Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Auburn-Louisville: The All-Time Atlanta Hate Game


Guessing you've seen this once or twice. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Hoover, Ala. -- After Auburn kicked off, as it were, the first of the SEC's four Media Days here Monday, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl staffers filed through the main media room handing out a fact sheet on the 2015 Kickoff Classic, which will be held Sept. 5 in the doomed Georgia Dome. They billed it as "a projected Top 25 matchup." They should have billed it this way:

The All-Time Atlanta Hate Game.

Auburn is one of the participants, and Auburn and Georgia have been having at it for more than a century. "Like two brothers wrestling," is how the former Auburn publicist/athletic director David Housel famously put the Deep South's oldest rivalry, and there was a time when fraternity prevailed. (After all, Vince Dooley played at Auburn and Pat Dye at Georgia.)

That time, alas, is gone. Georgia fans still haven't gotten over being hosed -- literally -- after Dooley's Bulldogs upset Dye's Tigers in 1986. (Auburn officials turned water cannon on celebrants who wouldn't leave. I was there. It remains among the strangest sights I've beheld.) More recently, Bulldog backers were incensed when Nick (un)Fairley kept pile-driving Aaron Murray into the turf in 2010, and the 2013 Prayer at Jordan-Hare ripped civility to pieces.

Georgia lost to Auburn on pass thrown by Nick Marshall, who'd been a Bulldog until he was kicked off the team for his role in a dormitory theft, and deflected by defenders Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons. The Tigers would go on to the play for the BCS title. For the Bulldogs, worse was to come.

Matthews was dismissed from the program after being charged with theft by deception (trying to cash the same scholarship check twice) and then being involved in a classroom altercation with a teacher. Ouch. He transferred to Auburn. Double ouch.

Harvey-Clemons had earlier been given the Bulldog boot for what were reported as failed drug tests. He transferred to Louisville. Auburn's opponent in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic?

Louisville.

Harvey-Clemons and Matthews figure to start for their new teams Sept. 5 after sitting out last season. (Matthews was the MVP of Auburn's spring game.) Auburn's defense will be coordinated by Will Muschamp, who played at Georgia but had the unmitigated gall to coach Florida, albeit not well. Louisville's defense will be coordinated by Todd Grantham, who was Georgia's defensive coordinator until he had the unmitigated gall to go make even more money elsewhere.

Oh, yeah. Almost forgot. Louisville is coached by Bobby Petrino, who ran out on the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 after 13 games. He wound up in Louisville by way of Western Kentucky because, while the Arkansas coach, he went for a motorcycle ride that didn't end well.

A check of Auburn's web site showed that tickets are still available for this bilious affair. I'm not here to tell you what to do with your money, but if you ever had a hankering to sit in a big air-conditioned building and boo everyone who moves for the next 3 1/2 hours, this would seem your day.

Also from Media Days: Auburn banks on a big QB with a big arm.

Also this: Ahead of the blather, an SEC Media Days primer.


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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.