Tuesday, August 7, 2007

It Was The Best Of Times

At long last my companion piece to last year's "It Was The Worst Of Times".

Here are the 10 best Georgia games that I have attended in person {as you can read in the comments, there was only 1 Georgia-Florida game between 1992 and 2000 that I was not able to attend: care to guess which one that was?}. Watching on TV doesn't count. Dawg or not, what was your best game?

1. 2002 Auburn 21-24 Georgia
Damn it was cold that night - mid 30s. Went to the game with my sister (who sits with me at UGA-AU games rather than her Auburn alum husband), my girlfriend at the time, and Jim Beam. Jim kept us warm and fuzzy throughout the game, which was huge as we were a bit underdressed. 4th and 17 and I turned to my sister and yelled "we are scoring on this fucking play and winning this fucking game!", and damned if we didn't do just that.

Suddenly I wasn't so cold anymore. The rest of the night was a blur, literally. Hello SEC title game for the 1st time ever.

T Kyle King, a gentleman, often says "I hate Auburn."
I'm no gentleman: I fucking hate Auburn.

2. 1996 Auburn 49-56 (4OT) Georgia
My sister made the trip down with me and we sat in the UGA endzone. We were way down early, when right in front of us Robert Baker catches a TD for Auburn to put them up 28-7, and UGA V immediately jumps up and tries to bite his nuts off. Amazing, and our UGA section in the endzone goes totally bezerk. Clearly inspired by UGA V the Dawgs fight back. Robert Edwards is damn near unstoppable, yet we are still down 7 at the end. Our last drive ends with a 40 yard pseudo hail mary from Mike Bobo to Corey Allen that he catches near the goalline and gets into the end zone as the clock expires to force OT. Amazing. We win 56-49 in 4 overtimes, and Edwards finished with 891 yards and 17 touchdowns on the day. This is the game that made the NCAA change the overtime rule to what it is today: teams must go for 2 starting in the 3rd OT.

I was there, about 15 rows up in the back of the endzone.
It fucking ruled.

3. 2005 SEC Championship Game: Georgia 34-14 LSU
We completely rolled the #3 team in the nation to win our 2nd SEC title in 4 years, so you wouldn't think this would be very high, but it was for 2 reasons. 1st, all last season I said that if UGA made it to Atlanta that I would fly in for the game, so to fly 5,000 miles round trip for the 1 UGA game that I would get to attend all season, and have them preform dam near perfectly and play their best game of the year by far was wonderful - much better than if I had made the same trip for say the Auburn game that year- what a long and horrible flight home that would have been. Secondly, the game was cathartic for me in a way because due to personal circumstances I was not able to attend the SEC title game in 2002 or 2003, so it was great to finally get to experience seeing my team compete for and win the SEC title, and I got to do it with a bunch of good old friends who I hadn't seen in a while. Tap busted out the Cuban cigars and champagne at the post game tailgate, which resulted in the picture you see in the upper corner of this blog. As happy a gameday experience as you can have without making out or hooking up with a hot girl.

Saturday December 3, 2005.
Georgia Dome Parking Lot, 11.00 p.m.
Cold as shit, but very happy.

4. 2000 Georgia 21-10 Tennessee
Georgia had lost 9 in a row to Tennessee, and since enrolling at UGA in 1992 I had personally witnessed every one of the defeats between 92-98, so for me and those like me, this was huge to finally beat the hated Vols. How huge? Huge enough that the crowd stormed the field after the game, pretty much destroyed the hedges and tore down the goalposts, which in hindsight is pretty embarrassing for any 'big time' football school to do after winning a game in which they were a 1.5 point favorite. We followed this up with the famous hobnail boot win at Neyland in 2001, our 1st win there since 1980, and have turned the tables on the Vols, with 5 wins in the last 7 meetings.

5. Dawg2K, a.k.a. 2001 Outback Bowl: Georgia 28-25 Purdue
Ahhh, Dawg2K. To celebrate the millenium, Brain drove down to ATL from Louisville, then 5 of us crammed in my 1990 Nissan Maxima and drove to Tampa, linking up with 2 other mates on the way. I remember convincing a drunk girl in a Ybor City bar to make out with me at about 11 p.m. on Millenium Eve by telling her that there had been a nuclear plant explosion in Russia when Y2K hit and we were all in big trouble. The next morning Georgia spotted Purdue a 25-0 lead and then came all the way back to win in overtime, which at the time was the largest comeback in bowl history. Damn, a million and one stories from this weekend, many of which are probably better left unsaid on here. A great trip- the stereotypical getting the boys back together about 5 years after college and having a blast, and I don't think we have all been together in the same place at the same time since.

Big pimpin' at Dawg2k: hell yeah I got her numbah.
{of course, I completely fucked it up on about date #3}

6. 2002 Georgia 51-7 Georgia Tech
After attending the 3 consecutive "losses" to Tech in 98, 99, and 2000, but not being able to attend at GT in 2001, this was a glorious payback. Like LSU 2005 and LSU 2004, it was one of those days that you never want to end. SD and I were a couple of drunken 28 year olds in the student section, and the highlight of the day was at halftime, the one time all day that people in the student section sit down to rest, it started to rain fairly steadily. About 10 seats over to our right a dude stands up who is about 40 years old, bearded, and looks like a complete neck. Oh, and he is completely shitfaced. He holds his plastic souvenir cup up towards the raining heavens, and SD and I look at him with bewilderment. He sees us trying to understand what the hell he is doing and he turns to us and says in a loud, drunken, and friendly redneck voice: "Turkey Light, boys!", referring to the alcoholic content of his cup and it' s newfound marketing mutation thanks to the raindrops. It was one of the funniest things we have ever heard.

7. 2004 Georgia 45-16 LSU
This game was great for 2 reasons: first, it was a great cathartic reversal of our heartbreaking loss in Baton Rouge the year earlier, which we attended and had a long, long drive home from considering how the game turned out. Second, my friend from Boston had never been to a UGA game and he picked this one to fly down and check out. What better way to show your friend his first UGA game than a beautiful day, a giant tailgate, beautiful women everywhere, and then the utter annihilation of a top 10 team. I think it was 31-3 in the first half before we called off the dogs. A damn near perfect Saturday afternoon, and my buddy went back to New England with a great idea of what a bigtime Georgia football Saturday is all about.

Tailgating on North Campus near the Arch
before UGA-LSU 2004

8. 1995 Clemson 17-19 Georgia
A hard fought road win over a tough ranked opponent and longtime rival whom we hadn't played in their house in a while. As we were students at the time, we took a big crew to this game, and I rocked the 88 Brice Hunter jersey and a giant G flag on a big ass flagpole. I remember Solon was so shitfaced on the walk to the stadium that he grabbed an actual dogbone from a woman walking next to us and fucking ate it, as some sort of demonstration that this 1) showed our valor and 2) that we would win.

Kanu, Solon, Shabba, Ivan, Boo, & RJ
representin' at Death Valley

Clemson is one of the few places that allows people on the field after games, and we took full advantage, running around like fools, and walking up to Howard's rock and claiming it as our own. At one point I was on a dude named Boo's shoulders waving my giant G flag, and I was bumrushed and knocked down from behind by two drunken bitter Tiger fans. A small scuffle ensued but they were vastly outnumbered and wisely retreated.

Acting a fool on Boo's shoulders. Ahh, college.

We drunkenly stumbled back to the tailgate and somehow got back to Athens- I don't remember how, but I cannot imagine that I drove.

9. 2003 Sugar Bowl: Georgia 26-13 Florida State
Our first BCS bowl, flew to New Orleans with my girlfriend at the time and met up with my buddy DD and his woman and a few others. New Years in New Orleans is a fun fucking time, even if you aren't stag, and I pimped some sweet ass red & black plaid pants that were handmade for me by the missus- unfortunately they would meet their fate years later in the post breakup heartbreak throw away everything from or that reminds you of her dumpster toss.

Pimpin' hard: these pants with a red UGA shirt were all the rage
in the Superdome.
Damn I wish now that I hadn't thrown them out.

FSU was a 5 loss joke of an ACC champion, and we beat them handily in a way that they final score did not properly indicate. A great time, we finished #3, leaving us all to wish Ohio State had fucked up just 1 of their numerous miracle rabbit out of a hat wins that year {4th and long against Purdue comes to mind}, as instead of this semi bittersweet formality of a win we would have played Miami in the national championship game. Nevermind that: 13-1, SEC championship, #3 ranking, and first BCS bowl win was the bridge between what the program was under Goff & Donnan and what it is today.

10. 2002 Alabama 25-27 Georgia
The "man enough" game, where Pat Dye said before the game that Georgia wasn't man enough to go into Tuscaloosa and beat Alabama. Great atmosphere, stadium, and crowd noise, and we pulled out a great win in a hardfought game with a late field goal from eternal hero of out group of friends Billy Bennett. A great win in what turned out to be a storybook season except for those 60 minutes in Jacksonville. I remember thanks to game traffic and NECKCAR being at Talledega that weekend, it took SIX hours to get back to ATL, and it was hard as hell keeping the eyelids open on I-20 until 2 a.m. when I got home, after a long ass day of driving out there, tailgaiting, and sitting through the game in the 90 degree heat & humidity. Totally worth it though.

Honorable Mention
11. 1995 Georgia Tech 17-18 Georgia
Ray Goff's last game. Back then this game was on Thanksgiving day. Was home from school for Thanksgiving and my sis & I went into ATL, watched us beat our little sister, break their hearts, then back to Club Mom & Dad for Thanksgiving dinner. What was I thankful for that day? That I didn't decide to go to Georgia Tech after High School.

12. 1999 Georgia 23-22 LSU
This game was lost as LSU's final pass into our endzone was going right to a dude who was wide open. Suddenly our LB Witherspoon went go-go Gadget arm and literally came out of nowhere, dove and knocked it down. Ahhh, the good old days, when we all thought Quincy Carter was the bee's knees.

Thinking of these makes me 1) stoked for the new season 2) sad that I won't get to any games this year unless Georgia goes West for a bowl game, which is extremely unlikely 3) supremely jacked up for Arizona State-Georgia next September, which I most definitely will be at with bells on.


LD said...

#1: 1997 Georgia-Florida. Edwards turns upfield to clinch it. I'm still surprised the swaying bleachers in the endzone at Alltel didn't collapse. I don't remember anything else about that entire weekend. Seriously. I don't even remember if I stayed in Jacksonville, St. Simons, St. Augustine or what. Can't remember a thing about it.

Kanu said...

Nice, for you and all of my other friends as well.

Unfortunately, I was working in the athletic department of Western Kentucky University in event & facility management that fall, and I couldn't get out of working that weekend as there was a home football. Of course that is the only GA-FLA game between 1992 and 2000 that I did not go to, but I digress.

Anyhow, one of my responsibilities was running the concession stands during games, and the main concession stand in the football stadium had a phone in the back. My desk was in the basketball arena which was next door and about 300 yards away. The WKU game started not long after the cocktail party, but I remember watching the first quarter in the SID's office before having to go over to the football stadium- remember Sean McDonough freaking the fuck out when Hines returned the opening kick to midfield? "Hines WARRRDD!!!!" Oh, of course not, you were at the game- fuck, nevermind.

More times then I remember I sprinted from the football stadium back to my office where there was a TV to watch in bits and pieces, and then I got smart in the 3rd quarter: i fired up a streaming audio of the game on the internet (back in 1997 when such things were free) called the concession stand phone from my desk, laid my desk phone down right next to my computer speaker, and then went back to the concession stand, sat in the back and listened to Munson over the phone on top of over the internet. That may be the happiest I have felt at about a game that I did not attend, unfortunately I wasn't around anyone that could understand or appreciate why I was so excited and even had a happy tear in my eye.

Been going to Vegas for the cocktail party the last several years, so I still do not know what it feels like to be at the cocktail party when we win it. Maybe one day...

Brain said...

#1 Dawg2K- Boys, I almost passed out on the ride home. 4 days afterward. The Foam Finger. Discussing the merits of K-mart v. Wal-Mart shoes. Buc....I can't mention that...UM. Crack W....I can't mention that...AH. Bodies of water. Yes that's it Bodies of Water. This was hands down one of the most fun times I have had from beginning to end.

#2 Ole Miss 96- The Dawgs loss that game but I had the privilege of seeing my beloved Dawgs in person for the first time. Goff couldn't even screw that up.

3# @ Kentucky 2001- The game was tight. Quincy went Quincy and was kicked off the team or hurt. The Hefty Lefty had his famous over the head, no look, hookshot of a pass that made me think it was over. Dawgs sleepwalk to a win and my future wife braves the rain and cold and really enjoyed herself. We were accompanied by Kanu. I also almost went to jail for trying to save a guy from getting hit in the head by a stray football.

I have a trail of competitive UK/UGA games that were fun because we went home a winner.

PS When I take my two daughters to there first UGA game that will go to the top of this list. My oldest is barking and saying "silver britches" already. That should bring tears to my eyes.

beast in 'bama said...

No small coincidence the Auburn games were 1-2 on your list. As a neutral observer, it almost always turns out to be my favorite game of the year. Those two Georgia wins you cited can easily be accompanied by two Auburn wins just as good...
And the greatest thing about it? "Home field advantage" doesn't fly in this series.

Last year's blowout (though I know it made you ecstatic) was the worst AU/UGA game I can remember from a competitive standpoint. It was the dreaded Jefferson Pilot (or whatever it's called now) game, which spells certain death for Auburn every time.

The AU/UGA game needs to have the CBS #1 team there. It should start late in the afternoon with the lights in the stadium already on and proceed into the post-daylight savings afternoon darkness with a pre-Thanksgiving nip in the air. There should be at least five lead changes by the end of the third quarter, setting the stage for an even wilder fourth quarter exchange between neighbors - brothers really.

I don't have a dog in the fight (no pun intended), so I can relax and watch some incredible football. It is a game I set my watch by each November.

P.S. - Interesting you did some time in Bowling Green. My dad grew up there and played basketball for coach Diddle back in the '30s.

OMAA said...

Being a hater, and only going to Sanford Stadium once in my life, I have to bring up 10/10/92. That was when the real GSU came calling to Sanford. I was in the end zone as Charles Bostick ran 40 yards for the game's opening score in the first quarter. The visitors section was elated and I remember, after the jubilation died down, just how quiet the stadium. Of course, 2 plays later, the game was pretty much over when Garrison Hearst ran 75 yards right at us to tie the game. We lost 34-7, but I know that there were some bulldog fans sweating after the first score.

Kanu said...

Brain- Yeah, it was hard to write anything about Dawg2K while having the restraint to leave out all those juicy bits. Don't forget the muffins and apples.

BiB- well said. Yeah, JP 12.30 p.m. EST sucked, but it was the first time ever {at least first time since I enrolled at UGA in 1992}, but you can't really blame them when UGA was an unranked 6-4 and coming off losses to Vandy and Kentucky that looked like it would get slaughtered by a 9-1 Auburn team ranked #6 in America. CBS gets first pick of SEC games each week and then ESPN picks 2nd, and they picked what they thought would be more compelling matchups, so can't really blame them.

Nice on WKU dude- my office was in E.A. Diddle arena, which is the basketball arena and houses most of the athletic department offices. The design combination of no air conditioning and a TIN FUCKING ROOF over the offices was really fun in the middle of August...

OMAA- I was at that UGA-GSU game, and yes we were sweating and looking at each other with utter bewilderment, shock and fear. For about 5 minutes :) I do remember you folks in the GA. Southern section going absolutely batshit fucking bezerk when that 1st TD happened. Good times, good times.