Posts Tagged ‘Auburn University’

Georgia Plays Auburn in Columbus and Almost Nobody Comes

May 15, 2016

About 40 spectators turned out for the historic game, historic because it’s the first time Georgia has played Auburn in Columbus since 1958. The Georgia-Auburn football classic was arguably the biggest sports and social event of the year in Columbus. (I thought it left Columbus because it outgrew Memorial Stadium, but a comment listed below says otherwise.*)

Georgia--Auburn Football Game,, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, 1895. The claissic switched to Columbus, GA in 1920, leaving in 1958 and now alternates between Aubiurn, AL and Athens, GA. They first started playing in 1892 in Atlanta.

Georgia–Auburn Football Game,, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, 1895. The claissic switched to Columbus, GA in 1920, leaving in 1958 and now alternates between Aubiurn, AL and Athens, GA. They first started playing in 1892 in Atlanta.

There was a major difference in the 1958 and 2016 game,  college football and college Ultimate Frisbee. Columbus media ignored the USA Ultimate league’s Southeast Regional Tournament that was held April 30th — May  1s  at the Woodruff Farm Soccer complex in Columbus.  There were sixteen teams from major Southeast universities, including Georgia Tech. 
Georgia beat Auburn in the final game and, along with 2nd Place Florida State and 3rd Place Auburn,  goes to the National Championship Tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina May 27th through 30th. ESPN3 does stream the championship games. 
The only reason I knew about the Columbus tournament is that Georgia’s star player Parker Bray is the grandson of my friend Julie Bray. We were among the very few who saw him make some spectacular plays in the Alabama and LSU games. (I didn’t make the Auburn game.) 
Perhaps media ignored the event because Ultimate Frisbee is a stepchild (club) college sport. The teams pay most of their expenses.  I enjoyed the games because I’m into  lifelong learning.  Like most folks, I knew almost nothing about Ultimate Frisbee. Now I know that a team scores when a player catches a disc in the opposing team’s end zone. It’s billed as non-contact sport, but Parker ended up in a hospital for more than a week after one game. When two fast and strong young men are racing to catch a disc, collisions will happen. A  player can’t throw a disc while moving, but must pass it within 10 seconds. There are no referees in college Frisbee. The honor system is used. A game is over in an hour and a half, or when one team scores 15 points first. It’s fast and fun to watch. The players are amazingly accurate when they throw those floating discs, and it’s not unusual for them to make diving catches.
It appeared that Georgia and Auburn had the largest groups of spectators. (I saw no spectators at a Georgia Tech game.) Auburn even had a ‘band!” Well, actually, one trombonist who played the National Anthem before their games. For the championship game, the Georgia team also sang “Amazing Grace.” Really.   The teams are very spirited and do their own cheers after scoring a point. One of the Jojah – that’s the logo name of the Georgia team- cheers is “Jojah, Jojah” followed by barking like a bulldog four times. Those kids have fun and it’s fun to watch them.    
There is also a women’s division. Maybe we can get their Southeast Regional Tournament next year. 
*When I ran a post on the Georgia-Auburn football classic in 2012, I recevied this comment on the reason the game was moved in 1958. I had always heard it was because the crowds outgrew Memorial Stadium, but I got this comment that says otherwise.
Jesse C. Gordon III Says:
Nice commentary, but the reason the series was mover to home and away was Auburn wanted another home game.Columbus(my Grandfather,Auburn graduate, was involved in the politics of the situation at the time) offered to expand Columbus Memorial up to 70,000 capacity. Auburn said no.And that is the long and the short of why the series went to home and away. In 1959 Neither Auburn nor Georgia seated more than the 35,000 Memorial Stadium held.Somewhere in city hall one may find the plans submitted showing an expanded Columbus Memorial with a complete second tier, still horseshoe shaped.Would have been the 2nd. largest stadium in the South behind old Tulane Stadium.

*

 

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Georgia-Auburn Columbus Memories

November 15, 2010

As I watched the Georgia-Auburn, or Auburn-Georgia game (if you are an Auburn fan, Auburn always comes first, and visa versa for Georgia), I had to reflect on when it was played in Columbus.   And 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. The crowds outgrew Columbus’ Memorial Stadium and the game has alternated between Athens and Auburn since 1959.   

A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium, formerly Memorial Stadium, home of Georgia-Auburn football games from 1920 to 1958

I never really knew why Columbus was selected as the site, only surmising that it might have been because Columbus is only about 35 miles from Auburn, but it’s in Georgia. Maybe it’s because Memorial Stadium in 1920 was larger than the stadiums at Athens and Auburn. I really don’t know that for sure. If you do know, please click the comment button and tell me. 

Anyway, as many in Columbus and Phenix City who are old enough to remember will tell you, it was a huge deal, perhaps the largest social affair in Columbus each year.  Parties were held all over town, with some really impressive ones in the homes of the affluent.  Everyone dressed up for the game back then, with men wearing suits and ties, and women wearing their Sunday best and  a red and white, or blue and gold carnation corsage. I knew that, not because I went to the games before the end of World War II, but from my father driving the family by the stadium on game day to watch folks going into the stadium. My parents considered the tickets too pricey at the time.  The most exciting drive-by was during World War II when we saw mega-movie star Bette Davis being escorted by her Fort Benning solider boyfriend into the stadium.  My memory tells me she was wearing a corsage, but I don’t remember which colors. We would go back home and listen to the game on the radio. WRBL radio – there was no TV then – broadcast the games on a statewide network. 

I couldn’t see the games then, but I could see the bands, and I loved the bands as much as I did the games.  On game day, the Georgia band would arrive in Columbus on a Central of Georgia train.  All I had to do was walk from our house on 5th Avenue near 11th Street to the corner of 5th Avenue and 12th Street, which was a short block from the Central of Georgia depot.  By the time the Georgia band got to the intersection it went from a percussion street beat to the band’s playing a familiar march, maybe even Glory Glory to Old Georgia.  Then my buddies and I 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. 

Charlie Trippi (Photo courtesy: Athens Banner-Herald)

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. 

Anyway, as you know Auburn won this year.  The teams are pretty close to a tie for the most wins from 1892 to now.

Why Did An Auburn U. Ag Student Die From Drinking Milk?

September 1, 2009

Georgia will beat Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech will beat Georgia. Auburn will beat Alabama. Alabama will beat Auburn.  That’s what the Rotary Club of Columbus Fearless Forecasters predicted last Wednesday.

They got laughs for their sometimes funny insults.  One of them said,  An Auburn student died the other day from drinking milk.  The cow sat on him.”

Now, here are the Fearless Forecasters’ predictions for this season’s football games played by Georgia Tech, Auburn, Alabama and Georgia. Should you use their predictions when you place your bets?  Well, let’s just say … they try.

For Auburn, Judge Bill Smith – he’s a retired Superior Court Judge, who still judges on a part-time basis – predicts Auburn will go 9-3 and beat rival Alabama 21-13.

Judge Bill Smith, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Judge Bill Smith, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

For Georgia Tech, Frank Etheridge, a retired banker,  got to crow a lot about Georgia Tech beating Georgia last year, even it was the first time in seven years.  He believes Tech will have a great season, winning 10 and losing 2 games.  He says Tech will beat Georgia 35-28.

Frank Etheridge (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Frank Etheridge (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Mac Plummer, St. Francis Hospital executive, who never went to Alabama, fronts for Alabama because, while his college team is West Point since he went there,  he says if you live in South Alabama you have to be for either ALabama or Auburn, and he picked Alabama.  He predicts Alabama will go 11- 1, and will beat Auburn.

Mac Plummer, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Mac Plummer, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

And attorney Ron Mullins,  representing the Bulldogs, predicted Georgia will go 10-2, and beat Tech 38-24. 

Ron Mullins, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Ron Mullins, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

My prediction?  One of my alma maters, Mercer University, will not beat Georgia. That’s because it won’t play Georgia.  It won’t play anybody because it has no team. But, it did. In fact, the first football game Georgia played was in 1892 against Mercer.  The Bulldogs won 50-0.   Georgia’s legendary coach Wally Butts played on  Mercer’s team in the late 1920’s.  Mercer did manage to beat  Georgia Tech that year. It was also the first game played by a Tech team.

The Fearless Forecasters program always draws a lot of guests to the “downtown” Rotary Club.  After all, college football is big deal in our corner of Georgia and Alabama, and all of us need a few laughs to get us through the day.