GT - UGA Preview

Insults fly and tempers rise around this time of year when two teams that don't like each other one bit meet again. This year a 9-2 Georgia team headed to the SEC Championship game meets a 8-3 Georgia Tech team that's been a bit of a side recently but hopes to end the year on a high note with a victory over their rival.

Good, Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. That's what's on the plate this week. There's no love lost between these two schools and their respective fanbases. It's a series that started in 1893 and sits at 61-39-5 in favor of UGA. Paul Johnson is 1-2 in his time at Georgia Tech and Mark Richt is 9-1. Tech fans are hoping that starts to trend the other way around with the Bulldogs trip to Bobby Dodd Stadium this year.

Even though the records are similar with UGA at 9-2 and the Jackets at 8-3, this is a game where records don't matter that much. There's always a tension in the air when these teams meet. This Saturday both teams will lay their best foot forward and try to grab bragging rights for the next year.

Tevin Washington and the Jackets seemed to have got the passing game going again this past weekend at Duke. They'll need that to be successful in order to move down the field. It helps that Orwin Smith and Stephen Hill have been cleared, but Georgia presents a difficult task. On the success of their recruiting Georgia's defense has taken a huge step forward this year. They have both size and speed that few of Tech's opponents can rival. With the ability to clog up the middle with Jon Jenkins the 3-4 defense has the speed to flank the Jackets down in their east to west game. If the Jackets can execute then they'll try and keep the Bulldogs off balance and out of position in order to hit the big plays.

The Jackets will need to corral their defense as well in order to keep the Georgia offense bottled up. Aaron Murray is likely going to be the 1st team SEC quarterback and, while they don't have one superstar, they have a lot of guys that can make plays. Freshmen Isaiah Crowell and Malcolm Mitchell are impact players. Orson Charles is one of the best, if not the best, tight end in the nation. The Jackets have slid some in games against Virginia Tech and Duke and will need to solidify the front and hold their assignments in the secondary to get a victory on the Flats.

This game means a lot to both teams. Georgia may have LSU in the SEC Championship next week, but UGA fans will be severely disappointed if they lose. Tech fans always want to beat Georgia and especially after the Bulldog's recent dominance. It's been a long time since the Jackets have beaten the Bulldog's on their home field. Perhaps Saturday will change that.

To the fans, this game means everything. It's bragging rights. It's recruiting advantages. It's superiority for a year. Tech fans and Georgia fans go to school and work with each other every day. The simultaneous elation and ire caused by Coach Johnson's comments this week have been proof that both red and gold blood begin to boil this week. To the fans, this is more than a game. ACC and SEC implications are off the table. This is just Good, Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.

Who: Georgia Bulldogs (HC Mark Richt) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (HC Paul Johnson)
When: Saturday November 26th, 2011 @ 12:00 am (ESPN)
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta, GA

NOTES

  • What's the good word?
  • Crowell suffered an injury last week but is expected to play this week.
  • Orwin Smith and Stephen Hill have been cleared for this game.


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