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Wednesday was a disappointing day for Georgia football, basketball
There’s no need to sugar coat it. Wednesday was a bit of a disappointment for Georgia football and Georgia basketball.
We’ll lead with football. It was announced by Georgia president Jere Morehead announced that Tennessee and Auburn would be swapping spots on Georgia’s schedule, beginning in the 2020 season.
The movement of the Auburn game is a significant break from tradition, as the Bulldogs and Tigers have played in November every year dating back to 1937. The last time the game wasn’t played in November, the game was also played in Columbus.
“As I understand it, the conference has switched Auburn and Tennessee and, you know, they had their reasons for doing it,” Morehead explained to reporters. “I suppose if I was looking at the schedules, the keys for me would be asking if the head football coach is happy with the schedule and has our athletic director vetted it properly. All those things have been done.”
Many wondered why Georgia would agree to this proposal. It had been suggested that Kirby Smart was looking to get an extra home game against Auburn, given the comments he made at SEC spring meetings last year. But Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity indicated that Georgia will not be getting an extra home game out of the deal.
“I doubt that’ll ever happen,” McGarity said, “That was a one-time deal, unless the conference expands again. That may be another discussion. But this was the same situation as seven other schools that had to make changes to the rotation of their games. That was done strictly for conference realignment.”
So now, Georgia will play Auburn in early October or late September depending on the year, and face SEC East foe Tennessee in November. In some ways, it’s not a total loss. Georgia fans will still get a marquee SEC opponent in November. And they’ll still have a big early season rivalry game to look forward to.
But the Tennessee “rivalry” isn’t nearly as big as the one with Auburn. It’s called the Deep South’s Oldest rivalry for a reason. The Bulldogs and Tigers have met every year dating back to 1919. Georgia and Tennessee meanwhile didn’t start playing each other regularly until 1992.
Georgia doesn’t get any real benefit out of this move, while Auburn now no longer has to play Georgia and Alabama in the same month. The Bulldogs will still have to make road trips to Auburn and Knoxville in odd-numbered years. Instead of playing game against Auburn and Georgia Tech in the same month, Georgia will now have to play Tennessee and Georgia Tech in November.
To rehash a point made yesterday, if you start by changing the traditional November game against Auburn, where does it stop? Will the Georgia Tech game be moved up to earlier in the season? And will we one day see the Georgia-Florida game — which has been played in Jacksonville every year since 1933 sans the two seasons where the stadium was being renovated, and 1943 when Florida did not field a team due to World War 2 — move to Athens and Gainesville? With the movement of the Auburn game, it’s fair to wonder if those will one day be on the table.
But as disappointing as the move of the Auburn game might be, it actually pales in comparison to what happened at Stegeman Coliseum on Wednesday night. In a tough season for Georgia basketball, the Bulldogs suffered their most brutal loss yet.
Trailing 67-64 with less than 10 seconds remaining, Georgia guard Tyree Crump hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 67. The 3-pointer capped a second-half comeback that saw Georgia overcome a 17-point deficit. But with .5 second left in regulation, Georgia guard Jordan Harris was called for a questionable foul.
Mississippi State guard Quinndary Weatherspoon, an 83-percent free throw shooter, stepped to line and missed the first free throw. That’s when things broke bad for Georgia.
Someone threw a plush toy bulldog onto the floor while Weatherspoon was shooting. The object landed on the court, and Mississippi State coach Ben Howland immediately pointed it out to officials. The officials saw the toy bulldog on the ground, and responded by issuing a technical foul on Georgia. That gave Mississippi State an extra free throw, which Weatherspoon knocked down. He then missed his third free throw intentionally, giving Mississippi State a 68-67 win.
In a season filled with losses — Georgia basketball is now 10-16 and 1-12 in SEC play — this one is easily the worst. You really hate to see it for the players, especially after they made such an effort to come back against a likely NCAA Tournament team in Mississippi State.
Georgia coach Tom Crean said afterwards that the referees made no attempt to try and explain the technical foul, which stunned Crean.
“So I’ll just cover the technical thing. To my knowledge, I’m 52 years of age, been a head coach for 19 years, been an assistant — been coaching since I was 18 and college since I was 20, I’ve never seen that. Not without a warning. And certainly without an explanation.”
With 0.5 seconds to play in a tie game, a fan tossed a stuffed animal onto the court in Georgia.
The Bulldogs were assessed a technical foul. Mississippi St made the FT, and won the game. Wow 🤭 pic.twitter.com/7PNheymQrp
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 21, 2019
Georgia didn’t lose the game because of the technical foul. Games never come down to one single play or call. But if you’re the fan that threw something on the court, what are you doing? What did you hope to accomplish by throwing a stuffed bulldog on the court? It’s really disappointing to see one fan’s actions take the game out of the Georgia players’ hands and put it into the hands of the officials.
Between the end of the Georgia basketball game and the uprooting of a longstanding Georgia football tradition, Wednesday was not a day to remember.
Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Mississippi State claws out 68-67, last-second win over Georgia
- Georgia Bulldogs say they’re good with moving Auburn game, and so is Kirby Smart
- ESPN proposes interesting trade idea that would make Georgia football better
- Georgia Bulldogs don’t need to further accommodate Auburn in football series
- That Steve Spurrier story UGA fans will love to hear
- Why changing the tradition of Georgia-Auburn game may not be for the better
Dawgs on Twitter
It’s amazing how many people think Cane’s is better than Zaxby’s..
— Keith Marshall (@Truthh4) February 20, 2019
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) February 21, 2019
Dawgs ❤️ dogs (and cats and lizards and hamsters, too)! #LoveYourPetDay win
— UGA (@universityofga) February 20, 2019
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Good Dawg of the Day
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