November in the state of Georgia is one of my favorite months. Over the past decade, certain constants have elevated it above its fall counterparts.
November brings the meat of the college football season. Crunch time, make or break ball games. Normally high school playoffs start off my weekends, but, sadly, my local team finished strong after a slow start but didn’t make the postseason playoffs.
I may have to make a visit to the Georgia Dome for the championship games to get my high school playoff fix. But it just won't be the same.
For Georgia fans, November also brings a couple of great rivalry games. Georgia and Auburn battled two weekends ago. Georgia came away with the hard fought victory, 31-24. Georgia has now won four straight in the series for the first time since the 1940s.
Of course, with Thanksgiving just a few days away, it's time for turkey, dressing, and the Georgia-Georgia Tech football game. But, again, this November brings a change in "the normal."
In what has become a disappointing season for Georgia, they must now face a Tech team that is currently seventh in the BCS standings. Georgia is 6-5 after a complete collapse in the second half against Kentucky this past Saturday.
The Dawgs will be happy with a trip to the Music City Bowl or even a trip to Shreveport. The fans may be cursing Willie Martinez and Mike Bobo while traveling, but they will be there to cheer on the Dawgs, no matter what bowl game it turns out to be.
Tech on the other hand is an impressive 10-1 and headed to the ACC championship with its sights set on a BCS bowl game. Nesbitt, Dwyer, and company are in high gear.
My November has been completely turned upside down.
Tech coach Paul Johnson has brought a whole new attitude to North Avenue. Tech is playing with a lot of confidence this year. Offensively, the Jackets have been lighting up the scoreboard, averaging 36 points per game. Defensively they have struggled at times, but they always seem to adjust just enough to get the job done.
Georgia lost a multitude of talent when Matt Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, and Mohammed Massaquoi all exited Athens for the NFL. Offensively, the Dawgs have been inconsistent all season, which is understandable after losing that much talent.
But, defensively, the Dawgs have looked lost most of the year, giving up an average of 26.6 points per game. Since the Alabama lost last season, the Dawgs have allowed 34 or more points in 10 games. Seriously bad numbers!
Last season, an upset-minded Tech visited Athens. After a slow start in the first half, the Jackets rebounded to run all over Georgia in the second. Tech prevailed in a very exciting game, 45-42, and their fans have feasted on that win for 12 months.
Meanwhile, Georgia fans spend time reminiscing about the good old days, when Reggie Ball and Chan Gailey strolled the Tech sidelines. Oh, how I miss Reggie!
This season, it is the Dawgs who must think upset. Georgia is the big underdog in Atlanta. Tech fans are very confident they will win their second straight over their hated rival. Paul Johnson is the new flavor of the month, while Mark Richt is moving towards the proverbial hot seat.
While most Tech fans lack respect for the Georgia team and seem to be marking this one down as a victory before the opening kickoff, coach Paul Johnson and the Jackets know all too well what a loss could do for their season.
They won’t take the Dawgs lightly, even if their fans do. One Tech fan (his attitude is the extreme minority) told me, "I am always scared of Georgia. The Dawgs have more talent than anyone Tech has played this season."
A very true statement. I sure wish Georgia had played at that level all season.
If Tech wins, no one will be surprised. If Georgia upsets them, it will help ease the pain of what has been a very disappointing season.
Either way, as a Georgia fan I am ready to close the book on the 2009 season. The New Year will bring a new season, and, hopefully, a "normal" November come next fall.
In the new movie 2012, the world as we know it comes to an end. The Mayans had predicted this catastrophe hundreds of years earlier, but their predictions were ignored.
Interestingly enough, the Mayans also predicted that in 2009 Georgia would have an unusual season. They would reverse roles with their in-state rival, Georgia fans would panic, and many Tech fans would strut around with an air of confidence not seen in many decades on North Avenue.
However, the Mayans recorded that in 2010 things will return to normal.
Georgia will reclaim their top-10 spot in the polls and will contend for an SEC title. Tech will return to a secondary role in the ACC, and visit "a field of blue" during the bowl season (Boise?).
So, to all my Tech friends out there, I say enjoy this odd November while you can.
According to the Mayans, it won’t last. If you don’t like the ending, don’t blame me.
I’m just the messenger.