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Line King: Some losses are worse than others

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    It had all the makings of another showout game for the South Carolina Gamecocks: the bright TV lights of the SEC Network, a hot new rivalry, and a Thursday night game. It was not. South Carolina's loss
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(RNN) - College football is a game of emotions. Players are emotional – most actually play for the love of the game, not dreams of an NFL career and a fancy car with giant chrome wheels. Cheerleaders jump up and down because they care, even though nobody pays attention to them. Fans sometimes for no particular reason attach themselves to a college team, paint their bodies and live and die with each play. One moment the world has come to an end and a second later, they're proposing marriage to each other.

Nowhere was this more evident than in Auburn last Saturday night.

The Earth stood still while a ball hovered above two Georgia defenders for what seemed like three minutes, then Ricardo Louis crushed the soul of the Bulldog Nation.

In a normal world (or game against a Conference USA opponent) this might have been just another touchdown pass. But Georgia had just mounted a Herculean, fourth quarter, 21-point comeback. The Bulldog faithful - those who actually attended school in Athens as well as those with "Dawgs" tattooed on their neck - were enjoying the highest high and actually acknowledged each other's existence.

Then it happened.

I watched the ending of the game with mixed emotions. On the one hand, The Line King is the leader of the "Anybody but the $EC crowd;" on the other, my younger brother played for Georgia back in the 80s. He loved his Dawgs.

I lost him earlier this year after a long and brave battle with cancer.

I thought about what his reaction might have been. Auburn had been the fly in his punch bowl for almost three decades. It was an underdog Auburn team that had ruined his Senior Day in Athens. He was on the cover of the game program that day.

He played for the love of the game. He spent the first two years of his career at SMU (he was also part of SMU Death Penalty team – as a walk-on, smarty-pants). After hanging up his cleats after that mess, the Dawgs coaching staff convinced him to "come out of retirement" because they desperately needed a long snapper. He often talked about how his senior and last season of football was the funnest.

He played in the old Southwest Conference (SWC) AND the $EC. In his waning days at SMU, he was interviewed by a room full of NCAA lawyers after he officially listed his car and expenses paid for by SMU alums - our parents both graduated from SMU, but the NCAA never asked that question. He played in a bowl his last game.

After Saturday's miracle play, some of The Line King's Facebook "friends" that actually have internet service pondered, "What would (long-time Georgia radio legend) Larry Munson have said"?

A few suggestions:

"We had this thing won, you know we did, but they crushed our hearts"

"Fourth down and forever… this crowd hates us…they throw a long pass a mile down field…(nothing said, just crowd noise).

Laron (long-time Georgia sideline reporter, Loran Smith), whatcha got?"

I know what my brother would have said.

He would have stared at the TV as if nothing had happened, then after a few minutes, he'd have muttered something like: "Oh well, what are you going to do?"

I miss Larry Munson, but I miss my brother more.

The Line King is having a pretty good year. If the U.S. Government had wagered $100 billion a week, they'd have stockpiled $1.2 trillion by now and that whole debt-ceiling thing would be for entertainment purposes only.

Year: 59-47-3

Last Week: 4-4

Vandy +3 @ Tennessee: Vandy actually recruited my brother, but the Vandy fan was still only in high school.

Kentucky @ UGA -24: How can I go against the Dawgs now?

Johnny Football +4 @ LSUAMC: Johnny Football University used to be part of the old SWC. My brother saw one of their cadets actually draw his sword and threaten SMU cheerleaders when they were on the field.

Cincy @ Houston -3: They don't play in the Astrodome anymore, but Houston was part of the SWC.

Ole' Miss State @ Arkansas +3: Pining for the old glory days of the SWC.

SMU -4.5 @ South Florida: Win one for old No. 57.

Mizzu -3 @ Mississippi: The Line King and his brother once attended a game in Columbia several decades ago. It snowed.

BYU +1 @ Notre Dame: My brother once grabbed the face mask of a former little-league teammate and asked what he was doing playing at ND. It turned out to be a very long day for the Ponies and the referees didn't like his planned stunt, but they both ended up laughing about it many years later.

Baylor -9 @ Oklahoma State: Probably the biggest reach, but will stick with the SWC theme.

Wisconsin @ Minnesota +15: Not only do they play for the Paul Bunyon Axe (one of the coolest rivalry trophies), but watch what how it is exchanged If Minnesota wins the axe –  they literally rush over to the Wisconsin bench to take it. Very manly.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

 

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