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.


Anonymous said...

From a current Tech student, to answer the "What do you do on Friday?" question.

Usually go to house parties. The party scene at GT is much more house-party oriented than Athens, because as Nathan said, Atlanta is not a college town. We don't have a lot of walking-distance bars like Athens does.

And, another typical Friday/Saturday night activity is... going to Athens. Everyone's got buddies at Georgia, and it's no secret that the honies there are hotter and more plentiful than in Atlanta. Does it make me feel bad to cross enemy lines for my partying? Not at all. I just like to look at it as, when I enjoy y'all's stuff, I'm carpetbagging the wealth away from UGA, so Tech still wins. I know that's poor, but as you said on the other blog "whatever helps [me] sleep at night."

Oh yeah, and going to bars in Athens is way cheaper than going to Buckhead, even after gas if I split it with buddies. Gotta love the competitive alcohol market in college towns.

Josh M. said...

There's yet another mention of UGA fans urinating off the top of the Tech stadium - even though it never happened. Just like at the Tech/Maryland game a couple seasons ago, in which a lot of Georgia fans went dressed in their Saturday best. The Hive was abuzz the next day about the redneck hick Georgia fans who were hurling four-letter words and racial epithets at the Tech student section and players the entire game... Trouble is, I was right in the middle of that rowdy UGA group, and nothing even remotely like that was said.

Tech fans have a mighty big persecution complex. I guess it fits very well with their inferiority complex and their virginity complex.

Josh M. said...

Oh yeah, why were Georgia fans at the Tech/Maryland game? Because Tech can't sell out their freakin' high school stadium, and sold the Maryland tickets in a 3-game package along with the UGA game (the same thing they did this year, in fact - which is how I got my tickets for Saturday). Since the game was on Thursday, we all thought it would be fun to watch a good college game. Predictably, it wasn't good, and it more closely resembled a Special Olympics football game than college.

Nathan said...

Heck, you won't hear me complain about UGA fans at BDS, well - at least until we consistently sell the damn thing out ourselves. If you want to spend your money to help our athletic program, that's fine with me. When we don't have to resort to selling mini-packs, then I'll understand being mad to see UGA fans in the stands.

As for peeing off the upperdeck, it's a pretty commonly told story, and actually got some news coverage at one point (IIRC). If it's false, I appologize - but I've seen plenty of boorish fan behavior (see: Braves game) to not be surprised by anything the redneck trash element of the UGA fan base does.

Anonymous said...

Uga fans have, and probably will continue to urinate on opposing fans. I know someone who had it happen to them. If you don't believe me, check this quote from the AJC, (12/23/03):

"I've had calls for guys that were standing at the top of the stadium, in the 300- and 400-level seats, urinating over the top of the [seating area] . . .," said UGA police Chief Chuck Horton.

Things such as that don't happen at every game, but they happen too often, Horton said. "I don't know that I'd bring a small child in there."

But I guess thats just another lie perpetrated by elitest Tech fans...


Nathan said...


Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Dammit, that lying son of a bitch Horton told me he wasn't going to say anything to the press when he took me in.

ACG said...

Nathan, good points all, but I believe your "fight song that talks about alcohol over and over" is probably offset by your "other song that talks about being a hellofa, hellofa, hellofa, hellofa, hell of an engineer over and over and over and over and over." A little more emphasis on the alcohol, a little less on the engineering, at least for football purposes, is all I'm sayin'.

And savor the beer shower. Just consider how shiny and full of body your hair was afterward.

Josh M. said...

"I swear, it totally happened to my ex-girlfriend's brother's cousin's 2nd cousin's friend's roommate. Who also saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night."

Nathan said...

And savor the beer shower. Just consider how shiny and full of body your hair was afterward. ---

Actually, I just took pleasure in the fact that the guy spent probably half his weekly income on that beer, just to waste it on me.