There Are Matters Of Importance, And Then There Are Priorities

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

There are certain priorities in life which much be addressed despite the day to day distractions that cloud the picture of what is really important.  With national political conventions, state primaries and runoffs, and general election campaign activities, I have been remiss in addressing the seasonal priority that has until today been slighted in this space.  The Georgia Bulldogs are already 2-0 in this still young football season.

It seemed like two weeks ago that the weather became cooler just after the mass of people converged at the hedges in Sanford Stadium, though the only thing cool during that game was the performance of the team shaking off cobwebs.  The weather was hot, UGA’s performance against Buffalo left a bit to be desired.  The margin of victory was still comfortable.

Last week, UGA traveled to Missouri to be their welcome wagon from the SEC.  Despite a close first half, UGA reminded the fan base what we like about college football during the second half.  As a 43 year old alum of the school, I was strangely comfortable watching our version of “old man football” take care of business.  I also continue to laugh at the thought of 6 remaining legacy SEC teams who may want to have a word with Missouri’s defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to make sure he understands what “old man football” is all about. 

Richardson seemed to already have the message and a better understanding of what the term “bulletin board material” means.  He reportedly sought out UGA coach Mark Richt after the game to say he meant no disrespect, and had a lot of respect for the team.

Some Missouri fans apparently appreciated the Georgia welcoming committee enough to purchase an ad UGA’s Red and Black newspaper thanking them for coming to town and beating their beloved Tigers.  The ad as reported through the AJC reads:

“Our thanks to all of you Georgia Bulldog fans! What a terrific bunch of visitors you were – friendly, gracious and fun. We don’t like to lose around here, but both of our teams played an undeniably exciting and awesome game! You gave us an unforgettable first game in the SEC, and we thank you for that. We hope you enjoyed your visit to mid-Missouri, and look forward to seeing you next time.

Best Wishes from the fans & residents of Tiger Town, USA.”

Missouri, not exactly a traditionally southern state, may be confused as to the expectation of southern manners.  It is tricky, but in football season it is usually the other way around.  We can feign some pleasantries leading up to a game, only to be dog cussing you and your team by the time the game is done.  UGA, after all, has a century plus long rivalry known as “Clean Old Fashioned Hate”, and that isn’t even a conference game anymore.

I can only conclude that Missouri’s honeymoon with the SEC will eventually evolve into the reality of the marriage they have just entered.  It’s not that they’ll likely want a divorce.  They much more likely will lie awake at night wishing the schools that become their conference rivals will die in their sleep.

As for UGA, there’s three weeks ahead of home football games.  Saturday brings what should be a tune up scrimmage against Florida Atlantic.  The following weeks bring conference rivals from Vanderbilt and Tennessee.  Interestingly, Vandy is no longer the laugher conference game dubbed for homecoming.

That “honor” has fallen to Ole Miss this year.  While their football program is not in its best years, they remain a great group of people who know how to tailgate.  That’s the closest to a thank you add I can muster for a conference rival.

Weekdays for the next two months will remain the property of the various campaigns that are vying for all of our time.  But for now, the weekends belong to football. After all, to quote a recent GOP convention speaker, “a man’s got to have his priorities.”

25 comments

  1. Calypso says:

    I still having trouble remembering that Arkansas and USC are in the SEC. I guess it’ll be another 20 years before I acknowledge Missouri and Texas A&M as members of the conference. And Missouri in the SEC East, at that. Kinda like when the Braves were in the NL West. Somebody musta had their map cattywampus when they were figuring out who goes where.

    • I remember those 9:05, 10:05 start times when the Braves were on a West Coast trip.

      While the ACC has stayed (so far) within the states that border the Atlantic Coast, it is still a long haul from Boston to Miami (~1,500 miles). Georgia Tech was an original member of the SEC, but they left in 1964. They were independent until 1978, when they joined the ACC.

      • Calypso says:

        Did you read that Notre Dame is joining the ACC in everything save for football (but how far behind can that be)?

        • bgsmallz says:

          Interestingly (or not interesting at all depending on your perspective)…Most folks think the Braves were in the NL West because they were in Milwaukee.

          However, the NL wasn’t divided into divisions until 1969, a full 3 years after the Braves moved to Atlanta. And the original divisions made little sense…

          Atlanta, San Diego, LA, Cincinnati, Houston and San Fran in the West; New York, Chicago, Montreal, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Philly in the East.

          My understanding is that they didn’t want to split up Chicago and St. Louis and that New York refused to play in a division without the Cardinals. Thus Cincy and Atlanta getting stuck in the West despite being east of Chicago and STL. (Oh…and they won the first NL West pennant in 1969).

          • bgsmallz says:

            “Georgia Tech has some history with Notre Dame”- Translation…we got beat bad enough by them in the 70s that we were the only team Rudy was able to actually play against.

            • Ken says:

              I’m not a Techie, BUT I remember Tech “beating” Notre Dame 3 – 3 which put the Dawgs in a position to win the national title. This is a tie that I’m sure some tech fans regret. LOL

              • John Vestal says:

                Regret?…nah. I have been told by multiple reliable sources that I had quite the enjoyable time in the front row of the Upper East at Grant Field. :>)

                That was also the ‘trial-by-fire’ game for freshman TE-turned-QB Ken Whisenhunt.

  2. Self_Made says:

    That ad was a warning. They’ll be in Athens next year…after a full year of “SEC hospitality”
    …hellbent on showing you THEIR manners.

    • David C says:

      It’s funny how positively chipper they’re trying to be all positive, pleasant and friendly in this SEC move. I know Kansas fans who’ve been spat on and had beer and urine thrown at them for daring to attend a KU-MU basketball game in Columbia. If there was still a “Border War” you’d see how nasty the Missouri folks really get when it comes to their college athletics.

      • TheEiger says:

        Obviously you have never been to a real SEC game. I’ve been to Death Valley in LA and had a 8 year old boy tell me to go to “bad word ending in ing” hell. It will take Mizzou awhile to become a true trash talking SEC team.

  3. saltycracker says:

    Unless there is no difference of opinion on travel expenses in your household, many of you won’t be making some games. I’m not even bringing the question up.
    Do the players get to keep their frequent flyer points or are all trips on a charter ?

  4. I Miss the 90s says:

    Well…Missouri was a slave state. That does give it more in common with the South.

    I do not follow football, but including it with a bunch of states that have centuries of history enslaving a race of people and then terrorizing them after emancipation makes MO more southern than American…so give it to them.

    “God” knows the economy would be better off if human capital was not wasted watching grown men run a ball across a field…and the university systems would be better off if they did not have to play farm league for the NFL.

      • I Miss the 90s says:

        Considering that those “great civilizations” were dictatorships I would caution against referring to democratic citizens as cattle.

        Humans do need recreation, that is true.

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