By Mark Owens

It’s Rivalry Week and Georgia is preparing for another installment of “Clean Old Fashioned Hate” against Georgia Tech. It needs to be stated that there is one insult among the jabs that is both lazy and more importantly, wrong.

When engaged in parking lot verbal warfare, try and refrain from yelling “Well, half your fans didn’t even go there!” or “How can you be a fan, you didn’t even graduate from (insert school here)?!”

It feels like a great burn because for a lot of SEC schools, it’s true. However, having a large fan base made up of locals, family alumni or just someone looking for a team to follow is the ultimate compliment to that program.

For arguments sake, let’s take the long-standing, in-state rivalry between UGA and Georgia Tech. Full disclosure, I was born and raised a member of Dawg Nation. Furthermore, I didn’t attend Georgia. I did apply, but was rejected (studying was not my strong point in high school, so it took a few years of community college to get my grades up to transfer to a bigger school.). I get the “You didn’t go there!” line all the time.

Let me explain why it’s not effective.

There is not one single athletic director in the country, regardless of the college, that would turn away a fan, or more importantly, their money. A college sports marketing goal is to have a huge fan base, with sold out events and a program in the top five of merchandise sales. The reason I mention Georgia Tech is because Tech faithful are notorious for calling out UGA fans who are not alumni. I’ve attended numerous Tech football games and have seen plenty of empty seats, some during season-defining, divisional matchups. I’m willing to bet Georgia Tech AD Todd Stansbury would be OK with having a packed house, even if that meant a percentage of fans were not alumni.

That goes for any school, any state and any conference. Selling tickets, jerseys, parking, programs, merchandise means catering to a crowd that cracks a beer on campus, but never a text book. Plus, as a fan, it’s exciting to have a strong fan base that extends just past victorious Saturdays.

So when it comes to your trash talk, stick to insulting the players, history or crowds, but “You didn’t go there.” is a compliment to the school, not a burn.

Am I wrong? Follow me on Twitter @marko6262 and tell me why.

Cheers and Go Dawgs!
Mark

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