Florida-Georgia Family Feud: How I'm Dealing with the 'Dawg

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Florida-Georgia Family Feud: How I'm Dealing with the 'Dawg

As I sat on the couch relishing Florida's 63-5 annihilation of Kentucky, I concluded that the 2008 season has been successful for my Gators thus far.

Other than the disastrous home loss to Ole Miss, Urban Meyer's squad is performing up to my expectations, putting Florida right in the thick of both the SEC and BCS championship races.

However, my whole mindset changed when I heard my cell phone vibrate on the couch next to me. I picked up my phone and saw that I had a text message from my older sister Claire, a freshman at the University of Georgia.

Underestimating the power of what I was about to read, I flipped my phone open to read Claire's text.

"Did you see us beat LSU? Knowshon was awesome! Look out!"

Like a speeding freight train, reality set in, smacking me harder than linebacker Rey Maualuga of the USC Trojans would hit an opposing quarterback.

"The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" was now only a week away.

However, there is much more at stake for me in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium this Saturday than ever before in my life as a Florida Gators fan.

No longer will this rivalry be just the usual trash talk between my 'Dawg friends and me. Now, it's a more personal matter.

If Florida were to, heaven forbid, lose on Nov. 1, not only would I be subjected to endless ribbing from my Bulldog friends, but I would also have to deal with Claire's trash talk during every single holiday over the course of the next 12 months.

It sends chills down my spine just thinking about the possibility of such a horrifying scenario.

Reading the text message again, I couldn't help but fidget uncomfortably in my seat. It was only last year when Knowshon Moreno, Georgia's freshman wunderkind, torched the Gators for 188 yards and three touchdowns.

As Georgia's dominance of the 2006 BCS national champions ensued, I sat in silent frustration, loathing the Bulldogs more and more every time Moreno tucked the football under his arm and plowed through Florida's porous defense.

Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson only augmented my painful football agony by marveling incessantly at the momentum Georgia had gained from "The Celebration."

Naturally, I wanted revenge immediately, but I had to wait an entire year to quench that desire, which was absolutely unbearable, to say the least.

When Claire made the decision to attend Georgia during the spring, it only added more fuel to the burning fire inside of me. Although having no affiliation with the Bulldogs at the time of the game, she now had bragging rights to taunt me with for hours on end.

Of course, as skilled as I am in the art of fandom, I was able to execute small acts of rebellion against her and her choice of college. For example, I wore my Florida cap while helping Claire move into her dorm this summer, and I secretly put the Florida fight song, "Orange and Blue," on her iPod several times.

While each small gesture may have seemed minute and insignificant (sometimes, even pathetic) at the time, it eased the pain of Claire's betrayal of all that I hold dear.

Yet, despite my rebellious tendencies, Claire had never really come on that strongly when it came to Georgia football.

Whenever I approached her about the rivalry, she would just scoff at my immaturity and move on to bigger worries, such as what movie she and her friends were going see that night or what to wear to her year-end high school graduation party.

How could it not cross her mind, not even once? Perhaps it was because she was relatively new to the rivalry and just didn't have a feel for the passion involved with the Florida-Georgia matchup.

However, I knew her silence would end once the college football season kicked off.

By going to an SEC school, it was inevitable that she would eventually embrace the tradition and the zeal for college football that engulfs us all when the leaves change colors in SEC country.

Sure enough, I was proved prophetic as the preseason No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs quickly got her attention mere days after her arrival on campus.

The war had begun.

Most of my conversations with Claire over the past two to three months have been filled with the banter you normally hear in sports bars and read on message boards. The trash talk has been friendly and in good fun for the most part, and we often move on to a different topic before either one of us can throw a real zinger in there.

However, that all changes this week, Claire.

In case you haven't noticed from having me as your brother for 17 years, I don't like the Georgia Bulldogs very much.

I have many friends and relatives who pledge allegiance to the Bulldogs every college football Saturday, and even though I like them and consider them decent human beings, they are my enemies come Florida-Georgia week.

Claire is now one of them.

Even though she's my older sister and my bud, she is not exempt from the enmity shared between the 'Dawgs and the Gators during the last week of October.

Claire, you have been warned. This week, the gloves are off.

In conclusion, I wish Claire and the rest of the Georgia Bulldog fanbase good luck on Saturday, and I hope your game plan goes horribly awry, allowing my Gators to win in a romp.

Oh, and about that text message Claire sent me—here is my rebuttal.

"You better enjoy your win over LSU, 'cause it's the last one you're gonna get until you go to Lexington and play Kentucky Nov. 8!"

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