stereotypes are really rather spot-on, actually -- Nathan was kind enough to engage in a little conversation with me regarding Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Clean Old-Fashioned Hate. I sent him five questions, he sent me five, and we're publishing each other's answers this week so that the uninitiated amongst you (and even a few of the initiated) can get a bit of a closer look into what makes this rivalry tick. Nathan's already got my answers to his questions posted, and I'll be putting his answers to my questions up here in just a bit.

Of course, I haven't gone completely soft, so any olive-branch-extending as a result of this exercise will be accompanied this week by all the usual smack-talking, joke-making, and nerd-baiting I engage in every year around this time. But I'm fully confident that Nathan will be giving as good as he gets, and I wouldn't expect any less.

Thursday, November 17

Friday Random Ten,
Everything's Coming Up Milhouse! Edition.

Awwww, yeah . . . the East Asian black market ain't got nothin' on all the DVDs I'ma be piratin' with this thing.

OK, so the weekend was uniformly lousy, but things have been improving since then. Tuesday I got to meet Paul Begala at the Alabama Jefferson-Jackson Dinner here in Birmingham, and not only that, I got this girl's phone number afterward (so she lives in Washington -- pah). And guess what, you're reading the second thing I've posted on here from my new computer, a Dell Inspiron 6000 with a Pentium M processor, 60-gig hard drive, a 15.4" screen, a CD/DVD-RW drive, and wireless Web capability. You know what the best part is? I don't know what half that crap even means, but our tech guy at work (and frequent reader Bill from JC -- holla!) assured me it was the shit, so I'm going with that.

I also got my iPod, whose screen was cracked by a friend of mine earlier in the week, back from iPodResQ in Kansas after only four days out of commission, which means it's time for the Friday Random Ten:

1. U2, "Pride (In the Name of Love)"
2. Massive Attack, "Daydreaming"
3. Pet Shop Boys, "How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously?" (Extended version)
4. Groove Armada, "Chicago"
5. Avenue Q, "My Girlfriend, Who Lives In Canada"
6. Dead Kennedys, "Do the Slag"
7. Avenue Q, "The Money Song"
8. Don Henley, "The Heart of the Matter"
9. Frank Sinatra and the Count Basie Orchestra, "I've Got You Under My Skin"
10. Public Enemy, "Welcome to the Terrordome"

Not to come off as overly materialistic or anything, but you just can't understand what it was like for me to have to go iPodless for the better part of a week. I was shaking so bad that the junkies hanging around the fountain in Five Points were like, "Yo, keep your distance, motherf$#!er." But not only do I finally have it back, I've finally fulfilled my dream of having an FRT in which Frank Sinatra was followed immediately by Public Enemy. Don't believe the hype, you crazy cats!

Hopefully sweet karma is going to keep this up for the next couple weeks. A Karl Rove indictment right before Thanksgiving? That'd be great, sure. A Bulldog blowout over the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday? I won't even be able to see it -- thanks, Birmingham JP affiliate, for nothing, although I'm sure that Vanderbilt-Tennessee tilt is going to be a doozy -- but I'll take it.

I need a beatdown, though, a major 40-something-point bloodletting. Come on, Mark Richt -- as we've pointed out, you're a former FSU guy, and I want one of those patented Bobby Bowden post-loss grudge fucks like the Seminoles would always throw down on some unlucky opponent in the first game after a (very rare) loss during the 1990s. I did the numbers and found that FSU had only seven regular-season losses during Richt's tenure in Tallahassee, and in the seven games following those losses, the 'Noles won by an average score of 39-12. I want that, but even more so. Sky's the limit, people.

Tomorrow, though, it's off to Tuscaloosa, where I'll be watching the Virginia-Virginia Tech game with my mom and dad (both Virginia alums) and aunt and uncle (diehard VT fans). The game probably won't be half as entertaining as watching auntie bust Pops's balls over every good Hokie play, or watching my Mom sing the Good Ol' Song and do the Wa-Hoo-Wa dance in the unlikely event Virginia scores. Anyway, throw your own Random Ten, and any sordid tales of your own favorite football rivalry, in the comments below.

Wednesday, November 16

Scarred for life.

To all y'alls who've been reading my football rambling and still can't quite understand just what a huge effect the fortunes of a football team can have on someone, check this out. Sunday night I had three nightmares, all of them involving disasters taking place either at or near Sanford Stadium. In the third and most vivid of those, my dad, sister, and I are at Sanford on a cruddy, overcast day about to watch the Bulldogs give the business to some supermarket-brand non-conference opponent. We're in our seats in the west end zone a few minutes before kickoff when we hear the sound of jet engines overhead, and we look up to see a Gulfstream private jet, black with gold stripes down the sides, streaking over the stadium. This isn't that unusual -- Sanford Stadium is right beneath the flight path of Athens-Ben Epps Airport, and at least a half-dozen planes went over during Saturday night's game -- but this one's flying way too low and everyone in the stadium knows it. In fact, the plane has actually dipped below the upper deck of the stadium and looks like it's about to nail sections 217 and 218 when the pilot pulls up at the last minute, but he pulls up too steep, the plane stalls, and it comes plummeting to earth over the back of the stadium, crashing in a huge fireball near Gate 7 on East Campus Drive.

An aeronautical metaphor for Georgia's national-title hopes over the last three weeks.

Oh, well, no use doing any more crying over this particular spilled jug of milk. I guess I can take some small bit of consolation in this report of three guys getting arrested in Athens last Saturday for selling counterfeit tickets. Sadly, I don't think any of these guys are the specific anal wart who sold me my bogus ticket -- the story says they got tagged at 4:15 p.m., which would've been right before I made my fateful purchase, if memory serves. So I can only hope that my particular scalper took his ill-gotten gains to Techwood that night, picked up a cheap hooker, and came out of the encounter with an agonizing case of herpes. No, no, herpes isn't good enough for a guy like that. Syphilis. Yeah. That's what I'm talkin' about.

Sunday, November 13

The weekend that was, and by "was" I mean "sucked out loud."

Another chapter has been written in my lengthy history of attending the Georgia-Auburn game, and in terms of abject shittiness, this one probably beat all of them except for the '99 debacle. It wasn't just the game, although that was certainly a contributing factor. Not just the fact that we lost but the way we lost. At least when Georgia got prison-shower-raped by Auburn last year, we could just throw up our hands and say well, Auburn was an unstoppable juggernaut preordained by God to roll to 13-0 by napalming every team in their way. But not this year. Auburn was eminently beatable, and we had them beat right down to the point where they complete a 62-yard pass play on 4th-and-10 with less than two minutes left. And that, as they say, was that.

Of course, that was just one of several woulda-coulda-shouldas. If we don't commit two consecutive delay-of-game penalties on a flippin' two-point conversion try in the fourth, maybe we're up by three instead of two in the final minutes and we can still force OT by holding Auburn to a field goal. Maybe we don't repeatedly call running plays on 3rd-and-10-plus, thereby actually converting a 3rd-and-long for once. I'm not gonna turn into one of those people who jump on Mark Richt if he so much as says "Coach Martinez and me" instead of "Coach Martinez and I" in the postgame press conference, but Mark, darling, sweetie, purely platonic male love of my life, listen: Stop calling run plays on 3rd-and-17. You can't do that against a defense like Auburn's if you actually intend to convert the down. I know what you're thinking -- the D is expecting pass, so you run Thomas Brown or whoever underneath them and hope the blockers can sort out the rest -- but it takes a long time for even the best RBs to bob and weave for 17 yards, particularly when you factor in all the east-west running you're going to have to do, and you can't honestly think Auburn's LBs aren't going to figure things out and drop back out of coverage before the RB gets 17. Particularly when The Deej is launching rocket-propelled grenades right into the teeth of the Auburn secondary all night long, you've got to trust him to be able to connect on a semi-long pass like that even when the D is expecting it.

One statistic you hear about Georgia all the time -- and one that was decisively blown up by Auburn last night -- was that under Mark Richt, the Dawgs were 45-0 (coming into this game) when scoring at least 18 points. In other words, we've got one rocking-ass D, if all we need is 18 to secure a victory. But there's a flip side to that coin, and that is that during the same period, Georgia is only 5-5 when the opponent scores at least 24. What that says to me is that as comfortable as we are in low-scoring defensive struggles, we really start getting antsy when it turns into a shootout, as if our offense is squirming around going, "Awww, do we have to score that many points?" You'd think that under a coach who was the O-coordinator at FSU during a period when the 'Noles would routinely drop 60 points on an opponent and then be like, "What? Why are you all looking at me?", we wouldn't be quite so squeamish in that regard. And maybe "squeamish" isn't the right word, but again, when you're faced with 3rd-and-17 and you're calling a running play, you're certainly not giving people the impression that scoring points is a paramount concern for you.

As a former FSU guy, Mark Richt should know something about dropping mad stupid points on opponents. Yes, I realize that this picture's connection to that point is tenuous at best. Posted by Picasa

But anyway, enough Sunday-evening-quarterbacking. The real scrotum-stomper of the wekend came when I bought a ticket for my sister to go to the game with me. I'd gotten one from an Auburn friend of mine for $60, and I bought one from a scalper for $80 so that Ann would be able to go. And guess what it turned out to be? I'll give you a hint, it rhymes with "mounterfit." Yup, the ticket was a motherf$#!ing fake. So I got to wipe my ass with eighty bucks and Ann got to stay home from the game. Not that she would've enjoyed it that much had she gone, but still, that's an awfully expensive way to sit on your ass and watch the game on TV at Between the Hedges.

Already pissed about this, and then of course compounded with pissed-offedness about the game, I took my Jack-Daniels-fuelled frustrations out on the denizens of downtown Athens for the rest of the night. The best thing I can find to compare it to is this bit Dave Attell has about contracting the "lonely bug" and going out to try and find some companionship: "I go to this bar, I see a beautiful woman sitting there. I'm thinking, she's alone. I'm alone. Why not . . . annoy the shit out of her." I don' remember what all I did or said. I'm sure it wasn't the least bit charming. To the lovely blonde named Molly on the second floor of El Centro whom I hit on drunkenly/shamelessly most likely in full view of her boyfriend, all I can say is: I'm sorry. Really, really sorry.

Athens this morning was a languid, barren place, more so than I'm used to seeing it the day after a game. Ann had the best description of it I've ever heard: "The morning after a win, the town is real quiet, you can tell it's been a wild night, there's trash and shit all over the place. It's kind of like a girl who's just spent the previous night having hours of non-stop wild sex -- she's disheveled, she's tired, but it's that afterglowy, shagged-out kind of tired, she's laying back with a big smile on her face smoking a cigarette. But after a game like last night's, it's nothing like that -- she looks like hell and she's looking nervously over her shoulder, saying, 'I told you not in the butt.' " That is some Pulitzer-quality prose right there, kids. Don't even act like it's not.

Athens on one of those lovely mornings when it hasn't just been slipped a roofie and had its innocence stolen by the Auburn Tigers. Posted by Picasa

Fortunately this will probably all end up not mattering since Florida was kind enough to get punked by the Ol' Ballcoach just hours before Georgia kicked off against Auburn. But it was still a lousy centerpiece to a weekend already brimming with football-related lousiness -- UAB lost, meaning their bowl hopes are hanging by a thread that Mike Price will probably snip right in half this coming weekend, assuming he doesn't spend an undue amount of time sampling the strip clubs of Nuevo Laredo between now and then; Alabama lost, meaning we're probably not gonna get the Bama-Georgia SEC championship matchup I was not-so-secretly pining for; the Redskins lost in a fashion every bit as heartbreaking as Georgia did; and Atlanta lost to a 1-7 Green Bay team. The only saving graces were Virginia, who did an admirable job of Protecting This Howwwwse against Georgia Tech, and my fantasy football team, the Sloppy Seconds, who appear to have annihilated their opponent this week.

Shaun Alexander points to the adoring Birmingham crowd after one of the three TDs he scored for the Sloppy Seconds on Sunday. Posted by Picasa

Well, there's at least one other bit of good news, albeit non-football-related. Come the middle of this week, I will be posting to this thing using a brand-spankin'-new Dell Inspiron 6000. It's silver, baby. Silver.

Friday, November 11

Friday Random Ten, Game of the Century Edition.

OK, not game of the century, really, but certainly game of the year if you're a Georgia fan. Beat Auburn and, unless we somehow find a way to lose to Kentucky (which even Ray Goff only did once), it's off to the SEC Championship game. Lose, and we get to sit at home and root against Florida. Not that I don't do that a lot anyway, but . . . well, let's just say the first one would be a lot more fun.

Here be the Ten:

1. Cake, "Shut the Fuck Up"
2. Pet Shop Boys, "Break 4 Love" (UK radio mix)
3. Oasis, "Wonderwall"
4. Patton Oswalt, "Steak"
5. Beck, "E-Pro"
6. Paolo Conte, "Via Con Me"
7. Orbital, "I Don't Know You People"
8. Moby, "In This World"
9. Primal Scream, "If They Move, Kill 'Em"
10. James Brown, "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine)"

Now, if that's not an awesome way to end a Friday Random Ten, maybe YOU tell me what is, smart guy. As always, yours go in the comments . . .

Thursday, November 10

AU, Get Off Of My Cloud: A Southern Gothic drama in eight parts.

Georgia-Auburn '96: "You're a funny man, Robert Baker - that's why I'm going to kill you last." Posted by Picasa

Simply by virtue of being an old, heritage-rich program in a region where college-football passions run hotter than probably any other part of the country, Georgia has been blessed (or cursed) with a whole slew of rivalries that could be considered "big time." Which rival you hate most fervently kind of depends on where you're from; now, I don't view Auburn as our biggest rival, but as someone who grew up in Columbus, Georgia, right on the Alabama border and less than an hour away from the Plains, I sort of have a special place in my heart for the rivalry.

My high school always sent a bunch of kids to Auburn and a bunch to Georgia, and we'd always talk shit to each other, even before we went off to our respective schools. While UGA kids are quite secure in their knowledge that Athens kicks Auburn's ass as a college town, I've spent many an insanely fun, usually intoxicated weekend in Auburn hanging out with longtime friends and staring, jaw hanging to the ground, at the coeds there. (Sure, I'm a Georgia homer and will be until the day I die, but I'm man enough to admit that Auburn and Ole Miss are every bit Georgia's equal when it comes to the quality of the women.) And I've been to the Georgia-Auburn game every year without fail since 1997; it's the one game I make a special effort to get to even if I can't make it to any others. There's just an atmosphere around it that I enjoy; unlike Florida or Tennessee, the rivalry is one where the respect and camaraderie mostly outweigh the hate (at least from my perspective).

This weekend's Auburn-Georgia tilt is the most vital to Georgia's season hopes since the 2002 game in which we clinched the SEC East title for the first time ever. I thought I'd go back and remember a little something (when possible) from each of the eight previous Georgia-Auburn games I've been to, because there's always been something that stood out in my memory. Occasionally it's been something that would be better off repressed, but . . . well, that's SEC football for you.

November 15, 1997: The first bitter (and scalding hot, tobacco-redolent) taste of failure.
(#11 Auburn 45, #7 Georgia 34)

I can already see this is going to be a tough project, because for this game, as with so many others, I was so drunk I don't remember a whole lot. I do, however, remember being so hammered I put the lit end of a Macanudo in my mouth while we were tailgating, and right in front of the hottie from my philosophy class I wanted to ask out, no less. There was a frenzy surrounding this game because we'd just beaten Florida for the first time in forever; two weeks later, we were still so stoked over that victory that we wrote "FLORIDA SUCKS" on our tailgating vehicle and "SPURRIER SWALLOWS" on the other. That truck, incidentally, was a Blazer that my friend Temperance's roommate had purchased just a few days before -- it was red with black lower-body cladding, shit you not. We thought it was a sign. It was, but only of our overconfident asses about to get taken down a peg or two. Or fourteen. The Dawgs rocketed right down the field on the first drive and did pretty much squat after that; this was about the coldest game I've ever been to in my life, so we weren't anxious to stay for the whole thing, particularly when Auburn got up 24-7 in the second quarter. I think we left right before Georgia scored to come within 10 points right before halftime, but it didn't end up mattering. We scored on the very last play of the game to get to 45-34, and they didn't even let us kick the extra point. Not that it would've mattered anyway, but still, bastards.

There are two ends to a cigar. The end pictured here, as it is not red-hot and smoldering, is the one best suited to be inserted into your mouth. Just trust me on this one. Posted by Picasa

November 14, 1998: A vulnerable Auburn gets drunk, taken advantage of, and left crying on the sidewalk.
(#18 Georgia 28, Auburn 17)

Given that Auburn has outscored Georgia by only a single point over the totality of this 100-something-year series, an 11-point win over the Tigers would seem to be kind of a big deal. But this was the year that Auburn went 3-8 and the very Campbell's-Soup-kid-esque Terry Bowden threw in the towel and said "no mas" halfway through (replaced by his D-coordinator, historical footnote Bill Oliver, who supposedly helped plot his ouster to begin with), so we should've been able to beat Auburn by 11 with our bench. As it was, we did one of our patented UGA play-to-the-level-of-the-opponent sleepwalks, but even that was good enough to drop 527 yards on the Tigers, including an 80-yard pass play from Quincy Carter to Michael Greer (which was about as good as life would ever get for either of those guys) on the very first play from scrimmage after Auburn got their first touchdown. The game wasn't especially thrilling otherwise, and it poured rain for most of the second half, but I always relished the chance to go to Auburn, ogle the chicks, and annoy the shit out of my old high-school friend Arlana. When my friend Jon and I straggled back to her apartment after the game, the first thing we did was make a giant super-G out of beer cans right outside her front door (how many beer cans, you ask? Uh, we lost count after 30), and when her next-door neighbor complained about it and all the noise we were making, we responded by assing his doorknob. Oh, the good times you can have if you refuse to mature past age 12.

November 13, 1999: The one time in my entire life I was happy to go back to Lynchburg.
(Auburn 38, #16 Georgia 21)

Every time I tell someone my first job out of college was working at the daily paper in Lynchburg, their eyes light up and they're like, "Oooh, Lynchburg, Tennessee?" No, sweetheart, not Lynchburg Lemonade Lynchburg -- I'm talking Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Lynchburg. Kind of changes the whole meaning right there. Anyway, I spent most of my first six months in the 'Burg getting the hell out and going to Charlottesville or to ballgames all the way down in Athens, and I fully expected my first Georgia-Auburn game as a Georgia alumnus (as opposed to student) to be a gala boot party for the 4-5 Tigers. Instead, I drove all the way from fucking Lynchburg to Athens just to watch Auburn beat Georgia down like the fax machine in "Office Space," racing out to a 31-0 halftime lead and eventually pushing it to 38-0 before they switched on the autopilot and let Quincy score a few comfort TDs. That was a bad year for Georgia's defense -- we thought we'd scored a major burn on Tennessee by hiring away their defensive coordinator, Kevin Ramsey, but Ramsey turned out to be what I can only guess was a Big Orange sleeper agent who cursed Georgia with probably the most sievelike D we'd had since the Ray Goff era. Complete nobody Ben Leard somehow laid waste to our secondary for more than 400 yards; that may have been what I was most pissed about, since I had it on good authority from my Auburn friends that Leard was a total douche, but it didn't matter.

I don't know that I've ever heard Sanford Stadium as quiet and dead as it was that night -- between the eerie silence and the absolutely diarrhetic performance put on by our team, which had clearly fooled some people into thinking it was top-25 caliber, this was as close to a nightmare as I've ever experienced in waking life. We could only sit there as the very full moon hung over our heads and feel sorry for the people in our group who were Georgia seniors left only with this as their last memory of a Sanford Stadium home game. For weeks after the game, even my Auburn peeps were like, "Dude, we have no idea what the fuck happened."

If the choice is a year with Lynchburg's Favorite Son or seeing the Dawgs down 38-0 to the Tigers, I'll still take this jackbag. Posted by Picasa

November 11, 2000: Once again, the Leard has forsaken me.
(#23 Auburn 29, #13 Georgia 26, OT)

One of the more ubiquitous storylines in the Georgia-Auburn series of late has been the Curse of the Non-Existent Home-Field Advantage -- from 1992 to 2002, the home team won only once. So I figured that in '00, Georgia would exact their revenge for the previous year's humiliation, and when Terreal Bierria turned around a Ben Leard pass for a 75-yard pick-six midway through the first quarter, I thought it was on like Donkey Kong. "Eat it, Leard," I said to myself, which warmed my vindictive little Georgia heart even as I sat freezing my tits off up in the northeast corner of Jordan-Hare's upper deck. Georgia went up 13-0 before Auburn receiver Tim Carter got his central nervous system rearranged by a hit from Tim Wansley right before halftime; the game was delayed nearly 20 minutes while Carter was examined and ambulanced off the field, but that injury apparently lit a fire under the Tigers, whose field goal as time expired in the second quarter was the first of 23 straight points they proceeded to lay on us. Cory Phillips, thrown into the game at QB because Quincy was hurt, succeeded in bringing us back and forcing overtime, but we could only manage a field goal in the first OT; Auburn, on the other hand, rode Rudi Johnson (who'd been raping and pillaging us the entire night) down to the 1 yard line and then popped Leard over the top for the TD and the win. Punked by The Leard Almighty once again. I can't promise y'all with any certainty that if I ever see Leard just walking down the street, I won't just go Michael-Douglas-in-"Falling Down" on his ass right there and get arrested. I'd like to, but I can't.

Phillips has provided effective, stimulant-free relief of constipation for over 125 years; unfortunately, it has never beaten Auburn. Posted by Picasa

I was, however, able to console myself with a certain irony concerning Phillips and Auburn's backup QB, Daniel Cobb. Cobb had originally been a Bulldog but was beat out by His Quincyness for the starting QB job before the '98 season; he decided to take his ball and go home, or rather to some community college in Kansas, where he (and, incidentally, Rudi Johnson) were bogarted by the Tigers on one of their patented JUCO raids in 1999. Cobb wasted no time taking a comfy back seat to Ben Leard, and thus saw no playing time against Georgia in the '00 game. But Quincy's backup, Phillips, played every down. So if Cobb had just stuck around Athens instead of transferring, he would've probably been the starter against Auburn in that game. Not that I'm complaining; Cobb was, to steal a phrase from Homer Simpson, one of the suckiest quarterbacks who ever sucked. Yet he somehow managed to finagle approximately 39 years of eligibility out of the NCAA and is probably pounding Ensures at the old QBs' home with Chris Weinke as we speak.

November 10, 2001: Dear Mark Richt, If "Jasper Sanks" is the answer, it was a stupid question.
(Auburn 24, #21 Georgia 17)

Next in the long history of Georgia getting punked by lesser-ranked Auburn teams is the 2001 game, Mark Richt's first meeting with Auburn as the Dawgs' new head coach. This game featured one of David Greene's finest moments, nay, one of the finest moments for any college quarterback ever -- first quarter, less than a minute into the game, Dawgs at their own 33, Greene appears to hand the ball off to Musa Smith, then strolls casually back to about the 25. Only thing was, he still had the ball. The most beautiful, perfect fake I've seen in my life -- the entire Auburn defense bit on it, the coaching staff bit on it, I'm pretty sure people in China bit on it. You could've checked your e-mail, gone into the kitchen, microwaved a pizza, and come back to the TV in the time it took Auburn to realize Musa didn't have the friggin' ball. At one point Tommy Tuberville was actually screaming at his players from the sideline to get the fuck up off Musa and go tackle Greene. But Greene turned around just in time to see the entire Auburn D bum-rushing him and launched a breathtaking 67-yard cruise missile to Fred Gibson for six.

I (and pretty much everyone else in the stadium, Auburn and Georgia fans alike) thought the game was in our hands at that point, but a 14-7 halftime lead degenerated into a 17-14 deficit by the start of the fourth. Sixteen seconds left, Dawgs down by seven, no timeouts left, a beautiful reception by Terrence Edwards has us at the Auburn 1, and Mark Richt calls . . . a Jasper Sanks run up the middle. Not that this was Jasper's fault, mind you, but you got to dance with them that brung ya, and the one that brung us to a 5-2 record, an upset of Tennessee, and a top-25 ranking in Richt's first year was David Greene -- not Jasper Sanks, a Columbus (w00t) product who went from Parade All-American to pot-possession charge to dismissed from the team so fast his "Behind the Music" special would be shorter than the commercials. I got to watch Richt's epic brain fart from the vantage point of the very end zone Sanks was trying to bust into; Georgia tried to line up for one more shot but didn't have enough time, and thus the game ended not with a bang but with a whimper. Knowing the astronomical pickiness of the typical Georgia fan, somewhere in Bulldog Nation there's a guy (one of those old-schoolers who will never be satisfied until Vince Dooley is brought back as Georgia's head coach) who's sitting there waiting for Richt to be fired for bringing us only one SEC title in his first four years as coach, and in the unlikely event that that happens, the Sanks run will be the moment he holds up on his blog as what he just knew was "the beginning of the end" for Richt.

A rare shot of the Pride of Columbus managing not to get stuffed at the line. Posted by Picasa

November 26, 2002: With all due respect to the birth of Jesus...
(#7 Georgia 24, #24 Auburn 21)

...this was the greatest thing to have ever happened, ever. Yet as with so many of my football-game-watching experience, it began by putting on a slinky red dress, sidling up to the bar, and flirting shamelessly with the handsome but darkly mysterious gentleman named Disaster. My sister's then-fiancee, an Auburn student, had hooked me and two of my Georgia friends up with tickets to the game, but they weren't all together, and we weren't sure whether we could get away with trying to sneak everyone into the same section. As it turned out, the chaos at Jordan-Hare that evening was such that we probably could have brought a keg, a couple strippers, and a truckload of illegal Mexican immigrants into our section without arousing any suspicion, but Kristen and Mark still ended up sitting on the complete opposite end of the stadium from my sister, her fiancee, and me. It was overcast and wicked cold that day, and by the end of the first quarter it was probably even more frigid than the '97 and '00 games; there was a hellacious wind battering us in the upper deck, which only added to the Ice Station Zebra ambience. The first half was a stomach-turner -- with Terrence Edwards hurt, our offense didn't do much of anything, and we were staring at a 14-3 deficit at halftime. The Auburn fans surrounding us looked at my red-and-black-clad sister and me and smelled blood; they had been good and riled up by Auburn's first-half dominance, and when the concession stands ran out of hot chocolate during halftime, the mood, as they say, turned from angry to fearful.

Georgia finally mustered some offense and came back in the second half to pull within 21-17, but the fourth quarter was one of the most awe-inspiring, agonizing, tense trench battles I've ever witnessed. Auburn, three-and-out; Georgia, three-and-out; lather, rinse, repeat. Then, finally, Georgia moved down to the Auburn 14 but got hung up by three incomplete passes and a false-start flag. Fourth-and-15 from the 19, minute and a half left, it's either get the first down or lose the SEC East title we'd thought was ours all season long (and to Florida, no less). The play was called 70-X-Takeoff: David Greene drops back, he's going for everything, and he gets it -- a 19-yard pass to Michael Johnson in the corner of the end zone, touchdown. My sister's fiancee later began referring to it as "70-X-Pushoff," but face it, Auburn's Horace Willis just plain jumped too early and fell on his ass (earning him a 0.1-point deduction from the Swiss judge). We then stopped Tre Smith at the Georgia 43 on Auburn's last-gasp drive, and that was it: We'd clinched our first-ever SEC East title, and I don't know that I've ever felt as good leaving a stadium as I did that day. Just as Georgia grads from the early '80s tell their kids about being in Jacksonville in 1980 to witness Lindsay Scott Lindsay Scott Lindsay Scott, I have a feeling I'm going to be regaling my own kids with the story of "the prayer on the Plains."

70-X-Takeoff: Learn it, love it, live it. Posted by Picasa

November 15, 2003: Dude, you're getting Odell'd.
(#6 Georgia 26, Auburn 7)

This, you'll recall, was the year in which Auburn was anointed as a preseason juggernaut by everyone and his brother (including The Sporting News, who ranked them #1) but proceeded to do a face-plant right out of the gate, scoring a total of 3 points in their season-opening games against USC and Georgia Tech before finally getting their heads on somewhat straight. Still, even though Georgia was a top-10 team coming into this game and Auburn was 6-4 and not top anything, I was worried -- the game was at home, where we'd not performed particularly well against the Tigers in the past, and since annihilating Tennessee up in Knoxville earlier in the season, we'd put together three godawful offensive performances in a row (ugly win at Vandy, squeaker homecoming win over UAB, the customary loss to Florida). Our offense in this one was satisfactory as opposed to amazing, but our defense straight-up posterized Auburn and their supposedly unstoppable RB combo of Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown; of course, this was mainly due to a dim-bulb coaching staff that gave them only four rushes in the first half for a total of 6 yards. Kind of ironic when you remember that Tommy Tuberville (who, if he were a flavor of ice cream, would be pralines and dick) had needled Mark Richt about perhaps "running the ball more" after Richt's head-slapper of a play call to end the 2001 game.

Georgia entered the fourth quarter with a 19-0 lead, but Auburn made it down to the 2 yard line about four minutes in; however, their last chance to score points that would've mattered was stopped by Odell Thurman, who snatched Jason Campbell's pass out of the air at the 1 and rumbled 99 awe-inspiring yards for the fuck-you touchdown that for all intents and purposes ended the game. (Which was actually the second time that season that we'd taken a turnover and reversed it more than 90 yards for a score.) Paul Westerdawg and The Drizzle are quite accurate when they recall the Georgia crowd as being louder for Odell's pick-six than it's perhaps ever been; the place was already aircraft-carrier-landing-deck loud when Odell picked off the pass, and by the time he was in the opposite end zone, corpses were getting out of their graves at Oconee Hill Cemetery telling us to quiet the fuck down. (By the way, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the "you're getting Odell'd" line was stolen from my fellow Bulldog DAve, who is quite often cleverer than I.)

November 13, 2004: Uh, apparently we don't want beef with Tubby.
(#3 Auburn 24, #5 Georgia 6)

Ugh, hell of a way to end this thing. I've already gone on at length about how this was an awful game I knew we were destined to lose about five minutes in; really nothing else of note to say about a game in which the unstoppable Auburn juggernaut laid waste to the Dawgs just like they did to everyone else that year, so I'll simply look back fondly on the fact that I was at least able to bring a smokin' hot ex-New Yorker to Auburn with me and give her her very first taste of an SEC gameday, and leave it at that. While, of course, hoping that the outcome of this weekend's game is nothing at all like last year's.

So I guess the final tally for this retrospective is Auburn 5, Georgia 3 -- not great. But maybe we'll be able to inch a little closer to evening the score after this weekend. And if that results in me getting to console a carload of disenchanted Auburn Tri-Delts afterward, so much the better, just keep me away from the cigars.

By the way, now is probably as good a time as any to plug Kyle on Football, the red-and-black-to-the-core Weblog of fellow UGA alumnus T. Kyle King. Kyle is also a fellow alumnus of The Red & Black, the award-winning independent student newspaper at UGA -- he'd moved on before I really started writing a bunch of stuff for them, so there's a good chance he doesn't have the foggiest idea who I am, but his blog is still worth reading, especially if you're looking for exhaustively researched, stat-packed previews of each week's Georgia matchup. He runs the numbers so you don't have to.

Tuesday, November 8

It followed my referral log home. I don't want to keep it.

I like to think I know stuff about stuff, but I don't even pretend to think I'm anything more than a drooling idiot when it comes to computers, the Internet, or their attendant capabilities. So can someone tell me how the crap this popped up as one of the sites referring visitors here?

(Don't click on the link. Don't. Click. On the link. Just move your mouse pointer over the hyperlink, make note of the URL that appears in your status bar, and move on.)

Don't even come around here frontin' that A&F crap unless you want my Gap style to tax that ass.

I think it's time to call a spade a spade and treat Abercrombie & Fitch for what it really is: a tool of the fuckin' devil. Honestly, if the producers of "The Devil's Advocate" had been looking for something a little less on-the-nose than "lawyer" for Al Pacino's character to be, they would've chosen "marketing executive for A&F." OK, maybe "handmaids of the Prince of Lies" is a little strong as comparisons go, but at the very least A&F is the kids who try to get their mom to watch them do some stupid little dance while she's trying to talk on the phone, and when she doesn't pay attention they break into the utility closet and set the house on fire.

Aberblahblah's latest attempt to permanently establish themselves as the most blatantly tasteless clothing line in America: a series of T-shirts bearing slogans like "Who needs a brain when you have these?" Now, before any of my fellow big-boob-lovin' Neanderthal males start worrying that I've gone soft, I want to make it clear that my opposition to these shirts is not in any way related to not liking big boobs or the women who have them. Big boobs, the vast majority of the time, are awesome. But any woman who would publicly advertise her intent to coast through life on her gazongas is a woman to run away from just as fast as you'd run away from a mushroom cloud or an Ashlee Simpson concert. (Seriously, has anyone found a use for Ashlee Simpson other than something to hold the camera while you're getting your freak on with Jessica? I'm just asking.) Not to mention that actual hot chicks with breathtaking chests will probably never wear these shirts because they don't need to wear these shirts, leaving them instead for the high-school mall trash who hold up Tara Reid as a "strong female role model" and lack the life experience to understand that a) 25 pounds overweight + tight T-shirt and lowrider jeans = gouge my eyes out and b) wearing a T-shirt that says "Hottie" does not make you a hottie, it only makes you someone who has to shout "I said, I am SOOOO DRUNK!" in order to so much as get heavy-petted at Trip Cameron's after-prom party.

As Elisha Cuthbert and her plain white shirt demonstrate, true hotness don't need to advertise. Posted by Picasa

But back to the nature at hand (perfection is perfected so I'ma let 'em understand). This is just the latest offense in a long line of humanity-debasing, soul-deadening sins committed by Abercrombie & Fitch, including, but not exclusive to:

· Those bad-imitation-of-soft-porn catalogs that forced you to check out numerous bare male asses if you so much as wanted to see which trouser styles were in that season.

· The T-shirts they sold that reinforced racist stereotypes of Asians (and their subsequent claims that "We personally thought Asians would love this T-shirt").

· T-shirts featuring the image of a gymnast and the phrase "L is for loser" shortly after the 2004 USA women's gymnastics team failed to win a gold medal. (I actually didn't know about this until I read the Newsday article linked above.)

Fuck with Mohini Bhardwaj, will you? You've just written your own death warrant, pal. Posted by Picasa

· The thong underwear they created -- and this is really the height of utter revulsion here -- for girls as young as ten years old that featured words like "eye candy" and "wink wink" on the crotch.

And I haven't even gotten into that song "Summer Girls" that came out in 1999, the one with the line that went "I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch" -- now, I can't prove it, but you don't have to be a Lee-Harvey-Oswald-was-framed conspiracy theorist to surmise that some money changed hands between A&F and the group that recorded the song. That group's name was LFO (which evidently stood for "Lyte Funky Ones," and that's a firing-squad-worthy offense right there), and if you don't remember who the hell that is, "Summer Girls" is the reason -- quite possibly the worst pop song ever recorded. (And no, I haven't forgotten about Gwen Stefani driving the last nail into the coffin containing her good reputation with that "Hollaback Girl" crap. That shit is retarded, R-E-T-A-R-D-E-D, retarded.) In addition to the blatant whoring for Abercrombie & Fitch, "Summer Girls" contained lines such as:

Hip-hop marmalade spic-and-span,
Met you one summer and it all began
You're the best girl that I ever did see,
The great Larry Bird jersey 33
When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet
Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets

OK, that is just somebody drinking a Red Bull and barfing some words out onto a page right here. You know those improv-comedy deals where someone shouts out "Ted Kennedy," someone shouts out "gene splicing," and someone shouts out "the Taj Mahal," and the actors have to come up with a skit on the fly containing all three of those things? "Summer Girls" was basically that, only with lame white-boy pseudo-hip-hop instead of comedy. Here we are telling this girl how fine she is, now we're hanging a richard and name-checking Larry Bird. Now we're name-checking Shakespeare but calling him "Billy." I could go on but I'm too afraid Kevin Federline is reading this as we speak, taking notes.

The cornrows, the oversized shades, the insouciantly poised cigarette -- it can all add up to only one thing: K-Fed would just as soon kill you as look at you. Posted by Picasa

Anyway, though it appears that the "girlcott" (OK, call me lame, I think that's cool) against A&F might be over now that they've pulled the offending look-at-my-titties shirts, I don't think we should be ending this so hastily. They may have pulled this latest travesty off the shelves, but if history is any guide, they're only going to come up with something worse within a year's time, and not only that but we may be subjected to some shitty pop group singing a song about it. I say we keep the boycott/girlcott/humancott going until Abercrombie & Fitch has been wiped off the face of the earth. I'm sorry if this bears a suspiciously "final solution" taint to it, but I'm all about some economic cleansing if it means none of my daughters, should I ever be fortunate enough to have any, will ever be tempted to let any of their male fifth-grade classmates read the words "eye candy" emblazoned across their prepubescent cooches.

In the meantime, check this Pandagon post in which Amanda Marcotte, who I'm really starting to wish a) lived closer than Austin, Texas, and b) was closer to my girlfriend, passes along some alternatives to A&F's T-shirt slogans. My favorite, of course, being Amanda's own "Will pretend to be stupid for some cock." I'm actually surprised that hasn't already popped up at a shopping mall somewhere in a big Southeastern suburb, in completely non-ironic context, of course.