Bradley’s Buzz: Tech-UGA has become a non-event

The least surprising announcement of every football season comes when TV chooses the time for Georgia-Georgia Tech. It’s always at noon. It’s never at 3:30 p.m., never in prime time. TV saves those slots for games people might want to watch. Who wants to watch Tech lose again to Georgia?

Clean Old-Fashioned Hate was once hateful, in the sense that these schools were rivals who shared a state but never a worldview. Tech folks considered Georgia grads lacking, shall we say, in sophistication. Georgia folks regarded Tech alums as geeks. A Georgia fan of my acquaintance says he can’t put up a Christmas tree unless his team beats Tech, but that’s ancient superstition talking. Recent reality holds that all Bulldogs will have happy Thanksgivings and merry Christmases.

ExploreWhat Georgia-Georgia Tech means to Brent Key

Vince Dooley went 19-6 against Tech, which changed everything. Even Bobby Dodd, who’d once beaten Georgia eight years running, was 0-3 versus Dooley. Ray Goff couldn’t beat Tennessee or Florida, but he was 5-2 against the Jackets. Jim Donnan was 2-3, which was why he didn’t get a sixth season. Mark Richt was 13-2 overall, 8-0 in Bobby Dodd Stadium. Kirby Smart lost his first game against Tech. If he coaches until he’s 60, he mightn’t lose another.

Since 1963, Tech is 14-43 against Georgia. Bill Curry and Bobby Ross each beat the Bulldogs twice; George O’Leary and Paul Johnson won three apiece. Bill Lewis, Chan Gailey and Geoff Collins were for 0-for-UGA. Owing to COVID, the latter never took a team to Sanford Stadium. Good thing. His Jackets were outscored 97-7 in Atlanta.

The teams play Saturday in Athens. Georgia is ranked No. 1 in the country. Tech is working under an interim coach. The Bulldogs are favored by 35.5 points. ESPN’s football power index gives Tech a 1.3% chance of winning. Collins worked 3 ⅓ seasons at Tech, winning 10 games. The Bulldogs have won 11 or more games five consecutive regular seasons, the shortened 2020 not included.

ExploreWith chapters still to write, the ‘Legend of Stetson Bennett’ must be appreciated

Since losing to Johnson’s Jackets on Nov. 26, 2016 – Tech scored 14 points over the final 6:38, Qua Searcy’s improvisational leap providing the winner at 0:30 – Smart’s Bulldogs are 70-10. Tech is 27-43. This will be Smart’s sixth game against Tech as head coach; all were assigned noon starts. The last time Tech-Georgia didn’t have a 12 p.m. kickoff was Nov. 30, 2013.

For obvious reasons, Tech fans view the Georgia game with dread – if they dare to view it at all. Bulldogs backers see it as a please-don’t-let-anyone-get-hurt scrimmage before the SEC Championship game and the College Football Playoff. The aggregate halftime score over the past four installments of Tech-Georgia is 96-21. The Jackets haven’t led Georgia since Searcy went airborne.

As an actual neutral, the guy Tech fans know as Bark Madly views the diminution of this once-spirited series as a major loss. All the Southern rivalries wax and wane. They wouldn’t be rivalries if they didn’t. South Carolina has lost seven in a row to Clemson; the Gamecocks won five in a row before that. Those two also play at noon Saturday. There is, however, a chance that Clemson loses.

There’s no chance Georgia loses to Tech. There has been no chance since 2017. Deep down, even Georgia fans must be hoping that someday there’ll be another semi-interesting Thanksgiving Saturday. Just for variety’s sake.

The above is part of a regular exercise, written and collated by yours truly, available to all who register on AJC.com for our free Sports Daily newsletter. The full Bradley’s Buzz, which includes more opinions and extras like a weekly poll, arrives via email around 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We’d be obliged if you’d give it a try.

FAQ: How do I sign up? Go to the AJC.com home page. Click on “newsletters” at the top right. Click on “Sports Daily.” You’ll need to enter your email. Thanks in advance, folks.