Was it really worth it guys?
Was the supreme desire to defile your stadium fulfilled as Sanford Stadium's famed hedges were shredded and pillaged? Did you take pride in uprooting and dismantling the midfield turf that once resembled a red 'G?'
Did ya at least have fun as you looked the fool on national television hanging from the goal posts as the game attempted to come to an anti-climactic and grinding halt?
Well Georgia students, while you failed to take a win from Tennessee with grace a year ago, it was commandeered just the same. A nine-game win streak was broken and UT's bragging rights over UGAland were lost.
No sweat off this sportswriter's back, though.
I picked Georgia in 2000, and I would every year if the Vols' offense looked like it did this time a year ago.
Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer probably would jump on that bandwagon with me, too.
"We were somewhere between horrible and terrible," he said of the 21-10 thumping in Athens last October. "That whole last year we were basically a thrill-a-minute offensively. We were just fighting from week to week to make first downs."
To say this year is a completely different story for the Vols' offensive unit wouldn't be entirely true. It's a new cast of guys trying to find their way in an age-old offensive system, with some old mugs scattered in.
One of the new guys carrying the load, even though he's an old face, is fifth-year senior tailback Travis Stephens. The Mighty Mouse of the SEC, Stephens has vaulted to the top of the conference's leaders in rushing, averaging 137.3 yards a game.
And he's done it to Georgia before. In 1998, following an injury to fellow back Jamal Lewis, Stephens stepped in and rushed for 107 yards in the Vols' 22-3 win at Sanford.
He's just one of the reasons I am giving the nod to the Vols this Saturday. Others include:
o Neyland Stadium: With 108,000 overzealous lunatics, it's hard to argue about this place. The Sporting News named the facility its top collegiate stadium this fall.
o Kelley Washington: The Vols' walk-on freshman receiver was in the Florida Marlins' instructional league a year ago. Now the 22-year-old is Tennessee's No. 1 receiver. LSU found that out the hard way in his first start last Saturday, a 256-yard, school-record setting receiving performance.
o Revenge: The sound of taunts and falling goal posts are hard to forget, UT All-American defensive tackle John Henderson said.
"It was a tough loss," he said of last year's game, which dropped the Vols to 2-3 on the season. "It's always in the back of your mind, but you just have to forget about it and focus on this year."
o Recruiting: The Peach State just can't keep its fruit in the basket. Tennessee has made a hobby of going into Georgia and plucking prized prospects. Names like former Vols Deon Grant, Jamal Lewis and Cosey Coleman - all of whom are in the NFL now - are Georgians that come to mind. So do freshmen tailbacks and natives of suburban Atlanta, Jabari Davis and Derrick Tinsley, who both committed to Tennessee last spring.
Heck, UGA couldn't keep a young sportswriter from Thomasville, Ga., in state a few years back, although he might not have been as highly recruited.
o Different standard of winning: Don't ask me. Ask Davis.
"Georgia's always talking about getting to the Peach Bowl," he said. "This year, we're talking about winning it all and going to the Rose Bowl. That's really it as far as I can see."
Even the most die-hard of Bulldogs would probably have to agree with Davis on that one. But take solace in this, Dawgs. I think the hiring of Mark Richt was a great move. This guy has done nothing but win at Florida State, and some of that is bound to spill over. It'll be no time before those same kids might look to stay in Georgia and return UGA to the glory of the early '80s.
Just do me a favor. Don't make a video called "Respect! Georgia over Tennessee" every time your team wins a big game. Oh, and wait until after the game to rip apart your stadium. Thanks.
Prediction: Tennessee 34, Georgia 16
Daily Beacon Sports Editor Travis Haney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
@Headline:Lack of wins bad for Georgia
Published: Fri Oct 05, 2001 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 03:50 p.m.