Originally created 09/12/98

Fans party while supporting teams



For a few hours Friday, the riverwalk was the place for football fans to talk their brash talk.

Hundreds of fans of the University of Georgia and University of South Carolina converged upon Riverwalk Augusta for the fifth annual Border Bash.

The event, scheduled each year on the eve of the two rivals' football game, allows fans to listen to live music and enjoy some drinks while goading anyone wearing the wrong colors.

South Carolina fan Henry Livingston suffered such needling from Georgia fan Emory Towner.

"Well, we're going to win," Mr. Towner said, causing Mr. Livingston to break into a hearty laugh.

"We've got a good team, and a great coach, and we've got the whole thing turned around," Mr. Towner said, referring to the hapless Georgia Bulldogs of years past.

Unlike those teams, the 1997 Georgia team won 10 of 12 games, whipped the University of Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl and was ranked among the nation's Top 10 teams for the first time since 1992 -- a lifetime or Bulldog followers.

Despite that success -- and the 31-15 beating Georgia administered to the South Carolina Gamecocks last year -- Mr. Livingston held out hope for tomorrow's game.

"If we can stop the run, I think we've got a real good chance," Mr. Livingston said. "Next year, you'll probably see twice as many Carolina fans as you do today. They're staying home until it gets dark."

Fellow Gamecock fan Robert Wise made a much bolder prediction.

"We shall not be defeated," Mr. Wise said. "We're going to come out and give them a good game, there's no doubt about it."

South Carolina, which beat Ball State 38-20 in its season's first game last Saturday, saved some of its best work for the Bulldogs, Mr. Wise said.

"They've got a few tricks up their sleeves this year," Mr. Wise said. "I know for a fact they've been running a lot of trick plays. They're going to make it a very interesting game."

Georgia fan Dan McCall wasn't so sure the Gamecocks had that much of a chance against the Bulldogs, who beat Kent 56-3 in their first game last Saturday. Georgia is favored to beat the Gamecocks by 3 1/2 points in today's game in Columbia.

"I believe (Georgia coach Jim) Donnan is too smart, and we're too deep," he said. "We'll win the game even though South Carolina always plays over their head against us over there."

Local chapters of both universities' athletic booster clubs play host to the annual party.

For the first time this year, the clubs collected a $1 admission charge for the event. The proceeds will benefit the Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center.