Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Missouri: Looking for an Angle

As we all know, Georgia will have a new rival in the SEC East this fall. Missouri joins league after exiting the Big XII and will play its first SEC game the second week of the season when the Dawgs travel to Columbia. One of the best parts of the SEC is the intense rivalries that exist between its schools. Even if the teams don't play every year and are no geographically close, there is enough history to make every game special. But when Georgia goes to play the Tigers (yes, another team with a tiger mascot) this fall, we'll need to find a reason to kick off this rivalry with the kind of fire you expect in the SEC.

Looking back at history won't help. Georgia and Missouri have only met once on the football field. Georgia faced Missouri in the 1960 Orange Bowl, defeating the tigers 14 -0. Fran Tarkenton threw for two touchdowns as the Dawgs blanked future Notre Dame Coach Dan Devine's Tigers. But that is it. Instead, I went looking for a different angle. I asked myself, "When has Missouri done something in the past that ending up making me mad?" And then, something came to me.

2007. Knowshon. Stafford. Killing Tebow. The Blackout. In my top 3 of favorite Georgia seasons since I began a fan. On the final day of the college football season (before bowl season), Georgia entered the day at #4 in the BCS. Because they had lost to Tennessee, the Dawgs were shut out of the SEC Championship and forced to watch LSU take the SEC crown. Ahead of the Dawgs in the BCS that day were Ohio State (3), West Virginia (2), and undefeated Missouri at #1. Ohio State was done with its season and simply needed Missouri to fall to Oklahoma in the Big XII Championship to guarantee them a shot in the National Championship. But before that could happen, something unexpected occurred.

Pittsburgh decided to play its best game of the year and shocked #2 West Virginia. Suddenly, Ohio State already had its spot in the title game and a Missouri loss could mean chaos. As a Georgia fan, the thought of playing for a national championship suddenly became a possibility. We switched our televisions to the Big XII Championship and watched as Sam Bradford's Sooners destroyed Missouri, 38-17. With Missouri and WVU down, it looked like the Dawgs could be headed to New Orleans to take on the Buckeyes for the National Championship.

But it wasn't meant to be. The voters jumped LSU 5 spots and into the title game and the Dawgs ended up going to the Sugar Bowl. While it was great to beat Hawaii, it sucks we never got a chance to win the national title. But for a few hours on the December 1 and 2, 2007, we had hope.

And for that, I blame the Missouri Tigers!

Damn you Chase Daniel. damn you Jeremy Maclin. And damn you Gary Pinkel. If you're 12-0 teamd have just taken car of business against a 9-3 Sooners team, none of this would have happened. But you lost, giving Dawg fans a glimmer of hope.


So, that's my angle. Am I stretching? Just a little bit. But it is the best I can do. Anyone else have any bright ideas?