Hey Georgia Fans: Stop Pretending Auburn is Ever Competitive
I didn’t grow up a die-hard Georgia fan. I watched any and every SEC game I could get my googly eyes on as a kid, and I rooted aggressively against the University of Tennessee. But I did not really dive into Georgia football until I enrolled at the University as a freshman in 2006. In fact, even after being accepted to UGA I didn’t totally commit. Truthfully, I didn’t know where I wanted to take my academic talents. I applied to tons of schools—Georgia, Tennessee (lol), Vanderbilt, Clemson, Samford, you name it. I even applied—and almost went—to Auburn. Ultimately, I chose the University of Georgia over Auburn (my backup school…sorry!). And ever since that day, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry hasn’t been much of a rivalry.
You see, rivalries are supposed to be competitive. Frankly, Georgia/Auburn hasn’t been. Since 2006, Georgia is 10-3 against Auburn. To be sure, this period has featured some pretty decent Georgia teams (and some good Auburn teams as well), but 10-3 isn’t exactly competitive. In fact, Georgia’s winning percentage against the Tigers/War Eagles (.769) is actually higher than Georgia’s winning percentage as a whole over that time period (.728).
My beloved Bulldogs have absolutely dominated Auburn by practically every measure in head-to-head competition. And that makes me wonder: Is this even a rivalry anymore?
Georgia is notorious for having too many rivals. Florida and Tennessee are longstanding SEC East rivals, but South Carolina gets rival-like treatment as well. Georgia Tech is an in-state rival to some and Clemson was once a bitter rival and may someday soon return to the schedule and heat things up. Some would argue that Alabama is becoming a rival given the heated battles on the field, within coaching staffs and on the recruiting trail. Either way, there are too many rivals!
I’ve long advocated for removing the Georgia Tech “rivalry” from the schedule, because it’s just not competitive. Frankly, Georgia/Auburn is even less competitive.
Since 2006, the only team Georgia has defeated more than Auburn is actually Kentucky (lol).
We don’t really consider Kentucky and Vanderbilt (the only other teams Georgia has beaten at least 10 times since 2006) rivals do we?
Further, among teams Georgia plays somewhat frequently (meaning in this case, at least five times since 2006), Auburn is clearly not in the “rivalry” pool.
Missouri, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Auburn. What do these teams have in common? For starters, they’re the only teams Georgia has played at least five times since 2006 while posting a winning percentage of better than .750. That’s actually it. Which of these things is not like the other? Auburn. Why? Because Auburn is allegedly a rival.
What’s even crazier is the cumulative impact of these games. If we look at Georgia’s combined scoring advantage since 2006, Auburn is once again in elite company—right alongside Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
And that number isn’t just a byproduct of playing Auburn a lot of times. Since 2006, Georgia has played 27 different Power-5 opponents (this includes independent Notre Dame cuz duh). Auburn has been the 22nd-most competitive opponent from this pool as measured by average scoring differential vs. Georgia. Woof!
I said this heading into the SEC Championship Game last year, but let’s stop pretending Auburn against Georgia has a chance on Saturday. And when it’s done, we probably don’t need to celebrate.
That’s all I got/