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Hobbs Column: LSU, Georgia a lot more alike than they'd admit

Last Modified: Thursday, September 26, 2013 9:41 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

The official party line, of course, is that LSU is just as excited as young puppies be to be headed to play Georgia this Saturday.

Les Miles has jutted his square jaw to embrace the attitude that LSU has a deep want to take on all comers, any place, any time.

There is an underlying subplot that this, perhaps, is the reason that you go to LSU, for games exactly like this, filled with hype and buildup and visits from Kirk, Chris and Corso.

One would hope so. When LSU is rounding up its annual class of incoming studs, they don’t figure to be dreaming of one day taking the field against Kent State. Or Furman, even if it will be homecoming.

Miles and his wards, we’re told, just can’t wait to put it on the line Between the Hedges.

That’s because it’s the week of the big game, and what do you expect them to say?

In the offseason, by contrast, Miles has complained often about “weeks like this,” not specifically this week, but that LSU seems to have a lot more “weeks like this” than some others, without mentioning any names (like Alabama).

Even Wednesday, on the SEC teleconference, after saying, “We certainly enjoy the opportunity of going to Georgia,” Miles later slyly added, “I think there should be some opportunity (to visit lovely Athens) for other schools as well.”

Not to mention any specific names, like Alabama, which will have its SEC East Division road game against … Kentucky, which probably isn’t one of those weeks that make players dream about playing for Alabama.

Actually, if only every week could be like this. For everybody.

It sure beats the buildup to LSU-UAB.

Sanford Stadium is a wonderful stadium, with even better hedges, all of it presided over by the best bulldog ever bred.

And I don’t know how LSU and Georgia can get too awfully mad at each other.

Their fans are cut from the same rabid cloth, sometimes delusionally demanding, often forgetting that opposing teams offer scholarships too, always quick to blame the officials or play-calling for any failings.

Depending upon your point of view, both fan bases are either colorful and quirky or crude and downright obnoxious.

Maybe all four. But, at any rate, there’s not much difference to them, right up to the point where only begrudgingly do they give any credit to two very successful head coaches, Mark Richt of Georgia and Miles.

Although not permanent cross-divisional opponents, in the last 10 years, they’ve played each other seven times, which seems way to high for a rotation until you consider that three of them were unscheduled affairs for the SEC championship game in Atlanta.

Most of them have meant something tangible.

But if you’re searching hard for a mad-on at Georgia, try one of the years the two teams didn’t play.

That would be 2007, when the Tigers won Miles a national championship, but only over the stout objections of then-Georgia President Michael Adams.

Adams’ point, I guess, was that Georgia beat Hawaii worse in the Sugar Bowl than LSU beat Ohio State in the BCS title game.

Yeah, Hawaii. No idea what the 50th state was doing in the Sugar Bowl. But most everybody else chuckled at Adams on that one, too, and the movement never got much groundswell outside the Athens city limits. Basically, he was told to go find a chemistry lab or something to fret about and leave the important football stuff to the pros.

Still, it kind of annoyed LSU at the time.

It also kind of offset 2005, when Richt, Mr. Nice Guy, spent the week before the LSU-Georgia SEC championship game steadily beating the drums for LSU’s (long-shot) chances of reaching the BCS title game with a victory.

He kind of put a damper on his own argument by beating the Tigers 34-14, but it’s hard to blame him for that. Winning games for Georgia is part of his job description.

Maybe it only seems like LSU and Georgia play every year.

For my money, the current glory days of LSU football began on Sept. 20, 2003, in Tiger Stadium against Georgia.

That was the day, in Nick Saban’s fourth season, that the Tigers officially announced themselves as national contenders and they’ve never been too far from the head table since.

It was a strange game in which two good teams took turns dominating each other before Matt Mauck lifted a late touchdown pass to Skyler Green for a 17-10 victory.

It still might be the best day game ever played in Tiger Stadium, with fans heeding Saban’s instructions and finally recreating the nighttime craziness right there in broad daylight.

There was a rematch in the SEC championship game, and the Bulldogs were kind enough to step aside for a 34-14 victory that propelled the Tigers into the BCS title game.

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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