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Kirby Smart and Georgia are the No. 5 ranked team in the country.

How Soulja Boy became a key figure in the Georgia-Auburn rivalry

Connor Riley

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Crank that Soulja Boy

A lot of people remember Georgia’s 2007 game against Auburn. It was a huge win for Mark Richt and the Bulldogs that year, as it propelled the Bulldogs to a No. 2 finish in the 2007 season. Georgia wore the famed black jerseys for the first time. Georgia players, and even legendary CBS announcer Verne Lundquist, were dancing on the sideline. It was truly a great day in Sanford Stadium history and one that Georgia would like to recreate on Saturday with Auburn coming to town.

Related: The pros and cons of wearing the black jerseys against Auburn

But with Georgia coach Kirby Smart putting to rest any talk of the black jerseys on Tuesday night, the most enduring part from the 2007 game—and the part most likely to be replicated on Saturday should Georgia win—is the song that the players were dancing to that day. It was none other than rapper Soulja Boy’s “Crank That.”

For those who don’t remember 2007, “Crank That” was a full-fledged phenomenon, complete with a dance. The song was wildly popular and while many have complained about the music choices at Georgia games, you couldn’t complain on that day.

As you can see in the video below, Sanford Stadium was “lit” long before anyone knew what the term “lit” actually meant. It was truly an iconic moment in Sanford Stadium history.

The start of the fourth quarter is almost always when the crowd is at its most frenzied point, and that was certainly the case on that day. The Bulldogs rode that emotional high, and outscored Auburn 14-0 in the fourth quarter to put away a 45-20 win.

Of course, the song took on new meaning in 2017. As Auburn was putting the finishing touches on its 40-17 win over the Bulldogs, the PA system at Jordan Hare Stadium just happened to blast the song. And naturally, the Auburn players danced along with it. And why wouldn’t they? The Tigers were clearly the better team that day and earned their right to troll.

But Georgia ended up getting the last laugh in 2017. Georgia got revenge in the 2017 SEC Championship game, sending the Bulldogs to the College Football Playoff and Auburn to the Peach Bowl. But you can bet that Georgia fans and players still weren’t happy about the Auburn troll job last season.

Should Georgia find itself with a comfortable lead late, don’t be surprised to hear “Crank That” blasting from the Sanford Stadium speakers. The song is now part of what makes this rivalry so great. Auburn fans are probably going to hate hearing the song, because it likely means the Tigers will be losing.

If Georgia fans can’t see their team come out in black jerseys, they should at least be able to enjoy “Crank That” on Saturday. Or at least enjoy it as much as one can enjoy possibly beating Auburn.

Georgia comes in No. 5 in the College Football Playoff

In case you missed it last night, the second batch of College Football Playoff rankings came out and the Georgia Bulldogs came in at No. 5. The top four is No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 4 Michigan. As for some of Georgia’s opponents, LSU dropped to No. 7, Kentucky is at No. 11, Florida sits at No. 15 and Auburn is now No. 24.

Related: Georgia football moves up in College Football Playoff rankings

For the most part, Georgia still controls its own destiny. If it wins out and beats Alabama in the SEC Championship game, the Bulldogs should get it in. However, Georgia grad and ESPN commentator David Pollack did bring up a scenario that sparked an interesting debate.

Let’s say Notre Dame, Clemson and Michigan all win out, and Georgia beats Alabama in the SEC title game.

In that scenario, you’ve got an unbeaten Clemson and Notre Dame, and a one-loss Michigan, Alabama and Georgia. Which of those teams gets left out?

We’ve seen in the past that a team doesn’t need to win its conference to get into the College Football Playoff, as Ohio State and Alabama did just that in 2016 and 2017, respectively. And while you could make the argument that the head-to-head loss should eliminate Alabama, as Kirk Herbstreit did, the Crimson Tide have also looked better than Georgia in just about every week this season.

It is something that is interesting to think about, but it’s also worth mentioning that there’s still a lot of football left to be played.

Three what could’ve been’s

More so than most opponents, Auburn has actually been able to land some players that Georgia has tried to land in recent years. UGA is recruiting at an unprecedented level the last few years, but the Bulldogs can’t win them all. Here are a few that went Auburn’s way.

Derrick Brown, junior defensive tackle: A lot has been made about Georgia’s rush defense this season. While it’s made huge strides in recent weeks, had the Bulldogs been able to land Brown back in 2016, Georgia would have a true difference maker in run defense. The mammoth junior has 3.5 sacks and 9 tackles for loss this season.

Brown’s recruitment came down to the final days of the 2016 recruiting cycle. The Buford, GA native was the No. 1 player in Georgia that year. But Kirby Smart had only recently taken over as Georgia’s head coach, and he couldn’t quite catch up to Auburn and Gus Malzahn to land Brown’s services. Of course, missing out on Brown wouldn’t have been so bad had Georgia not also missed out on 5-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon from Leesburg, Ga., in the 2017 cycle.

Big Kat Bryant, sophomore outside linebacker: This was another recruitment that came down to National Signing Day. Georgia very much wanted to add Bryant as a member of its 2017 recruiting class, which finished ranked No. 3 in the country. But Bryant, who has 2.5 sacks this season, picked the Tigers in the end.

Bryant played at Crisp County High School, which also produced Quay Walker, a 4-star linebacker in the 2018 class. Georgia was able to land Walker, who committed to Georgia in memorable fashion. 

Darius Slayton: Junior wide receiver: Unlike Brown and Bryant, Slayton was actually committed to Georgia, as he pledged his services to Mark Richt in December of 2014. But on the eve of National Signing Day, Slayton flipped his commitment from Georgia to Auburn.

This loss didn’t sting quite as much, as Georgia has been able to bring in 5-star prospects like Terry Godwin and Mecole Hardman at receiver. Like Brown and Bryant, Slayton hails from Georgia, as he played his high school football at Greater Atlanta Christian. This season, Slayton has 29 catches for 439 yards and 1 touchdown. He is coming off his best game of the season against Texas A&M, where he hauled in 8 catches for 107 yards.

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