Skip to main content

Kirby Smart gives take on Hugh Freeze’s comment about ‘hate’ in rivalry

Chandler Vesselsby:Chandler Vessels09/26/23


Georgia Continue to Take Care of Business

Auburn coach Hugh Freeze drew some attention with his comments about the rivalry game against Georgia, but Kirby Smart is in agreement. Freeze said in his Monday press conference that the game between the Tigers and Bulldogs “doesn’t have the hatred that other rivalries that I’ve been in have.”

That prompted Smart, who coached both at Alabama and Georgia, to be asked Tuesday whether he notices any difference between the respective rivalries with Auburn at those two schools.

“They’re both rivalries,” he said. “Georgia-Auburn is a border war rivalry and Alabama-Auburn is obviously an in-state rivalry. That’s on another whole level of difference from being over there because they live with it 365 days. We share that with several other out-of-state rivalries.

“There’s no diminishing of a rivalry. I tend to agree with coach Freeze. It’s not about hate for me. I don’t look at it as I hate any of their players. I recruited a lot of them. I don’t look at it as I hate any of their coaches because I like a lot of their coaches. I’ve known all those guys for a long time and have a lot of respect Hugh.”

Nicknamed the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” Georgia and Auburn have met 126 times in history with the first contest taking place in 1892. They’ve played each nearly every season since as the Bulldogs hold a 63-56-8 all-time lead in the series. They’re currently on a six-game winning streak against the Tigers that began in the 2017 SEC Championship Game.

Georgia is now coming off of back-to-back national titles and expected to roll again against Auburn as it enters as a two-touchdown favorite. Still, as with all rivalry games, anything can happen. Smart isn’t counting out the possibility of a competitive game even after the Tigers offense looked abysmal in a 27-10 loss to Texas A&M last week.

“I look at it as a hell of a fierce rivalry,” he said. “That’s really why you do this business. Why you get in this business is to play in these type games and this type of atmosphere. Fan bases might not like to hear that because they like to hate each other. There’s not a lot of difference between our fans and their fans at times in terms of where they’re from and that kind of thing. Our players are similar to their players. So I have respect for them, not hate.”

Kickoff between Georgia and Auburn is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday in Auburn.