Much has been made lately about uniform gimmicks, remembering the “real” blackout against Auburn two years ago, and finding our true identity. I have essentially agreed with everything that folks have said about these gimmicks, especially about how silly we looked against Florida and that we shouldn’t need this force to get up for the game. However, as I look back to two years ago, this was really awesome and will forever be etched in my memory as one of the most memorable days of my life.
Let me preface this post by saying that I think the black jerseys/pants/helmets have been overused and have lost some luster. I think it was silly to do it against Hawaii. I think it was a disastrous attempt to catch lightning in a bottle twice when we did it against Bama (although the stadium looked awesome if you recall). And I think that it was outright bad timing to do it this year against Florida.
But I digress.
Auburn at Georgia, 2007. We had heard rumors all week about a blackout. The players had asked fans across the state to don their black outfits for this contest between these two great teams. Anticipation was great. That was one of the best tailgating days in recent memory, if I recall correctly. There was an eerie buzz in Athens, Georgia. Folks everywhere were wondering if the Dawgs were going to come out in black. I’d say a good 75% of the crowd that day participated.
As everyone filed into the stadium, the stir in the stands was unmistakable. Whether it was because too much bourbon had been consumed or we were just excited for the big game, it doesn’t matter. Of course, the players were warming up in the traditional red jerseys. That didn’t matter, the effect thus far to black out the stadium had been a success.
Shortly after the Battle Hymn rung out through Sanford Stadium, anticipation was at it’s pinnacle. I remember a good friend of mine saying, rather slurred I might add, that if the Dawgs ran out in black jerseys he would lose his mind. What followed was sheer madness.
This is an arguable point, but I can’t remember Sanford Stadium ever being louder than the following seconds after we heard “Get On Your Feet and Make Some Sanford Stadium Noise!” It was sheer bedlam! If you don’t get chills still thinking about that distinct moment in time, I question your fanhood. I’ve witnessed a lot of incredible moments in my life revolving around Georgia football, but that was as excited as I had been since Greene to Johnson on the Plains and remains the most excited I’ve been since.
What ensued was a beat-down of mammoth proportions. We wore the Tigers/War Eagles out for the next 60 minutes, playing some of the best football we have played in a long time. That win helped propel us up the rankings and finish a magical run to #2. I still contend that nobody in the nation could have played with us at the end of that year. And I still hate Tennessee with every fiber that is within me for screwing us 3 times in a single season, keeping us from an inevitable MNC.
So, as we look ahead to one of my favorite weekends out of the year, let’s remember the good times and pray for better. This season has been disappointing, to say the least, but a win in The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry could go a long way towards making this season a touch more palatable. This is a great week and a great rivalry, and it is the kind of week that makes you proud to be a Dawg.