It’s all in the narrative.
Georgia fans are catching on. Take this post in the commentary from Get the Picture -
"Kit July 24, 2008 at 11:46 am
There’s an extended post I’m going to write soon about this year’s game and what the records should/could be going into it, but all I can say right now is that we’re not taking anything for granted either.
I read a great line from Anthony Dasher over at UGAsports.com where Coach Mark Richt was asked about the rivalry and whether or not it has intensified. Of course he responded “yes,” but the next question was about Florida’s success against UGA and he responded along the lines of “well we’ve won 2 of the past 4 and if you want to count the previous years then you might as well count from the first game. See where UGA stands then.”
When it comes to something that should be as obvious as a win-loss record, it is apparent nothing is obvious when the Gators and Dawgs are involved.
But I have to give coach Richt, and Georgia fans, credit for finally trying to change the narrative of this series. The “2 of the past 4” meme is taking hold on Georgia Blogs and message boards, and it seems to be gaining traction. And it shows a definite change in their thinking.
As a Florida fan, I can admit the previous narrative regarding the series record was, well - somewhat artificial. But Georgia fans bought it, and that was all that mattered. Take this post from Senator Blutarsky for last year’s Blog Swap -
"Greetings, Gator fans. I come in peace.
As if I have a real choice in the matter… When your school has been on the butt end of a 2-15 skid against a major rival, it's more than a little cheeky to show up and start laying the smack down. I'd rather have you guys laughing with me than at me.
About that 2-15 – it's one of the strangest records in modern sports. Those are numbers you'd expect to see generated by a bottom dweller (and as weak as Georgia was in the mid-90's, things were never that bad), not a team that's been in the SECCG three of the last five years."
Now that is a man who was buying our narrative! 2 of 15 (or 13 of 15, from our perspective) seems an impossible hole, an un-scalable hill, a legacy of shame. Of course, the “RECORD” never made much sense, as it included the records of three coaches, and countless teams and players. Certainly, just taking Spurrier’s record was logical during his term (11-1), but combining that with Zook’s 2-1 and Meyer’s 2-0 really stretched the bounds of logic. If we could heap them all together, why were we comfortable to ignore say, the 1980’s, when Georgia dominated? How far back does logic go?
But Georgia fans, and the sports media, were buying it, so we sold it as fast as it would move. “You’ve won but twice in 17 years”, or, in other words “You have no chance”.
Despite the absurdity of boasting about what now constitutes a 50% record, Georgia fans and their media are making the case for changing the narrative. I mean, “We’re fifty-fifty” isn’t exactly an inspiring taunt, but when your overall record is 2-5 against your hated archrival, what’s a coach to hang his hat on?
In the interest of logic, I would suggest the following streaks as actually making sense –
The “Richt Record” – Florida 5, Georgia 2
The “Meyer Record” – Florida 2, Georgia 1
The "Post Spurrier Record" - Florida 4, Georgia 2
The “Overall Record” – Georgia 46, Florida 37 (2 ties)
Oh that’s right, we can’t even agree on the last one, with Georgia claiming a win before Florida had a football team. But at least these “records” show a logical continuity.
At the moment though, Georgia seems to be having success in changing the narrative to “2 of 4”, at least among themselves. And then there’s this from Get the Picture’s comments on the same post –
"Jim July 24, 2008 at 4:05 pm
Hey Gator boys…UGA wins this year ,it’s 3 out of last 5..nex’t year’s UGA team will be better than 08! You’re screwed…Tebow 0fer"
This happy poster is prepared to taunt Gator fans with the mere prospect that, in his chosen timeframe, Georgia might have a winning record against Florida. Nevermind that if his prediction comes to pass, Richt will find himself at 3-5 against Florida, a full two games from mediocrity.
But as I said it’s all in the narrative. Georgia fans seem emboldened by their recent wins. So, in choosing a period that includes 1 win against our former, and at the time just fired, coach (Zook), 2 losses to our current coach, and last year’s win, Georgia positions itself to – gasp! – claim a lead in their record of recent choice if they win this year.
I guess hoping for bragging rights about a “3 of 5” record is something to cling to after allowing “15 and 2” to be hung around your neck. Of course, if Florida wins, that hopeful narrative becomes “2 of 5”, which isn’t much to hold on to. Especially when it makes your coach 2 of 6 against your most bitter rival.
Or, if you prefer the old narrative, a Florida win this year would make the Gators “16 and 3”.
Yeah, I like that one.
Friday, July 25, 2008
It’s all in the narrative.