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After 122 years, Auburn-Georgia has finally caught up to ‘The South’s Oldest Rivalry’ in games played, thanks to SEC title rematch

“The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” officially pulls even with the slightly younger game. Confused yet?

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Georgia v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry between the Auburn Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs will have its 122nd edition on Saturday afternoon, the second time this season the two have played, thanks to the SEC Championship rematch in Atlanta. A few weeks ago, Auburn shocked the then-No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs 40-17 in Jordan-Hare.

Like the first go-round, the stakes couldn’t be higher — a win gets you to the College Football Playoff with a chance to play for the national title. These two rivals have been playing since the late 1800s, and Georgia leads the series 57-56-8.

Thanks to the rematch, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is officially catching up to the game called the South’s Oldest Rivalry.

That one between Virginia-UNC kicked off later in 1892, the same year the first Auburn-Georgia game was played, but had more meetings because Auburn-UGA took a little time off.

That first meeting in 1892 has been called “the first college football game in Southern history.” SB Nation’s Michael Bird had more on this storied series:

1. It’s got deep history.

Auburn-Georgia did not get the moniker of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry by accident. The teams first played in 1892 at Piedmont Park in Atlanta in a game that was described as “the social event of the year.” (And you wonder why Southerners dress up for college football games.)

North Carolina-Virginia has the title of “the South’s Oldest Rivalry” despite kicking off later in 1892. It’s been played slightly more frequently than Auburn-UGA, which most recently took a year off during World War II.

Still, entering the 121st meeting, Bulldogs-Tigers is one of the five most-played FBS rivalries, passing the dormant Missouri-Kansas this year.

2. It’s familial.

Auburn is a stone’s throw from the Georgia border. The nearest major city to Auburn is Columbus, Georgia. Over 10 percent of Auburn’s students come from Georgia, twice as many as any other state (save for Alabama itself). There are more Auburn graduates in Atlanta than any other city, including Birmingham and Auburn itself.

Auburn plays on Pat Dye Field. Dye is a Georgia native and 1960 UGA graduate. Georgia’s athletic campus is named the Vince Dooley Athletic Complex. Mobile’s Dooley is a 1954 graduate of Auburn.

Auburn and Georgia fans bump up against one another on a constant basis. They work with one another, go to church with one another, cut one another off in traffic, and occasionally bond and reproduce together. That social dynamic means that this game, er, just means more.

3. It’s chaotic.

In the last 25 meetings, the home team has won only 10 times. Home field advantage is supposed to be worth three or four points in college football. In the Auburn-Georgia rivalry, it appears to be a burden rather than a benefit.

In the two Tigers victories over the Dawgs in the previous 10 years, Auburn ended up playing for a national title.

Auburn has won just three games in the last 10 meetings, last month’s win included. In 2010, the Tigers went 14-0 and beat Oregon in the National Championship with quarterback Cam Newton at the helm.

The other time was in 2013, otherwise known as The Miracle at Jordan-Hare. Georgia scored a touchdown with less than two minutes left to take a 38-37 lead. But with less than 30 seconds left, Tigers receiver Ricardo Louis caught a pass that was tipped off of a couple of Dawgs’ defenders and found the end zone to give his team a miraculous 43-38 win.

Auburn went on to beat Missouri in the SEC Championship, and lost to Florida State in the final BCS National Championship.

Could Auburn go 2-0 against the Dawgs this season and repeat that trend?

It might not be either team’s most important rivalry, but it means a whole lot to both sides’ fans.

“The rivalry between Auburn and Georgia symbolizes to me everything that college football ought to be about. This is college football as it should be,” Auburn AD Emeritus and AU historian David Housel said via the Auburn Villager. “There’s too much animosity, bordering on hate, between Auburn and Alabama. The fate of the western world seems to depend on the outcome of the Auburn-Alabama game. I think the age and the tradition of the Auburn-Georgia game is a lot healthier.

“I always say, when Auburn and Georgia play, it’s like brothers. When Auburn and Alabama play, it’s like in-laws.”

Georgia’s lead in the overall series is disputed, though.

The 1899 Georgia-Auburn game ended in a tie because it got too...

Auburn Tigers fans, Georgia might owe you a win sometime.

Posted by SB Nation College Football on Thursday, November 9, 2017