Friday, August 25, 2006

It Was The Worst Of Times.

The other day I went to the Comcast office to turn in my digital cable box and remote - thanks to the FSC/Setanta BS I just ditched everything but basic cable and decided to go the pub route for footy. As I was standing in line looking at the scuffed, bruised and battered remote in my hand I was reminded of the Georgia-Auburn game from last year, because after they completed that 4th & 31 to beat us I grabbed this very remote and threw it as hard as I could directly at the cast iron radiator in my apartment, where it promptly shattered into about 13 pieces; one of the batteries flew clear across the room and went out the open window. Somehow my sister was able to piece it back together, a feat of engineering not seen since the rescue of Apollo 13. Interestingly this was the 2nd Comcast remote to get the death toss. The first was in 1999 when a last minute long pass by Central Florida down to our 10 meant that for certain we were about to lose at home to UC freaking F. I grabbed the remote and spiked it as hard as I could into the ground -it only shattered into about 6 pieces, and I was able to put it back together, albeit not in it's original state. In a miracle they suddenly remembered that they were UCF and thanks to their utter ineptitude we escaped with an embarrassing 24-23 win. Amazingly, Comcast accepted both remotes back no questions asked.

Like this, but with a giant scuff mark
like on your golf ball after it hit the cart path,
some other scuff marks, and a considerbale gap
on the left side where the top and bottom
are supposed to fit together seamlessly.

Anyhow, I started thinking about how gutted I felt after that game, but at least I wasn't there in person, because that would have been 1000 times worse, especially considering that I would have flown 2500 miles to see it and had to fly 2500 miles home thinking about it (fortunately I chose to fly to ATL for the SEC Championship destruction of LSU, which was well worth the trip).

Where was I? Ahh, yes - feeling gutted. So then I started thinking about games that I attended in person, trying to determine which one left me the most gutted.

A Mexican fan's reaction to El Tricolor going out
of World Cup 2006 to Argentina pretty much sums it up

Plain and simple: what is the most gutted that you have ever felt after attending a college football game of your favorite team? A game watched on TV does not count.

For me, Tennessee in 93, 94, 97, 98 Florida 94, 95, 96, 98, 99 and Auburn 99 don't count. Even though they were horribly depressing and gutting in their own way, we were completely dominated from the beginning and never had any chance to win the game. Having said that, here are my top (or bottom) 10:

1. 1993 Georgia 26-33 Florida
The flood game, and the last "real" cocktail party (before the stadium renovation) where the whole stadium was bleachers and the opposing fans were seperated into quarters instead of halves. Water halfway up car doors as we walk into the stadium. Zeier had something like 786 completions on 1289 attempts, and Shannon Mitchell caught 187 balls himself. At the very end we scored a TD only to find out that UF CB Anthone Lott called timeout before the snap - as frustrating as that was, it was legit; I saw it happen live and knew the play would be called back as my friends were celebrating. So then we score a 2nd TD, and this one is disallowed because our wideout lands out of bounds, even though it is plainly obvious that he caught the ball inbounds and was pushed out. The 3rd time we come oh-so-close to scoring a 3rd TD in a row but it is all for naught. Unlike 1992, which was just an epic battle where we came up short, this felt like we got jobbed unjustly, and after sitting in the pouring rain all day only to get jobbed at the end, having the Gator players come over to our student section and taunt us was the cherry on top of the pissed off sundae. With my 1st two exposures to the cocktail party being the back-to-back heartbreak losses in 92 & 93, I was off and running with a healthy hatred of the Gators. Amazingly, I attended every cocktail party between 1992 and 2000 except 1997, when my job in the WKU athletic dept. prevented me from being able to go. Unbelieveable.

2. 1995 Tennessee 30-27 Georgia
After witnessing in person the losses to Tennessee in 92, 93, and 94, this one was an enormous kick in the nuts. We were rolling and Robert Edwards had 200+ yards rushing but then broke his foot early in the 2nd half. Late on Brice Hunter dropped an easy wide open pass the would have given us 1st and goal. Instead we settled for a 50 yard FG try that Dax Langley missed by about a foot, and then UT kicked a game winning FG with less than 30 seconds to play. Totally gutted; I remember saying in a drunken haze to Solon and others: "Remember this. Remember how shitty this feels, because it will make it that much sweeter when we finally beat those fuckers." Little did I know there would be 4 more consectuive losses in a row before we finally did beat them. The one solace of the weekend was some excellent female companionship; it certainly could have been worse - I could have had Solon's night.

3. 1999 Georgia Tech 51-48 Georgia (OT)
The Fumble that wasn't. Tapley and I scored tickets and we sat in the end zone where the crime occurred. I remember 3 other random things from that day: the "It's StinGTime" yellow T-shirts that they Tekkies wore were the weakest things I had ever seen, I had to go all the way up to the concourse above the west stands to get a coke, which is ridiculously far for any stadium that considers itself anything but Mickey Mouse, and I almost got in a fight on the way back to the car because some arrogant Tech frat fucker got in my face and kept screaming in my face that they beat our ass when they did no such thing. Thanks again, inept SEC refereeing.

4. 2001 Georgia 17-24 Auburn
We were better. We were ahead. Then behind late. Then we marched all the way down to Auburn's 1 yard line with 15 seconds left. Then Richt has a Richter Scale brainfart and we run Jasper Sanks into the line. Not a bad call in a vacuum, but when there are 10 seconds left, the clock is running, and you have no timouts, then when the Auburn D stuffs you it's not 2nd and goal from the 1, it's 0:00 and game over.

5. 2003 LSU 17-10 Georgia
Made the roadie down to Baton Rouge. Completely dominated LSU, but multiple turnovers in the red zone and 2 missed FGs left us down a TD late. With about 90 seconds to go, Tyson Browning takes a screen pass at his own 7 and takes it 93 yards to the house, making it the longest TD reception in UGA history. Tie game an it looks like OT, where of course we will win. Nope. On 3rd and long or 4th and long, Sky Green catches a long pass for the game winning TD after a broken play scramble by the QB to break our hearts. After putting the stinger on some riverboat casino Friday night to the tune of $300, I go an unheard of 0-8-1 on my bets Saturday to give it all back. The next day at breakfast I pick up the local paper like I often do, only to find out that on the LSU game winning TD play Sky Green ran the wrong route and we lost on a broken play. Then my girlfriend's car that I was driving gets flat tire so we get to hang out at the Firestone store in some mall for 2 hours before finally making the long ass 9 drive home. In the rain.

6. 1998 Georgia 19-21 Georgia Tech
Precursor to the even greater loss due to bad officiating that would happen the following year. Late on we lose a fumble in our own end that wasn't, and then we go for two and make it but are ruled to be short. They kick a game winning FG in the last seconds and then celebrate like they had just won a national championship - a legitimate one. Dudes, you have a flag boy and need inept refereeing to beat us. Check yourselves.

7. 1992 Georgia 31-34 Tennessee
My first ever Georgia game. Back then the first couple of games were played before classes even started, I went with my roommate. We were clearly better, but 6 turnovers and a key dropped pass at the end did us in. It was the first of many times that I had to stand and watch the UT band play RockyTop in our stadium for a good 30 minutes after the game, and listen to their fans sing it all night long. We lost a game we had no business losing to an inferior opponent, and it only hurt more after the season when all that stood between us and an undefeated season was this and the agonizing 2 point loss to the Gators. This was the best Georgia team between 1984 and 2002 - it's a shame they didn't do better than 10-2 and a #8 ranking. Fortunately this was my first Georgia game so I had not yet built up enough emotional investment to be as gutted as I should have been; otherwise this would be #4.

8. 2001 Georgia 9-14 South Carolina
Richt played ridiculously conservative when he had the better team so we were only up 9-7 late and of course they scored at the end to beat us (might have been 9-6 and they scored and went for 2). 9 points against a Granny Holtz USC defense? Abysmal. The game that spawned my now famous-in-some-circles postgame drunken tirade back at the parking lot that attracted a bit of a crowd, about how I had been driving up to Athens for years and years to watch the games, paying my hard earned money for season tickets, sacrificing being able to sit and watch all the other games from around the country (I especially remember not being able to see all of the great Michigan-Washington game that day), and that our program simply didn't merit that, and how I was sick and tired of watching us lose to inferior opponents, etc. (except drunken loud and with about 493 f bombs sprinkled in there). Word obviously got to first year coach Richt, becuase he has sorted it out since then.

9. 2000 Auburn 29-26 Georgia (OT)
We were up 13-0, then down 13-23, then we fought back and forced OT at the end, but only managed a FG and they scored a TD. Sucked ass, but by this time our supposed to be breakout season (ranked #3 preseason) had already been completely destroyed. Doug gives better recaps of both losses to Auburn here.

10. 1993 Georgia 21-23 South Carolina
My seat in the student section happened to be right on the goal line, so I had the perfect view of some Cock's goalline dive for the winning TD in the last minute. Tanneyhill ran over to our student section and gave us the double bird. This game marked the transition from the great 1992 team to the truly shitty phase of the Ray Goff era.

Honorable Mention

1994 Georgia 30-43 Vanderbilt
Homecoming is for being entertained by the cheerleaders from the 50s, not for losing at home to Vanderbilt. Embarassing as it gets. Humiliating is probably the better word. The lowest point of the Goff era.

1996 Georgia 7-11 Southern Miss
Donnan's 1st game. Everyone was excited, no one moreso than me who had worked in the stadium every day all summer as a paid employee of ACOG as we hosted the mens & womens medal rounds of soccer. After all that time in the locker room, press room, luxury suites, storage sheds, "running the stairs" after work to stay fit, and everywhere else that I had never been, the stadium felt like home. The game? A total and complete clusterfuck, best epitomized by this play. This game didn't leave you feeling gutted, more like in total shock and disbelief. We ran Goff out of town for some fatheaded fool who can't beat USM at home? My lasting memory from this game is that the souvenir Coke cups had a some cheesy caricature of Donnan with "Donnan of a New Era" in big letters, which was just flat-out embarassing - a respectable High School wouldn't have had those cups.

2000 Georgia 15-27 Georgia Tech
We didn't get jobbed, we got rolled. Tech's only legitimate win over us since 1991. George Godsey is still running up and down the field at Sanford as we speak. The low point of the soon to be over Donnan era.

1 comment:

Doug said...

I've been to six of your top 10 (basically all the ones that were '96 or later). But nothing for me will ever top the 51-48 game against GT in 1999. I've been demoralized and/or disappointed after Georgia losses before, but no game I've ever seen filled me with as much out-and-out homicidal, world-hating, innocent-kitten-strangling rage as that one did. That was the game that singlehandedly turned my attitude toward Techies from amused contempt to unbridled hate. In my more inebriated moments I like to think that God waited one year and then began exacting His divine karmic punishment on Tech, which was to lose to UGA for the remainder of eternity. A guy can dream, can't he?