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Georgia-Tennessee Rivalry History At Rocky Top Talk, By Our Own Doug Gillett

SB Nation’s Rocky Top Talk is publishing a four-parter by our Doug Gillett on the special blend of hate that arises from the mingling of firetruck red and Home Depot orange.

From part one:

But if a classic rivalry’s primary ingredient is hate, then Georgia-Tennessee is on its way to classic status even with a relatively paltry 38 meetings between them. UGA-UT may have been played far fewer times than Tennessee-Alabama (91), Georgia-Florida (86), or even Georgia-Clemson (62), but few modern rivalries run on the kind of professional-grade, 98-octane schadenfreude that Georgia-Tennessee does. Part of it has to do with the streakiness of the series: Since the two teams first squared off 110 years ago, only four times (not counting last year) has either team won or lost only “one in a row.” More often, one or the other has gone on a winning streak long enough to engender garment-rending, wrist-slitting angst and humiliation in their opponent, followed by that opponent rising up and taking out their frustrations for several long, gleeful years.

But it also has to do with the fact that, at least for the moment, there doesn’t appear to be any of the kind of grudging respect sometimes found in rivalries like these. Rather, both fan bases just seem to be incredibly annoyed with one another. Admit it, Vol Nation, y’all have to suppress your collective gag reflex at the mere sound of Larry Munson’s voice after being on the butt end of so many of his most famous calls (“My God a freshman,” “hobnail boot,” and “Sean Jones all the way,” just for starters). We Bulldogs, meanwhile, still can’t believe we let Phillip Fulmer build the longest winning streak we’ve ever given up to a single opponent. Even among the Dawg and Vol partisans for whom SEC football in general is a consuming passion, there are few smiles as they enter the second week in October, just plenty of sneers.

How’d it come to this in such a short amount of time? Perhaps a bit of history will teach us.

Part two is here, and you’ll just have to hang out at Rocky Top Talk as you wait on parts three and four.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.