If you visit the Internet and come across the conversations between Georgia Southern fans and Georgia State fans on the forums, it’s pretty apparent there’s a football rivalry brewing there.
Two things need to happen to make it official.
First, there needs to be something on the line, a trophy the winning team can claim to prove supremacy after a win, something tangible to accompany the year of bragging rights that inevitably follows a victory.
Georgia Southern’s rivalries with Appalachian State and Furman developed in the playoffs with national championships on the line — before GSU joined them the Southern Conference. State and Southern won’t be meeting in the playoffs, so what will be on the line?
Second, Georgia Southern and Georgia State actually need to play each other.
The second one will take care of itself when Georgia Southern joins the Sun Belt Conference in 2014.
The first, however, is something that needs to be addressed.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why do two teams who have never met on the gridiron need a rivalry trophy? Who says they’ll be rivals, anyway?
First, and most importantly, the two schools don’t like each other. Google it.
Georgia Southern fans claim to be the better program because, since the Eagles began playing football, the Eagles have one of the top five all-time winning percentages in the country. Georgia State is 10-23 in its history.
Georgia State fans claim to have the better program because they’re in Atlanta.
Georgia Southern fans point to six national titles.
Georgia State fans point to the fact that they play home games in the Georgia Dome.
Georgia State fans view Georgia Southern as a “safety school.”
Georgia Southern fans view State as a “commuter school.”
It’s big city versus country, urban versus rural, upstart Football Bowl Subdivision newcomer versus traditional Football Championship Subdivision powerhouse.
And there’s also the rumor circling around the forums (from reliable sources in many cases — just saying) that Georgia State objected to Georgia Southern’s admittance into the Sun Belt before flopping to fall in line with the unanimous vote by the member institutions.
Yeah, it’s got all the makings of an in-state rivalry.
There was a pretty heated rivalry between the schools on the basketball court in the 1980s and 1990s before Georgia Southern joined the SoCon. The chants of, “The real G-S-U,” still echo from Hanner Fieldhouse.
So here’s what I propose: Georgia Southern and Georgia State play each year for the battle of GSU. There’s a trophy, in the shape of the state of Georgia, with the letters “G-S-U” across the top. And on the trophy, the year, winner and score are etched. The trophy goes home with the winner.
And the winner earns the right to be known as GSU.
Now, I’m not suggesting either school paints over any “GSU” branding on their respective campuses. Should Georgia Southern lose, I’m not suggesting that it remove the GSU shrubs from Sweetheart Circle.
I’m also not suggesting that the schools or the media that covers the schools need to comply in literature about each university. No, let’s keep this on the football field.
How about this? Georgia Southern’s marching band, Southern Pride, plays the “GSU Scramble” before and during each football game. If Georgia State wins, the “GSU Scramble” is off limits until the Eagles answer.
If Georgia Southern wins, then the Georgia State University Marching Band has to remove the “G-S-U, G-S-U” portion from “Fight Panthers,” the school’s fight song, until the trophy returns to Atlanta. The whole “Who’s the real GSU?” argument is silly, anyway. Why not settle it on the field?
It’s about time for another in-state, FBS football rivalry in Georgia. Something tells me this is going to be a good one.