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Georgia Football

Why isn't No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 2 Tennessee a So-Called "Game of the Century?"

October 31, 2022

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ATHENS - There have only been a few No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups this century - even fewer during the regular season. 

Saturday will mark only the fifth time this century that a No. 1-ranked team has faced the No. 2-ranked team in the regular season. The matchup is so rare that it often doesn’t happen in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game

And yet, the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs’ matchup with the No. 2 Tennessee Vols hasn’t garnered the type of attention that would classify the game as a “Game of the Century” candidate. Why is that?

After all, both teams are undefeated. Georgia is the defending national champion. Tennessee defeated Alabama, the team that Georgia beat for the national title a season ago. The Vols have the No. 1 offense in college football; the Dawgs are No. 2. Both teams are lead by elderly quarterbacks. 

* Exclusive Event: UGA DB Kelee Ringo Autograph Signing *


        Sunday, November 20, 2022 || Red Zone in Athens

The Setup for a So-called Game of the Century is there...

The setup is all there. And as much hype as already surrounds this game… the fact is the buildup to this being a Game of the Century-type game has not been there. Why?

Because the Vols were not ranked coming into the season? Is there a pre-season bias involved here? Often GoC-level games are either early in the season, like 2006’s No. 1 Ohio State at No. 2 Texas, or between traditional rivals - Alabama-LSU (2019, 2011) and Ohio State-Michigan (2006). 

We certainly are not at the start of the season. Georgia-Tennessee is not a traditional rivalry (save the comments - UGA has three rivals… the Dawgs can’t be rivals with everyone). Does Tennessee’s rough last two decades mean the public can’t image them being a big deal the way Ohio State, Michigan, LSU or Alabama are often seen as? The Vols have failed to win more than ten games in each of the last 20 seasons. They’ve not won the SEC since 1998. Is that what’s going on here?

Or is the fact that Ohio State, Michigan and perhaps other undefeated teams are still hanging around with a lot left to play for the reason why the hype has not hit GoC status? That’s what it feels like more than anything. Tennessee’s failures (see: hiring Jeremy Pruitt; hiring Phil Fulmer as an AD) quite certainly seem in the rearview mirror. Ohio State, Michigan and everyone else most assuredly are not. Tuesday night will remind all of us of that fact.

Over time, the Georgia-Tennessee game stands as one of the most-watched games in college football. From 2012 to 2021, the UGA-UT game is the 17th-most watched game in the sport. That’s behind UGA-Alabama (No. 1), UGA-Auburn (No. 10) and Georgia-Florida (No. 12). Coming into the year Georgia-Tennessee is the most-watched series the Vols play - slighting in front of Alabama-Tennessee. 

         The Georgia Bulldogs WIN the 2021 NATIONAL TITLE!

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And this weekend will go a long way in figuring out which series is more important for TV. Alabama-Tennessee has a much longer, richer tradition than UGA-UT. But it is probable that this weekend’s matchup between the two SEC foes will top Bama-Tennessee’s massive 11.6 million-viewer audience. 

If so, that would make it the at least the seventh-largest game the Dawgs have played in school history. That might not be big enough to be a Game of the Century, but it’s not nothing, either. 

So-called Games of the Century in the 2000s

2019 - No. 1 LSU (+5) at No. 2 Alabama - LSU wins 46-41
2011 - No. 1 LSU (+5.5) at No. 2 Alabama - LSU wins 9-6, OT
2006 - No. 2 Michigan at No. 1 Ohio State (-6.5) - Ohio State wins 42-39
2006 - No. 1 Ohio State at No. 2 Texas (-3) - Ohio State wins 24–7

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