The B.S. Report: Rivalry week in college football

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – We are all set for a great Saturday of football. It’s rivalry week – say that fast four times.

In Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, there will be games between teams in the same state. I’ve always been envious of what they have in Alabama. Most years, when Alabama meets Auburn, something huge is on the line. Just think if Auburn had beaten Georgia two weeks ago. That would have made Saturday a game for the SEC West title and the right to play in Atlanta for the conference championship.

But it’s still Auburn and Alabama, so it will still mean everything. A few weeks ago I was in a restaurant. It was the night before the Georgia-Auburn game. I was talking to a guy – who happened to be an Auburn fan – and saying how big it was for Auburn to beat Georgia. He didn’t care. Even though a win for Auburn over Georgia would have made this week’s game against Alabama mean everything, he didn’t care. The man just wanted to beat Alabama – period. Since Alabama and Auburn are in the same conference, the same division, the game does usually mean more.

That’s where it stands out compared to a game like the Georgia-Georgia Tech game. It still means a lot, but just imagine if Georgia Tech was still in the SEC – if they hadn’t left the conference decades ago. Just think if both Georgia and Georgia Tech were 11-1 and the game determined the SEC East champion. It would be tremendous.

But there is one game that the hatred level seems to be at a high mark, even with both schools in different conferences. Clemson and South Carolina absolutely hate each other. It might be just as bad or even worse than Alabama and Auburn. Clemson has won nine times and South Carolina seven times since 2000, so it helps that the series is really close. That would help the Georgia–Georgia Tech series a bit, if Georgia Tech actually won more. Georgia is 13-2 in the last 15 years, which was the best thing Mark Richt did as head coach.

I won’t sacrifice a Georgia loss for the sake of the rivalry. I would imagine Kirby Smart is well aware of how big the Georgia–Georgia Tech game is this week. The teams don’t really recruit against each other, like some of the other teams do. But it’s still important. The older fans of both teams are even crazier about this game, since they remember how the series was back in the 1950s, when Bobby Dodd, Georgia Tech’s coach, dominated Georgia. Do you know that Georgia Tech actually led the series by one win before Vince Dooley took over as Georgia’s coach in 1964? Since then, Georgia has dominated with 38 wins and only 13 losses.

They’ll win Saturday, by the way. I just said that to make Georgia Tech fans mad, because, well, that’s exactly what this week is all about!

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