It it has been played in Columbus more times than anywhere else, 38 games, according to Wikipedia. It was played in Columbus from 1920 to 1958, with the only break being when it was played in Athens in 1929. Memorial Stadium (now A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium), I am told, was larger than the stadiums at Georgia and Auburn in 1920.
Not only was the game the largest sports event in Cweolumbus, it was also arguably the biggest social even of the year. Parties were held all over town. Men wore business suits and women their Sunday best when going to the game.
When I was a boy, no one I knew went to parties or the game because we were in the depths of the Great Depression. My dad would drive the family by the stadium so we could see the well-dressed crowds going into the game, then we would listen to it on the radio. And everyone could watch the Georgia and Auburn bands in the game day parade on Broadway. The Georgia Band would arrive by train at the Central of Georgia Depot on 6th Avenue, a block away from where we lived in the 1940s. My buddies and I would watch the band detrain, form up and start its march to Broadway We would follow the band to Broadway where it would join the Auburn band for the Broadway parade. Georgia and Auburn fans would decorate their cars in school colors and signs.
During the last year of World War II and right after the war, since the war had brought an end to the Great Depression, family finances picked up and we started going to the games. The one that I remember most vividly was when Charlie Trippi played. It was either the 1945 or 1946 game. Trippi, who was an All-American and in the running for the Heisman Trophy (Doc Blanchard of Army won it) put on dazzling show.
It was a warm, sunny November Saturday afternoon. We were sitting in the end zone seats , but that didn’t matter because I WAS THERE, actually seeing a Georgia-Auburn game. And while I was rooting for Georgia, I enjoyed the Auburn band when it played The Tiger Rag as much as the Bulldog band when it played Glory Glory to old Georgia. I just loved it when the Auburn band tuba section stood and in unison turned from one side to the other when it did the roar part of the song.
And the end zone didn’t turn out so bad after all. You got to see Trippi doing his dazzling reverses and running backwards before he would turn and run what it appeared to be right through most of the Auburn team in the end-zone area. That turned out to be better than the ultra-expensive 50-yard line seats. Georgia won. I know that because Georgia won both the 1945 and 1946 games.
The Georgia-Auburn game is billed as “The Deep South’s Oldest Football Rivalry.” Virginia-North Carolina claim to be “The South’s Oldest Football Rivalry” even though it played its first game in 1892, the same year that Georgia and Auburn played their first game. Virgnia-North Carolina claim the most games since they played two in 1892. There is the distinct possibility that Georgia and Auburn can play twice in one year for the SEC Championship so that will make it a tie for “oldest rivalry,” I suppose.