Dear Smug UGA Fan,
The office where I work has a fair number of both Georgia and Tech fans, and anytime I brought up the subject of Tech getting its 2009 ACC championship vacated for improper benefits, one of those Techies immediately piped up with some mention of A.J. Green getting busted for basically the same thing. It doesn't seem like the two situations are really all that similar, but still, how do I respond to this?
Irritated in Irwinton
First of all, my condolences upon having to share your workspace with Techies. Doubtless they're unable to deal with the fact that you're on the same level with them, career-wise, and not delivering them pizzas as they'd been led to believe.
But no, the two situations really aren't comparable, and it's not hard to figure out why. A.J. Green sold a jersey -- his own property, mind, though that doesn't technically make a difference in the NCAA's eyes -- and when there came even the slightest indication that the sale might have endangered his eligibility, Georgia suspended him for last year's season opener. The NCAA later decided that he needed to be suspended an additional three games, and UGA complied. Georgia Tech, however, was informed by the NCAA that a player, allegedly either Demaryius Thomas or Morgan Burnett, had eligibility issues for getting free stuff from an agent's runner, yet played him anyway in the Georgia game, the ACC title game and the Orange Bowl. Georgia cooperated fully with the NCAA's investigation, while Tech is said to have interfered with them at multiple opportunities. So you're totally justified in telling your co-workers that there really aren't many parallels here, unless you think Tech deserves some kind of benefit of the doubt -- which, given that they'd just come off of another probation two years prior, you really shouldn't.
Dear Smug UGA Fan,
I was talking a little smack with my cousin, a Tech grad, today and pointed out that thanks to the NCAA, the bees now haven't won an ACC title in more than two decades. He said no, they won one back in '98. Am I crazy? Did I totally miss something?
Out of the Loop
No, you haven't missed anything; Georgia Tech hasn't won a conference title since Bobby Ross was the head coach. Some Tech fans like to claim that the Jackets won a share of the 1998 ACC championship since both they and the Florida State Seminoles finished the season with 7-1 conference records. However, FSU annihilated Tech 34-7 when they played that year, and maybe the ACC has their own way of tabulating things, but if you've lost by four TDs to someone, I'm not inclined to give you a "share" of anything they've got. That would be like saying that Saddam Hussein and Iraq "tied" the United States in the first Gulf War.
Dear Smug UGA Fan,
Like a lot of Georgia grads, I was a bit of a wild child in my college days, drinkin' and fightin' and generally raisin' hell. In recent years, though, I've had a bit of a spiritual awakening, I've gone back to church, and I've been making a concerted effort to live my life in a more Christlike fashion. I've been trying to be less self-indulgent, more forgiving, and more inclined to "turn the other cheek" to those who would wrong me -- and yet when the news broke today about Georgia Tech's NCAA sanctions, I felt myself feeling some glee about it. Here they are, the so-called gentlemen who are always bragging about being so much smarter, classier, and more ethical than the Dawgs, and they were getting a conference title vacated for using ineligible players -- and a little part of me found it hilarious. Should I feel ashamed?
Wrestling With My Conscience
Absolutely not. It is hilarious.
Smug UGA Fan is not a licensed therapist, but he did earn a bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia in 1999 and has attended more than 60 Georgia football games. His self-help book, Teams That Are Inferior To UGA and the Fans Who Love Them, will be available this September at finer bookstores everywhere.