Monday, November 15, 2010

Georgia - Auburn: Still A "Friendly" Rivalry?


The Georgia-vs-Auburn annual gridiron slug-fest is the South's oldest and longest running football rivalry. It has always been known , pretty much, as a 'friendly' rivalry. It has been thought of as a clean, evenly matched series between two long-standing SEC foes. In the past, the two institutions have traded coaches with each other. Vince Dooley played at Auburn, then was head coach at Georgia. Pat Dye was an All-American while playing for the Bulldogs, and later became the Tigers head man. They have also traded in-state players with each other. Auburn has more than twenty Georgia kids on their football roster this year alone. UGA has only one player from the state of Alabama. Auburn kind of needs the state of Georgia in order to play football, wouldn't you say? The two institutions are connected in a lot of ways. However, in the smoldering aftermath of Auburn's victory Saturday, some of the cordiality seems to have been removed from this rivalry's storied past. The questionable (tactful word, huh?) play of AU's Nick Fairley has not only riled up the Bulldawg Nation as a whole, but has cast Auburn in somewhat of the same light as a camo-wearing Miami team of years ago by those not affiliated with the Bulldogs as well. The continuously hovering cloud of the "pay-to-play" scenario with quarterback Cam Newton has done nothing to enhance the Tigers image either (I'm not suggesting Auburn is guilty of anything here, just talking about perception). But who knows, by this time next November, all may have been forgotten and forgiven. And the rivalry that is known as Georgia-Auburn that will take place "Between the Hedges" might once again be a game among friendly foes(?). Time will tell...