How did a game between two teams that have combined for 11 wins merit a national prime time TV slot on the last college football regular season Saturday of 2010? Ten college football teams have 10 or more wins all by themselves -- why not show one of those instead? I'd like to answer that with something really majestic and bloggy like, "That's the power of Hate," but I sort of have no idea how these teams pulled off that time slot. Not that this game won't be a brawl.
When the 6-5 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets take on the 5-6 Georgia Bulldogs Saturday night in Athens, plenty more will be at stake than you'd think from a glance at their records. And I'm not just talking about a year's worth of bragging rights, though that's big too. The Dawgs need this win to earn bowl eligibility* for the 14th straight year, the nation's fourth-longest streak, tied with the Jackets. Tech can keep their rivals home for the holidays and establish sole possession of that fourth-longest bowl streak thing.
Georgia fans, if you think Tech people are obnoxious now, you cannot imagine what you'd get to enjoy if Paul Johnson's worst Tech team gave Mark Richt his first losing season and killed Georgia's bowl streak. But that's a longshot.
The Dawgs are heavily favored, by 12.5 points, owing to their nighttime home field advantage, physical superiority on both lines and OK fine everywhere, and (relatively) more consistent play against top-notch competition. It's not like Tech would've hung in there against the Arkansas Razorbacks, SEC East champion South Carolina Gamecocks, Florida Gators, or Auburn Tigers like Georgia did. For Tech fans, the only hope at an upset win is for the Jackets to play as well as they did on the road against the Virginia Tech Hokies. If any other Tech team shows up, well ... at least the flexbone offense tends to take up too much clock for there to be another 51-7.
Each of these teams has endured its hardest year in over a decade, from A.J. Green's suspension and Joshua Nesbitt's broken arm to losses to the Colorado Buffaloes and Kansas Jayhawks. But for a few hours Saturday night and on into Sunday morning, all will be well for one of the two. Bowl streaks and records give us something to talk about, but all we really need is Hate.
Plenty more to come on this game throughout the week.
* If you already knew how college football bowl eligibility works, you could've gathered that from just a glance at their records, yes.