Georgia vs. Georgia Tech: An Ode to Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate


For someone who has lived in the state of Georgia since before beginning Kindergarten, the rivalry between the Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets holds a special place in my sporting heart.

As a son of defectors from the midwest, I did not grow up as a “fan” of either team, and by now, you may know that I am a dyed in the wool supporter of the University of Michigan (don’t ask). Still, there is an unavoidable connection with the local teams that stems from 20-plus years of good-natured sports arguments, and “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” was at the center of many of them.

This Saturday, the Bulldogs and Jackets will square off for the 107th time (or 109th time, if you are on the side of Tech), and they will do so with enormous stakes. It would be misleading to state that both programs are “equally” invested in the result each and every year, as national positioning has often tilted to one side or another, but for the first time in a long time, both Georgia and Georgia Tech are ranked in the top-16 nationally, and there is a real spotlight on the festivities on both sides of the aisle.

There is a general concept in the world of high school football, and it basically states that small towns shut down on the occasion of their school’s biggest games. As a graduate of Parkview High School in the midst of a football dynasty, I can certainly attest to that, and this Saturday could have a similar feel statewide. Obviously, not everyone in the sporting landscape is invested in one side, but you can bet that “hate week” will be defined by the result in many workplaces, schools or social clubs.

It is my job to be unbiased in this space (at least this week), so “rooting interest” is out of the question in a public forum. However, there is a real possibility that this could be one of the best games in series history, and with long memories of heated battles, that is a high bar to clear.

We will have your coverage throughout the week, but let’s try to enjoy this version of Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate, because it is never a “given” to have this type of atmosphere on both sides.