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Saturday 2 September 2023
After winning 2 consecutive National Championships, the University of Georgia football program has rewarded its loyal season ticket holders with a schedule consisting of traditional rivals Auburn, Vanderbilt, Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech... all on the road. (Florida is the "home" team when the World's Largest Cocktail Party is played in odd-numbered years at the "neutral" site inside the state of Florida).
By comparison, the home schedule is UT Martin, Ball State, South Carolina, UAB, Kentucky, Missouri, and Mississippi. This is, without a doubt and by a very wide margin, the worst home schedule I've seen in my two decades as a season ticket holder. Mississippi is the only game with any promise of being a worthwhile watch, and I'm sure I could get pretty damn good seats to that for much, much less than what I paid for the entire slate. ($1,720 this year, if you're keeping track at home.)
I figured if any of those unworthy cupcakes was going to make for a fun experience, it would be the opener against UT Martin, with the debut of UGA XI "Boom" (following this week's unexpected death of Sonny Seiler), a rare 6PM kickoff, and a crowd eager to celebrate the 2022 National Title.
I was wrong.
In November of last year, I made a note to myself that games like the 2022 contest against Tennessee (ranked No. 1 at the time) were the reason I annually buy season tickets. Games like this are the reason no one should.
UGA rightfully treated the game against the NCAA Division I FCS Skyhawks like a glorified practice, with Mike Bobo's patented vanilla play-calling and an offense that looked like they could have used a few more weeks of minicamp. The shadows advanced down the field faster than either team. The word "boring" doesn't quite describe how uninspiring it all was. I've had more fun watching Pop Warner drills. If Georgia played like that against an SEC opponent, well, no one would be talking about three-peating, that's for sure.
What was worse was that UGA has now closed Gillis Bridge overlooking the West end zone on game days, which also closes our traditional route into the game. When we did finally arrive inside Sanford Stadium, Mom quickly overheated in the blaring late afternoon sun. So we left as the band cleared the field at halftime, having had a simply dismal experience. Given that a total time of 3 hours and 40 minutes would pass before the final whistle was blown (in a game that was televised to a very limited streaming audience but with a full complement of television commercials), I'm certain we made the right call.
Maybe I'll go back when a competent SEC team comes to town... in November.