Bulldog 21: Quiz explores full spectrum of UGA fan experience

Georgia fans taking the Bulldogs 21 profile quiz are high on Kirby Smart’s chances of another national championship. (Tony Walsh/UGA)
Tony Walsh/UGA

Cheering for a UGA win is one thing, but what truly makes you a Dawgs fan?

To determine the depth and range of Bulldogs fandom, the folks at Junkyard Industries have developed a quiz of 21 scientifically selected questions that are designed to profile the average Dawgs supporter.

Just kidding. Really, I’m stealing a bit from “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” in which the late-night host questions celebs on a wide array of topics — ranging from the best sandwich to their favorite action movie to their favorite smell — in order to truly “know” them.

I’ve adapted the premise for Bulldog Nation. What follows are the questions and my answers — along with a few answers from other fans who’ve taken the quiz.

What’s something Dawgs-related that you can’t get enough of?

For me, it’s rewatching the entire fourth quarter of the national championship win over Alabama. One thing’s for sure: You come away from that decisive quarter understanding why Stetson Bennett remains Georgia’s starting quarterback.

As for other fans, Ashley Espie particularly loves watching Kelee Ringo’s pick-6 from that quarter. “I just love that play, and love noticing something new each time I watch it,” she said. Ditto other fans.

Meanwhile, Steve Short can’t get enough of Uga V lunging at Auburn’s Robert Baker in 1996, while Bill Hartman loves looking at pictures of Sanford Stadium. “It’s a beautiful place, and seeing it from different angles and in different light pleases me!” he said. And, for Bill Bryant, he likes rewatching the Appleby-to-Washington trick pass against Florida in 1975. He wonders: “Was Gene Washington thinking of Montreal as he gathered in the pass and sprinted to the end zone, as the clairvoyant Munson told us? I sincerely doubt it, but what the hell.”

Favorite Dawgs game ever (any sport)?

I’ve got nearly a dozen favorite football games, ranging from the 1965 “flea-flicker” upset of the national champion Crimson Tide to the overtime Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma, but I have to admit that the latest addition to the list, the national championship win over Bama in Indy, has risen quickly to the top.

Steve Short’s favorite is the four-overtime 56-49 win over Auburn in 1996. As he put it: “An unbelievable comeback (we trailed 28-7) and it was fantastic to see Georgia fans roaring at Auburn when the game ended.”

It’s also hard for Ashley Espie to pass on the recent natty game, though she has other contenders, including Georgia’s 42-7 battering of the Gators in 2017. “I had never seen the Dawgs beat the Gators so handily before,” she said, “and I was freaking out a couple minutes into the first quarter when we went up 21-0.”

Jeff Dantzler goes for another sound thrashing of a rival, the 44-7 win over Tech in 1981.

Meanwhile, Betz Tillitski goes a match between UGA and USC in tennis in the 1970s, where “the crowd was wild.” And Dan Pelletier’s all-time favorite is the first basketball game ever played in the Steg, on Feb. 22, 1964, with the Dawgs prevailing over Tech 81-68 by playing an iron-man starting five, with no subs. Dan noted he was one of 13,200 in attendance — 2,000 over the official capacity.

Hot dogs appear to be the favorite concession choice at Sanford Stadium. (University of Georgia)
University of Georgia, Dawgnation

From the Sanford Stadium concession stands, hot dog or nachos?

First, I have to confess that, in recent years, I’ve usually hit the first concession stand I come to after I enter Gate 2, where I buy a couple of Chick-fil-A sandwiches and a bottle of water. But, in earlier years, I always went for the hot dogs at Sanford. The buns are usually warm, but not too dry, and the hot dogs also warm (though once or twice over the years I’ve gotten a cold one). As for the nachos, I’m sorry, but those microwave wonders look kinda nasty.

Hot dogs generally were the favorite among other fans, though Betz Tillitski, Darrell Huckaby and Bill Hartman all stirred fond memories in me by saying they miss the Poss’ barbecue sandwiches served at the stadium back in the day.

Likelihood of Georgia winning another football natty in the next five years?

I’d say the odds of another national title in football for UGA in that time period are very good, as long as Kirby Smart keeps recruiting at the level that he’s established.

Fans taking the quiz agreed, with Charlie Hayslett noting: “They’ll absolutely be in the conversation every year, and I don’t see why they wouldn’t be favored to make the playoffs. I’d put the odds that they’d win it all again in the next five years at 75 percent.” Said Jason Hasty: “I’d say that likelihood is as near to 100% as it can get. The only reason I won’t say 100% is because, as Larry Munson liked to say, ‘the ball bounces funny sometimes.’” Added Darrell Huckaby: “You can’t outcoach recruiting.”

UGA’s baseball stadium, Foley Field, is a fan favorite. (University of Georgia)
University of Georgia, Dawgnation

Favorite UGA venue other than Sanford Stadium?

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Stegeman Coliseum, since I watched it being built when I went to school at David C. Barrow Elementary across the street. But, I’d say my favorite UGA venue, other than Between the Hedges, is Foley Field, the baseball stadium. Although it’s small, when it’s packed for a big one, the atmosphere can be pretty electric (though I miss the days of the more outlandish fans on Kudzu Hill).

Foley was the pick of most of the fans taking the quiz, though there also was support for Stegeman and the tennis stadium. Said Jason Hasty of Foley: “I love the location, nestled between campus and the neighborhoods around it. I also always feel as if I’m right on top of the field; not a bad seat in the house.”

Oh, and my runnerup: A former UGA sports venue, Herty Field. In my days as a student, the former football field was just a parking lot. But, now, it’s a beautiful green space with a fountain, where UGA students play Frisbee, read, eat lunch or, increasingly, get married! It’s a North Campus jewel.

UGA’s biggest football rival?

While the traditional rival is Tech, that game hasn’t mattered a whole lot (except for in-state bragging rights and general hatred between the two fan bases) in many years. The biggest rival used to be Florida, and that one still runs very hot, but nowadays the biggest rival probably is Alabama. We’re operating a more elite level now.

Other fans taking the quiz generally were split between Auburn and Bama, though there still were some who saw Florida or Tech as the biggest rival.

Your favorite rivalry?

I’ve always enjoyed the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry between UGA and Auburn, but my real favorite is a rivalry with another nearby school that used to be played annually but has been more infrequent in recent decades: Clemson. And, when the Dawgs and Tigers do play nowadays, it’s generally a blockbuster game. I’m encouraged by the fact that Georgia and Clemson, who opened last season meeting in Charlotte, are scheduled to play each other in five of the next 12 seasons.

Among the other quiz-takers, Florida was the favorite, though there was support for Tech, Auburn and Tennessee. Jason Hasty, who is the UGA sports history specialist at the Hargrett Library in Athens, made the case for AU, saying “the history of the rivalry is so rich, and so interwoven with our own history, that it makes that game even more meaningful every year.”

Vince Dooley, seen here with Kirby Smart after the national championship win over Bama, is a favorite past coach. (Tony Walsh/UGA)
Tony Walsh, Dawgnation

Favorite UGA football coach other than Kirby?

It won’t surprise longtime readers that I definitely go old-school, picking Vince Dooley. He not only won six SEC titles and a national championship, he won 70 percent of his games (he’s still UGA’s winningest coach), ranks third all-time among SEC coaches and was one of the classiest guys in coaching. To those who associate Dooley with a less exciting, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust brand of football, I say: flea-flicker, shoestring, Appleby-to-Washington and … you get the point.

Jason Hasty agreed. “Beyond the story of what he took over, following the down years of the 1950s and early 1960s, and beyond his record on the field, Coach Dooley has in so many ways been the heart and soul of this program since 1964,” he said. “I also don’t think it’s possible to envision what Georgia athletics would look like without the leadership and foresight he showed during integration and during the implementation of Title IX.”

Overall, Dooley edged out Mark Richt among other fans. Said Charlie Hayslett about why Richt is his favorite: “I know the rap on him, but he brought the program a long, long way … Kirby was not starting from scratch.”

Least favorite thing about Sanford Stadium?

The outdated (and, late in a game, disgusting) restrooms in the older portion of Sanford are a longtime complaint, but the most dangerous thing is the narrow concourses, which were built to accommodate a crowd half the size of what currently attends games there. If the stadium ever had to be evacuated in a hurry, it could be a disaster. I also wish the Redcoats could be heard better throughout the stadium during the game.

Other least favorite things cited by other fans included rude gate keepers, narrow seats, the ear-shattering PA system and overly loud prerecorded music.

The lone trumpeter before the game is the overwhelming favorite Sanford Stadium tradition. (University of Georgia)
University of Georgia, Dawgnation

Pick a game tradition: the solo trumpeter or “Krypton” at the start of the 4th quarter?

For me, it’s the solo trumpeter kicking off the “Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation” from the southwest corner of the upper level of the stands in the pregame. If that doesn’t give you goosebumps, you’re on the wrong page. I also like the tradition of fans standing and pointing right before the lone trumpeter begins playing.

The trumpet solo was the overwhelming choice of quiz-takers.

Who would you rather play every year, Clemson or Tech?

My real preference would be both. But, if it’s just one, I’d keep the in-state rivals on the schedule every year. Without its traditions, college football would be just a farm league for the NFL.

Among other quiz-takers, Clemson edged out Tech. Added Owen Scott, a UGA grad who lives in Baton Rouge, “Tech is to UGA as Tulane is to LSU.” (The Tigers and the Green Wave haven’t played since 2009.)

Jacksonville or home-and-home?

As a season ticket holder, I’d prefer to see the Gators Between the Hedges every other year. As a traditionalist, I like the special status and 50-50 crowd of the Florida game being held in Jacksonville.

Smart would like to have the game in Athens every other year for recruiting purposes, but, as long as the deal with Jacksonville pays more than Georgia would make out of an every-other-year home game, I think Jacksonville is safe. However, if season ticket sales ever falter, look for the series to go home-and-home.

Among others taking the quiz, Jacksonville won by a 2-1 margin. Said Ashley Espie: “That split stadium is an impressive and exciting sight!”

Andy Johnson is a favorite QB for many fans, particularly those from Athens. (University of Georgia)
University of Georgia, Dawgnation

Favorite all-time UGA quarterback?

If the question were about the greatest quarterback, I’d probably go with Fran Tarkenton or Aaron Murray, but my favorite QB has to be a guy I went to school with from junior high on: Andy Johnson, whose Bulldog heroics most notably included leading the Dawgs to a thrilling last-minute victory over Georgia Tech in a nationally televised game on Thanksgiving night in 1971. Andy probably was Georgia’s best running QB ever, and he was a super nice guy. He passed away in 2018, and he really was missed at our Athens High School Class of 1970 reunion last weekend.

Johnson was the top pick of other fans, but I should note that a bunch of the folks taking the quiz originally are from Athens, as I am. Murray, Buck Belue and Tarkenton also drew some support.

Favorite UGA sports-related book?

My choice is “The Ghosts of Herty Field,” the history of the early days of UGA football by the late Dr. John F. Stegeman (of the Athens family whose name graces the Coliseum). I think it might be the only book that my father and I both read!

My brother Jon picked “Finish the Drill,” Loran Smith’s account of the 2002 season, and Bill Hartman went for Loran’s “Glory! Glory!” look at the 1980 season. Darrell Huckaby naturally picked “Need Two,” his own humorous novel about two students trying to make it to the 1981 Sugar Bowl.

If you could have only one mascot on the field: Uga or Hairy Dawg?

I like Hairy, especially the way he stands out in those ESPN commercials featuring various schools’ costumed mascots, but if I could have only one of them, it’d have to be the latest in the line of white English bulldogs provided by the Seiler family. I mean, how could you go against a two-time pick by Sports Illustrated as college football’s best mascot? Plus, it was one of the Ugas that stole the “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” movie (Uga V, portraying his daddy, Uga IV).

The picks were split evenly between the two among other quiz-takers.

Would you favor a retro game with the team wearing silver helmets?

I would. Not the silver helmets with a power G from Chick-fil-A kickoff game a few years back, but a classic silver lid. If they decided they had to dress it up, they could add a square red G on the side, as UGA did for a few games in 1962.

Most other quiz-takers also liked the idea, with Jason Hasty, ever the historian, answering: “I would, but only if the uniform were accurate: plain silver helmet, plain red jersey with block numbers in white, and plain silver britches. There are plenty of examples in the archives to base a throwback uniform on.”

Some fans don’t think UGA and Tech need to play every year in football. (Tony Walsh/UGA)
Tony Walsh, Dawgnation

Once a year: red britches, black jerseys or both (not at the same time)?

I’d say yes, with maybe the red britches for the first road game of the season (as was done against Arkansas in 2020) and the black jerseys for the last conference home game of the season.

Among other quiz-takers, there was considerably more support for the black jerseys than for the red britches.

Butler or Hot Rod?

Kevin Butler and Rodrigo Blankenship both are among my favorite Georgia Bulldogs, and I think it’s really cool that Butler, a College Football Hall of Fame member, mentored Hot Rod as a graduate assistant kicking coach. If I had to pick however, I’d go with Butler, probably the greatest college kicker ever, and the inspiration of one of Larry Munson’s greatest calls when he kicked it “100,000 miles” for a last-second upset win over Clemson in 1984.

Butler was the 2-1 pick of other quiz-takers. And, yes, Jeff Dantzler picked Butler, his partner on the post-game radio call-in show.

Favorite tailgate food?

From 1997 to 2002, my son and I usually were joined by my Dad and my brothers for tailgating at a church on Lumpkin Street before we all headed down to the stadium. Then, Dad’s health declined, and he didn’t attend any games in person after 2002. I haven’t tailgated since then. But, when I did, my favorite food was fried chicken drumsticks. They tasted extra good sitting in the shade, talking Dawgs with Pop.

Barbecue and fried chicken were the choice of most other quiz-takers, but the tailgate picks ranged widely, from shrimp Alfredo with a good Chardonnay (!) to hot wings to ribs to red beans and rice with sausage. Barbara Hartman Howell went Old South, choosing “pineapple sandwiches with bread cut in circles to the size of the pineapple slices, with Duke’s mayo and a dash of cayenne pepper.”

If another varsity sport could be added, which one would you add?

Men’s soccer. While the women play varsity soccer at UGA, the men still are at the club level. I was in attendance at the very first men’s soccer game ever played at UGA, when the Dawgs took on Tech in the old Myers Quad in November 1966. I’d love to see a men’s varsity team playing at the current Turner Soccer Complex.

Among other quiz-takers, there was support for men’s soccer, along with wrestling (which used to be a varsity sport at UGA) and lacrosse (men’s or women’s). My brother Jon and Owen Scott both answered: “men’s basketball!” Ouch. Which brings us to the final question …

In five words: What does UGA men’s basketball need most?

My own answer was: “Find the next Tubby Smith,” and Bill Hartman was on the same track, with “Tubby Smith to come back.”

Other answers included “Enthusiasm, excellent in-state recruiting,” “consistent leadership and morale boosting,” “a real commitment to program” and “recruit and retain top talent.” The most optimistic was Darrell Huckaby’s: “Just a little more time.”

And, so, that’s how you get to “know” a Dawgs fan. Several who’ve taken this quiz said it was a lot of fun; if you’d like to try the Bulldog 21 yourself, you can find the questions (with no answers) on my Facebook page.

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