How many rivals does Auburn have? Depending on the year or the audience or even Auburn’s record, you may get several different answers.
If you were to ask me (and probably a lot of folks), I’d say two: Alabama and Georgia.
Some may add LSU. Some would harken back to the days of playing Florida regularly. I won’t pretend that the Arkansas game doesn’t give me ulcers sometimes. Mississippi State sure made a case when Meghan Mullen opened her mouth*. Heck, Texas A&M** and Auburn are trading home and away victories like Auburn and Georgia fifteen years ago before Georgia started beating us on the reg. However, there’s a difference between a team you really dislike (Arkansas) and a team you really hate (Alabama).
But if we’re being honest, I just don’t have enough hatred to go around. Do I enjoy beating LSU? Absolutely. But it’s not because I hate them. It’s because beating LSU is usually an accomplishment. In fact, I know I’m an anomaly, but I actually really like LSU. And it’s not just because my best friend went there or because I think Leonard Fournette is one of the most precious humans on this planet, though those things certainly help. But I’ve always thought they were just plain fun people. Yeah, they have some bad eggs. But unlike some eggs who shall remain nameless, their bad eggs have never invaded my person space to bark at me or poisoned anything on our campus. Auburn and LSU have had classic games, real heavyweight slugfests. LSU got an earthquake. Auburn got cigars***. But at the end of the day, once the game is over and the afterparty starts, it’s not personal. Not to me, anyway. My best friend loves LSU like I love Auburn, and I don’t enjoy seeing her sad.
And I think a lot of people have similar stories. We all have soft spots for unexpected teams. Hating everyone all the time is exhausting. True story: I only have enough energy to hate four teams in all of FBS:
- USC because I will never forgive. And I will always hate Pete Carroll.
- FSU because I will never forget. And I don’t want to talk about it.
- Alabama, which I dislike the most and don’t even need to address but probably will in a couple of weeks.
- And Georgia, which I will address below.
Other than that, meh. Don’t get me wrong. I want my defense to eat your quarterback and for all of your fans to be sad during the game, random Texas A&M fan. During the other 51 weeks of the year, though, I’m pretty neutral about you and your weird towel. You have a neat dog. Your fans are pretty nice. Gig 'em or whatever.
But my apathy only extends so far. Certainly not to you, random Georgia fan. I don’t like you. I may have attended a high school that steals nearly everything from you aesthetically, but when I tweet #godawgs, I only mean the #otownkilla variety. Outside of Bulldog Stadium on a Friday night, I dislike your color scheme. I dislike the way you added an extra note to "Glory" to be able to spell G-E-O-R-G-I-A in rhythm, how you've inbred your poor bulldogs, and how you’ve somehow fooled people into thinking you've cornered the market on "class." I even dislike the state**** of Georgia.
So in the spirit of the now bifurcated Amen Corner and my two favorite media—hyperbole and lists—here are the Top 10 Totally Unexaggerated and Not at All Irrational Reasons Why The State of Georgia is the Worst:
- Mark Richt’s stupid face.
Dale Zanine USATODAY Sports
- Atlanta traffic when you just want some Varsity
- Michael Vick, who doesn't even deserve a picture so here are two beautiful pit bulls instead.
- The actor who plays Carl on The Walking Dead is actually from Georgia, and he has this haircut and makes this face on purpose:
- The heartache that is being a Braves fan. WE ARE ALL BRAVES KID.
- The heartache I imagine that is being a Falcons fan but Idk what that’s like because they broke me in 1999. Or a Hawks fan. Or a Thrashers fan #RIP
- This article
- This video
- Taylor Swift's surprise musical guest in ATL was neither Ludacris nor Usher nor magically reunited Outkast, which are literally the only good things about the state other than the aforementioned Varsity.
- The fact that the poll below is possible.
But the hatred I harbor in my heart for Georgia isn’t the kind that makes one deface landmarks or put one’s genitals on another human being without that human being’s permission. It's the kind of hatred that simmers under the surface for 51 weeks of the year and manifests itself in text message outbursts or really fun lists.
Long story short, I don't like you, Georgia. I'm sure the feeling is mutual, and I'm fine with that.
If you're making your way to the Plains for the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry, enjoy the early kick. Lackluster seasons on both sides have relegated this once proud game to the Breakfast League, but I hope our boys will be ready. They really picked up momentum in College Station, but I guess the same could be said for Georgia's dismantling of Kentucky. I feel good about this game, though. I think the team wants it. Of course, I could be wrong, but that's a worry for another day.
Until next time--War Eagle.
**A thing I learned last week is that if I don’t say the really nice things about Auburn, some people will assume that I don’t think them. My column last week was a very specific criticism of three things that I found to be lacking with the coaching staff. It was in no way an indictment of the players or their effort. And I most certainly did not give up on Auburn. But I had a funny idea that fit with my disGUSt (See what I did there?) and I went with it. This week, I elected to look forward rather than backward. It’s just the way the article developed. That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t overjoyed for Jeremy to the point of tears or thrilled beyond measure with Jovon’s coming of age. Just because I don’t gush about Carlton Davis and Daniel Carlson doesn’t mean I wasn’t proud as hell of their performance. This team hasn’t quit yet, and they’re learning how to win. That’s awesome, and I love them for it. And hey, we might go bowling!
***Fun fact: LSU fans SUPER hate Tubs for the whole cigar thing. They don’t take smoking on the Tiger Eye lightly, it seems, even on his birthday.
****I say all of this fully aware that I was born and raised in the State of Alabama.