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The History Between Georgia and Tennessee

A look at the history between Georgia vs Tennessee and the SEC rivalry.

Conference rivalries are a different breed in the SEC. Year-round bragging rights are at stake but Georgia and Tennessee's matchup this season has higher stakes than this game typically has had in the past. 

The first game between the two teams occurred all the way back in 1899, but they didn't become annual opponents until 1992. The Bulldogs currently lead the series with an all-time record of 26-23-2. However, the rivalry was originally dominated by the Volunteers. 

During the 1990s, Georgia did not win a single game against Tennessee. A big reason for that was the Volunteers had a guy named Peyton Manning playing quarterback for four of those years. Tennessee would win nine straight games over the stretch of an 11-year period. 

The tides turned during the 2000s for Georgia. In 2000, Georgia snapped Tennessee's win streak, but in 2001 is when history was made. With Georga knocking on the door, quarterback David Greene dropped back and delivered a ball to running back Verron Haynes in the end zone for a touchdown. Larry Munson, the voice of Georgia football, then delivered one of the most famous phrases in program history. "We just stepped on their face with a hobnailed boot and broke their nose! We just crushed their face!”

Since that moment, the Bulldogs have won 14 of the last 20 matchups in the series. The Bulldogs currently hold a five-game win streak over Tennessee and a win on Saturday would set a new series record for them. 

Tennessee is just one of many SEC east teams to have fallen victim to Georgia's dominance under Kirby Smart. The Volunteers were able to take down the Bulldogs in Smart's first year with Georgia thanks to a last-second hail mary, but that was the last moment of glory Tennessee had against Georgia. 

Since 2017, Georgia has beaten Tennessee by an average of 28.6 points and has scored an average of 41.4 points over that five-game stretch. This season, however, is the best chance Tennessee has had in a long time to knock off Georgia and get back into the win column. 

Right now, Georgia sits as an 8.5-point favorite over Tennessee, who is led by Heisman Trophy candidate Hendon Hooker and an offense that is scoring points in bunches. 

The winner of Saturday's game will more than likely go on to punch their ticket for an appearance in the SEC Championship game, something the Volunteers haven't done since 2007. 

This year's border-state rivalry has a lot more at stake than just 365 more days of bragging rights. It's a game that will have major implications on the trajectory of each team's season for the remainder of this college football season. Doesn't get much better than that for a conference rivalry in November. 

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