The 2013 Capital One Bowl approaches in less than a week. This is the first of a couple of question and answer sessions with some fans of our opponent, the Georgia Bulldogs. Nebraska fans pride themselves on their knowledge of college football, so rather than focusing solely on the teams, this Q&A will focus on Georgia's fan base, traditions, history, and their university.
"Some fans of our opponent" is a heavy understatement. The guys of the SB Nation site Dawgsports.com responded to us. Site Manager T Kyle King started their web site a little bit before Corn Nation was started in 2005, so he's been around the network as long as I have.
Georgia's traditions include having a Bulldog named "UGA" and this concept of playing "between the hedges". I congratulate y'all on not having a weird mascot that doesn't align with your team's name, i.e., an elephant for Crimson Tide and a War Eagle for Tigers, but are there other traditions you'd like to tell us about?
Mr. Sanchez - We ring a Chapel Bell after victories, and before games, have a lone trumpeter begin the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Prior to kickoffs, you'll hear fans chanting "Gooooo!", which they hold out until the kicker approaches the ball, when it becomes "Go Dawgs! Sic ‘em!". The fabled Arch at the entrance to campus has a tradition where if you haven't graduated, you don't walk underneath it. There are several others, but I'm not as well versed in our history as others on the Dawgsports staff.
NCT - The Chapel Bell described by Mr. Sanchez originally rang to mark class changes in the first several years after the Chapel was built in 1832 but now marks athletic victories and other special events. It's featured in the UGA TV spot that airs during games.
Another treasured tradition is our "silver britches". Our colors have been Red and Black since the 19th century, but in 1939, Coach Wally Butts introduced light grey pants to the football uniforms, which led to cheers for the silver britches, like "Red and Black and Silver Britches, Give 'em Hell you sons of bitches!" Beginning in 1964, the silver britches went on an extended hiatus under the leadership of Vince Dooley who, the story goes, found the associated language a bit too rough. Dooley finally brought them back as part of the home unis for the 1980 season, when UGA tore through the season like Herschel through Bill Bates (away red pants pictured), and they've been a fixture ever since.
The Redcoat Band is a major point of pride, as well. Dating back to a 1906 baseball game against Clemson, the band has been an integral part of UGA pride. For several years, it was known as the "Dixie Redcoat Band", and Dixieland jazz arrangements were a significant part of the repertoire under a longtime director who specialized in jazz, but the "Dixie" part was dropped in the early '70s (along with playing the tune, "Dixie") for reasons that should be obvious. They still play an awesome jazz arrangement of "Glory, Glory", though. The band's halftime shows are introduced with the announcer's advice to "Keep your seats, everyone: the Redcoats are coming!"
T Kyle King - Mr. Sanchez and NCT pretty much covered it, though I would add a couple of points. The oval "G" on the side of the Georgia helmets was added in the aforementioned 1964 uniform redesign; previously, the Bulldogs' headgear consisted of silver helmets with a block "G." A deal was worked out between the University and another iconic football program coached by a guy named Vince, the Green Bay Packers, for the use of the similar "G." The red Georgia helmet features a white stripe down the center, which was bastardized by Jim Donnan during his tenure---he added a black stripe down the middle, which now is regarded in Bulldog Nation as the mark of Cain---and restored to its proper appearance by Mark Richt in 2001. During the 1970s and ‘80s, Georgia wore white jerseys and red britches for big road games, though, regrettably, this practice has been discontinued in recent decades.
Uga is one of the few live lineage mascots in college football; the current Uga is a direct descendant of the original Uga, and the Uga line remains owned by the Sonny Seiler family, which has owned the University mascots since Seiler's student days. At the start of the fourth quarter, the Redcoat Band plays "Krypton Fanfare," and, since 1975, at the request of late legendary Georgia defensive coordinator Erk Russell, big Bulldog defensive plays have been followed by the Redcoats' playing of the chorus of Jim Croce's "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown," in honor of a Georgia D that is "meaner than a junkyard dog."
Nebraska has a couple associated "foodie" items that are unique to our fanbase. One such item is the runza, which is basically a cabbage and beef-stuffed "hot pocket". Other items can be stuffed in as well, such as mushrooms, cheese, and/or jalapenos. Another is "red beer", which is a combination of tomato or V-8 juice and a cheap American beer. (I prefer my red beer with V-8 and some tabasco.) What foodie items do Georgia fans associate themselves with?
Mr. Sanchez - Foodie item for Dawg fans? Does good whiskey count? We also have famous foodie Alton Brown amongst our alumni. The town of Athens is also home to a wide array of nationally known restaurants, and a wide variety of excellent eclectic eateries.
Podunkdawg - BBQ - specifically pulled pork bbq and other tailgating type foods. As Mr. Sanchez said, whiskey, specifically bourbon.
T Kyle King - I agree with Mr. Sanchez and Podunkdawg: Barbecue and sour mash whiskey are the staples of the Georgia tailgate, though barbecue requires Brunswick stew as a complement, and, if you're going to add a mixer to your whiskey, it has to be Coca-Cola. (The law school building on the campus in Athens is named for Harold Hirsch, a prominent Bulldog booster who served for many years as counsel to the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company.) Don't suggest Pepsi as a substitute for Coke to a Georgian unless you're looking for a fight. Another mainstay of the Bulldog fan's pregame meal is fried chicken, as immortalized in the popular Georgia fight song that begins: "I had a piece of chicken; I had a little drink; I looked at all the pretty girls; I gave one or two a wink."
MaconDawg - As my fellow ‘Dawgs have noted, pulled pork barbeque, slow-smoked over some combination of our state's ubiquitous oak, pecan, peach, and hickory wood is a mainstay of Georgia tailgates. Tailgate food is obviously communal food, and another common Bulldog tailgate item (especially among fans from south Georgia) typifies that. Low country boil (named after the "Low Country" that runs from the north Florida coast, through Georgia's coastal gem Savannah, and up to Charleston, South Carolina), is a combination of sweet corn on the cob, potatoes, sausage and seafood (usually jumbo shrimp fresh from the state's Atlantic coast) boiled together with seafood seasoning and spices. It's usually served by tossing it out on a picnic table covered with newspapers to soak up excess liquid, and is best accompanied by a good beer, like just about anything from Athens' own Terrapin Brewing Company or Atlanta's Sweetwater Brewery.
Another common Bulldog tailgate food: boiled peanuts. Unshelled peanuts are boiled in large pots of salty water and served hot. They're eaten by popping open the softened shells, sucking out the briney juice, then eating the actual peanuts inside. Again, best with your favorite beer.
Pre-game rituals. Are there certain things that are typically done by Dawgs' fans before the game?
Mr. Sanchez - Well, we covered some above, like the lone trumpeter. (Sorry, having a hard time finding a better video). There is also the Dawg Walk, where the team walks through fans on their way into the stadium a couple hours prior to kickoff. And like most fans, we enjoy drinking, eating, and the company of others. But a lot of drinking.
T Kyle King - How much time do you have? In addition to such institutionalized pregame rituals as the Dawg Walk, the trumpet soloist belting out the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation (which borrows the same tune that also was borrowed for the Battle Hymn of the Republic; one is not derived from the other), the scoreboard montage featuring a voice-over by late legendary play-by-play announcer Larry Munson, and the singing of various songs played by the Redcoat Band, most fans have their private superstitions, which are observed religiously. For instance, I have a statue of Uga on my back porch, and, before each game, I turn the statue to face the site of that day's game. All other things being equal, obviously, he faces toward Athens.
Great players of the past. Everyone knows about Herschel Walker, but can you name some of the other great Georgia players of yore we may not know about? I'll give you one of my favorites from Nebraska. Tom Novak, nick-named "Train Wreck", played from 1946-1949 (Nebraska's dark ages, which went from post WW II to Bob Devaney's arrival in 1962). He is Nebraska's only four-time All Conference selection and his #60 is one of only two permanently retired numbers at Nebraska. Does Georgia have players like that? Who are they?
Mr. Sanchez - There are 4 jerseys retired, one being Herschel Walker. Another is fellow Heisman winner Frank Sinkwich. Joining Sinkwich in the national champion 1942 Bulldog backfield was Charley Trippi, who won the Maxwell Award as a senior and finished second that year to Army's Glenn Davis for the Heisman. The fourth retired jersey belongs to Theron "The Drought Breaker" Sapp, so named for his work in a victory that snapped a long losing streak against in-state rival Georgia Tech. Possibly the best stories about any Dawg though, are the legends surrounding All-American S Jake Scott, MVP of the Super Bowl winning Dolphins in their undefeated season.
T Kyle King - To piggyback on Mr. Sanchez's mention of Jake Scott, I would add that Georgia has produced three different Super Bowl MVPs: Scott, Terrell Davis, and Hines Ward. Herschel Walker was one of two three-time consensus All-Americans in Bulldog history, the other being David Pollack. Pollack's fellow No. 47, Robert Edwards, remains a beloved figure in Bulldog Nation, and the Red and Black have produced four players who went No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft: Frank Sinkwich in 1943, Charley Trippi in 1947, Harry Babcock in 1953, and Matthew Stafford in 2009.
Besides athletics, of what are you most proud about the University of Georgia?
Mr. Sanchez - It has a fine academic tradition, producing countless notables in the fields of medicine, law, politics, broadcasting, acting, science, and elsewhere. It has one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. Athens is a great college town having produced a wide variety of popular, successful musicians from R.E.M to Widespread Panic. It would be a much shorter list to say what I'm ashamed of about my hometown school than what I'm proud of.
NCT - The University of Georgia is the oldest state-chartered university in the United States. Public higher education in America was born on January 27, 1785, when the Georgia legislature adopted the school's charter, deciding that this new concept of government by the people would be best served with an educated population, and our State's youth should not have to leave the continent or region for an education. And the campus -- oh, the campus. Since the school is well over 200 years old, it offers a veritable museum of American architectural history. The University meticulously maintains the natural beauty, as well, and the campus has been designated an arboretum.
T Kyle King - I agree with NCT, and those UNC SOBs can bite me. On a more serious note, I would add that we're curing cancer. How cool is that? From a more personal standpoint, I hold two degrees from the University of Georgia, I met my wife on the University of Georgia campus, and I married my wife on the University of Georgia campus, in the aforementioned 1832 Chapel. (Yes, we rang the Chapel bell after the wedding ceremony.) I began visiting Sanford Stadium on Saturdays in the fall with my father, and I now visit Sanford Stadium on Saturdays in the fall with my son. Of what am I most proud about the University of Georgia? Basically, every single facet of my existence.
MaconDawg - Most Americans are at least vaguely aware of the Peabody Award, which recognizes distinguished public service in the fields of radio and television. Most are not aware that the award is administered through the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism.
Word Association Time:
Herschel Walker, Bobsledder
Mr. Sanchez- Greatest athlete ever.
NCT - Perfection.
Podunkdawg - Amazing.
T Kyle King- Kick-ass.
Mark Richt - Too Nice A Guy To Win Big Games
Mr. Sanchez- Tom Osborne.
NCT - Earnest.
Podunkdawg - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
T Kyle King- Most successful Georgia coach ever.
MaconDawg-Still has a better record in conference championship games than Bo Pelini.
The Ramblin' Wreck From Georgia Tech
Mr. Sanchez - Urine stained hunk of junk.
NCT - LOL.
Podunkdawg - Who? Oh yeah, whatevs
T Kyle King - Give us your lunch money, nerds.
Mr. Sanchez- PAWL!
NCT - IT'S OUR TURN, DAMMIT
Podunkdawg - Dear Big 12 - ESSSS EEEEE CCCCCCCCCC!!!!!! (I happen to live in Podunk, Oklahoma)
T Kyle King - Nebraska 62, Florida 24. (Sorry, but I hate our rivals more than I love our conference.)