BATON ROUGE — LSU football players insisted Monday they have the Bulldogs, not Georgia, on their minds.
The two traditional powers haven’t played each other much over the years, but — this being Southern football — something must have happened somewhere to put an edge of grudge to the meeting, right?
The most recent something was the 2005 Southeastern Conference championship game in which a No.¤3-ranked LSU team went to Atlanta and got smacked around by Georgia in a 34-14 loss.
LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson said he recalled the crushing defeat “like it was yesterday.” Jackson was one of several seniors that mentioned the humiliation they felt after that game.
“It was a real bad feeling,” guard Herman Johnson said. “Nobody liked that plane ride home, everybody was real upset. I’ve wanted to play them ever since that game.”
The chance will come Saturday afternoon when No.¤11 LSU (5-1, 3-1) faces No.¤9 Georgia (6-1, 3-1) at Tiger Stadium. To the victor will go continuing control of its conference destiny, the loser essentially will find its league hopes in ashes. Jackson and Johnson said they personally hold nothing against Georgia or its people, they simply are consumed with a passion for beating the Bulldogs in football.
The outcome of a Georgia/LSU game always seems to carry a particularly sour taste for one school, but most recently that unwanted flavor has been in LSU’s mouth. The last time the teams met in the regular season, a 2004 visit by LSU to Athens, the outcome was even more lopsided than the SEC championship game: Georgia, 45-16. The shellacking, it was said at the time, was payback for the 34-13 pounding LSU put on Georgia in the 2003 SEC title game en route to the national championship.
Indeed, so punishing have the past three games been for one of the teams that the most immediate slight hardly ranks. That would be the support Georgia President Michael Adams threw behind a college football playoff. Adams, who heads the NCAA executive committee, announced his unexpected turnaround Jan. 8, or around the same time LSU was announced as the game’s consensus national champion for the first time since 1958.
Adams insisted his remarks had nothing to do with the fact LSU had leapfrogged Georgia in the BCS standings to play Ohio State for the championship. But even SEC Commissioner Mike Slive found the timing in poor taste, noting the day should have been reserved for LSU’s celebration.
Miles declined to revisit the matter when it was tossed to him at his press luncheon Monday.
“I don’t know, that was a long time ago in my mind,” he said. “But I certainly remember that and recall it, but no, I don’t think that’s an issue with our team. Certainly, everybody is entitled to their opinion.