More on “celebration-gate”: Richt says Georgia’s win is what spiced up rivalry

Bulldogs Coach Mark Richt

Bulldogs Coach Mark Richt

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Can’t Nov. 1 just go ahead and get here?

That’s the date Florida and Georgia resume their annual rivalry, and judging by some of the back-and-forth rhetoric the last two days at the SEC media days, it ought to be more entertaining than ever.

Georgia’s celebration and dance party in Florida’s end zone after the first touchdown last season continues to resonate. Florida coach Urban Meyer said it was “uncalled for” and that the Gators would “handle it” accordingly.

And while Georgia coach Mark Richt said Thursday that it was wrong and that he wouldn’t do it again, even though he insists he never intended for his entire team to leave the bench, he said the thing that intensifies the rivalry the most is the fact that the Bulldogs won the game.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt it’s intensified the rivalry,” Richt said. “But what intensified the rivalry is that we won, OK? I mean, that’s reality. But, you know, people want to talk about streaks in that game. The way I see it, we won last year. We won two out of the last four. And if you want to start going back in history, you might as well go back to the beginning of history of the series and see where Georgia is there.”

The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 47-37-2, but the Gators have won 15 of the last 18 games. And more importantly, Richt has won just two of the seven games he’s coached against Florida.

“You know, I don’t know why everybody wants to go just 15 games back,” Richt said. “I mean, if you want to go back, go back to the beginning. If you want to talk about recent history, let’s talk about last year, the last few games.”

Richt said he did call Meyer the day after last season’s game to apologize for the way the celebration got out of hand.

“I said, ‘I was a coach desperate to try to get some enthusiasm, and I was willing to take a 15-yard penalty,’ ” said Richt, who felt his team had been listless for much of the season up until that point. “Now, in hindsight, I asked the team to do an unsportsmanlike conduct, excessive celebration. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have done it. I won’t do anything like that again. It could have easily turned into a big, stupid brawl and everything else.”


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