Georgia Football: Long history coming to an end against Vandy

ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 15: Randon Jernigan #36 of the Georgia Bulldogs makes a catch against De'Rickey Wright #43 of the Vanderbilt Commodores at Sanford Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 15: Randon Jernigan #36 of the Georgia Bulldogs makes a catch against De'Rickey Wright #43 of the Vanderbilt Commodores at Sanford Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images) /

Georgia football and Vanderbilt football have a surprisingly long history with one another. Saturday’s game will be the 83rd time these two teams have played each other. It is not often considered a rivalry in the SEC, but given its history, it is.

This will be the last time Vandy and Georgia play each other for the foreseeable future, which is extremely odd. With the additions of Texas and Oklahoma, Georgia is losing a ton of annual opponents. The Vanderbilt game for Georgia isn’t a marquee game on the schedule, but it is a tradition, and I hate that we are losing the game to play Texas. I know we’ll all be excited for the match-up next year against the Longhorns, but I’d rather play a team from the SEC, not some Big 12 school.

So, enjoy watching Georgia play in a stadium currently under construction, which is so Vanderbilt, it hurts. One day in the future, if you have a grandkid or great-grandkid who is a football nerd like myself, will walk in and ask yourself, “Why did Georgia play Vanderbilt every year? That’s weird.” It was weird, Billy, but that was when the SEC was the SEC!

Georgia and Vandy first played in November of 1893, and Vandy won the game 35-0. Vanderbilt was the powerhouse in the early days of football and southern football. When it started, I had no idea of the correlation between academic schools and being the powers of football. It has something to do with getting a head start on everybody else. But Vanderbilt was the southern football power in the early years. In fact, Vandy owned this series against Georgia until 1958, and then the Dawgs have crushed them ever since. Georgia and Vanderbilt would start playing annually in 1954. Since that point, Georgia has only lost ten times and tied once.

The series sits in the favor of the Dawgs with 60 wins and 20 losses. There have only been two ties in the series. If you go from 1962 till today, Georgia has only lost six times to Vanderbilt. The longest win streak in this series is 11 games, which Georgia had from 1974-1984. Vanderbilt’s longest win streak was four from 1901-1912.

The last time Georgia lost to Vandy was in 2016. Kirby Smart’s first year, and he lost to Vanderbilt. If you remember the game, Georgia had a 4 and 1 and ran Isaiah McKenzie on a toss-sweep. What an incredibly stupid play!  Nick Chubb was a lead blocker on the play, and Jim Chaney did not give the ball to him. It’s not like I am still upset with that game or anything like that. But since that lone loss to Vandy in 2016, Georgia has won 5 in a row.

Georgia vs Vanderbilt is not the rivalry of Georgia-Florida or Georgia-Auburn. But if you need a reason to hate Vanderbilt, look up what happened in 2020. We were dealing with COVID-19 at the time, which brought on postponed games all season, which was annoying.

The game between Georgia and Vanderbilt was postponed early that year and moved to the season’s final game. This would be the last game in Sanford Stadium for the season and for the seniors who stayed during a weird year. The Seniors during the 2020 year deserved to be recognized for staying when they could have left.

But on December 14th, the game was called off because Vandy did not have enough guys to play. It was all a rouse in my mind because Vandy did not want to go 0-10, which would be the worst record in SEC history. But what do I know?  If you remember, Mississippi State had the same situation happen when they played the Dawgs they elected to play, and they nearly won that game. So, there is a reason to dislike Vandy. Sidenote: can you believe how late in the year we were playing football in 2020? How weird is it Georgia would have played in Sanford Stadium 7 days before Christmas? Odd.

Anyway, Georgia should win this game; they are 31.5-point favorites. But we, as Georgia fans, need to appreciate this game for its history, and it is the last time we will play Vandy annually. Let’s also pull to staying healthy before the bye and the toughest part of our schedule coming up!

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