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Kirby Smart and Georgia football take on Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Making the case for why Georgia Tech is Georgia’s most important rival

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Why Georgia Tech is Georgia’s biggest rival

Georgia has a lot of rivalry games. There’s the Florida game, which DawgNation Daily host Brandon Adams says is Georgia’s biggest rivalry game given that it usually plays a key role deciding the SEC East. There’s the Auburn matchup, which has produced some instant classics on both sides and is referred to the as “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.” There’s even the budding rivalry between Alabama, given these two teams figure to be competing for national championships in the years to come.

And then there is Georgia Tech. The rivalry is still plenty intense, as the “Clean Old Fashioned Hate” moniker signifies. But dating back to the beginning of the Mark Richt era, this rivalry has been very one-sided. Since 2001, Georgia has won 14 of the 17 games against Georgia Tech, leading some Bulldog fans to assume beating the Yellow Jackets should be a given.

Georgia has a decided talent advantage. It’s partially due to Kirby Smart’s recruiting prowess, while Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense makes it difficult to recruit elite prospects.. It’s understandable why fans feel the Bulldogs should always have an upper hand. The last time Georgia Tech came into this game with a higher ranking was back in 2009, and Georgia Tech lost that game. From a year-to-year basis, Georgia has just been better than Georgia Tech in the 21st century.

But the past five editions of this rivalry game have been incredibly close. Two of them have gone to overtime and four of them have been one-score games. Last year’s 38-7 Georgia win is the only blowout of the bunch. And the Bulldogs have dropped the last two games against Georgia Tech in Athens. Despite the talent gap arguably being as wide as ever, these games continue to stay close.

Beating Georgia Tech is rarely fun. Given the aforementioned talent gap, a victory should be expected. The game doesn’t affect whether or not Georgia plays in the SEC Championship game, which the Bulldogs will do once again this season.

But losing to Georgia Tech is the absolute worst. It’s the final game of the regular season, and ending it with a loss just puts a damper on everything. Sure there is the bowl game or theoretical SEC championship game to maybe make things that better. But if you lose to Georgia Tech, you’re probably not going to fare all that well against Alabama.

Conversely, The Georgia game is Georgia Tech’s Super Bowl, and when they win they’re going to let you know about it. On the other side, Georgia fans would much rather boast about beating Florida or Auburn than Georgia Tech. It’s hard to celebrate a win over a team you’re supposed to beat every year.

Related: Tech, Georgia agree that ‘property destruction’ such as ripping up hedges will no longer be part of rivalry

The reason I consider Georgia Tech to be Georgia’s biggest rival is because losing to the Yellow Jackets is so much worse than the feeling associated with beating anybody else. The 2014 Georgia-Georgia Tech game ranks as my least favorite sports event of all-time, and I’ve seen my favorite NFL team lose in the Super Bowl to Eli Manning twice.

It may not be the most fun game to watch or celebrate, but losing to Georgia Tech just puts a damper on the whole season. And that’s why Georgia Tech is Georgia’s biggest rival.

Rodrigo Blankenship was robbed

I get that not everyone can be nominated for every award. That you have to be truly special to be honored as one of the nation’s best. But it is an absolute joke and farce that Rodrigo Blankenship was not named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, which goes to the nation’s top kicker.

I could lay out why Blankenship is the best kicker in the country. But instead I’ll former Georgia punter Cameron Nizialek explain why Blankenship should’ve at least been a finalist.

On the season, Blankenship is 18 of 20 on field goal attempts with a long of 53 yards. That’s higher percentage than LSU’s Cole Tracy, who was named a finalist. And when you factor in kickoffs, it’s really not even close. The junior kicker is second in the country in touchbacks with 69 and fourth in the country in touchback percentage. He’s a better weapon in the kickoff game than any of the three finalists.

Like many Georgia fans, I believe Blankenship is the best kicker in the country. He’s been money this year for Georgia and was a big reason Georgia is one of the best team’s in the country. It’s unfortunate that the rest of the country just doesn’t #respectthespecs.

Top Dawg in the NFL

With a number of Bulldogs— Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Jordan Jenkins just to name a few — on bye this week, there were fewer options then usual for the Top Dawg award, which goes the former Georgia player who had the best week in the NFL.

Roquan Smith and Leonard Floyd of the Chicago Bears both had strong performances in the 25-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Smith finished the game with 7 tackles, while Floyd had 5. Two of those were for a loss.

Former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford led the Detroit Lions to a 20-19 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. He completed 23 of his 37 pass attempts, for 220 yards and a touchdown. Thomas Davis of the Carolina Panthers had 6 tackles in the losing effort.

Chris Conley and Justin Houston both had huge games for the Kansas City Chiefs. Conley played his best game of the season as he finished with 7 catches, 74 yards and touchdown. Houston meanwhile forced a fumble that led to a Kansas City defensive touchdown. Todd Gurley meanwhile was kept out of the endzone for the first time this season. He finished the game with 55 rushing yards and 39 receiving yards.

The award came for this week came down to two defenders. The runner-up for the award goes to Shawn Williams of the Cincinnati Bengals. The former Georgia safety led the Bengals with 11 tackles and intercepted a pass from Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson. But it was not enough to lead Cincinnati to victory, as the Bengals lost 24-21.

Alec Ogletree on the other hand did get a win on Sunday. The New York Giants’ linebacker finished the game with 9 tackles. He also intercepted a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass and returned for a touchdown. And that defensive touchdown proved to be the difference as the Giants beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-35. So for week 11, Ogletree is the Top Dawg in the NFL.

Past Top Dawg winners:

Week 1: ReShad Jones DB, Miami Dolphins
Week 2: Shawn Williams DB, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 3: Matthew Stafford QB, Detroit Lions
Week 4: A.J. Green WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 5: Todd Gurley RB, Los Angeles Rams
Week 6: Todd Gurley RB, Los Angeles Rams
Week 7: Todd Gurley RB, Los Angeles Rams
Week 8: Todd Gurley RB, Los Angeles Rams
Week 9: Benjamin Watson TE, New Orleans Saints
Week 10: Nick Chubb RB, Cleveland Browns

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“The fact that @RodTheKicker3 (Blankenship’s Twitter handle) is not in the final 3 for the @LouGrozaAward for nations top kicker is absolutely insane,” Nizialek tweeted. “Without the blocked Fg that was not his fault, top FG % in the country and best kickoff leg in the college football #RespecttheSpecs.”