ATHENS, Ga. --- Riding onto the field in a red golf cart, Uga VII made his grand appearance Saturday between the hedges to deafening cheers and innumerable loud woofs.
Accompanied by the Frank W. "Sonny" Seiler family, of Savannah, Ga., the latest mascot in Bulldog history -- aka Loran's Best -- entered Sanford Stadium with mass approval from Georgia fans.
Uga VII started off on the right paw with Georgia defeating Georgia Southern, 45-21.
"He's going to be a hoss just like his dad," said James Davidson, of Augusta.
"The new Uga's great," Georgia senior safety C.J. Byrd said. "He did a great job out there. Hopefully, he's good for the rest of the season."
Uga VII will have a large task ahead of him. His father, Uga VI, compiled an 87-27 record with two Southeastern Conference championships. But expectations are greater for this mascot as Georgia seeks its first national championship since the 1980 season, when Uga III reigned supreme.
The line of pure white English bulldogs became Georgia's official mascot in 1956. Uga VII is the only one to begin its reign with the football team ranked No. 1 in the nation. Mr. Davidson's father, Hugh, believes that might be a good omen.
"Uga VII. Maybe that's our lucky number," he said.
Weighing 561/2 pounds, Uga VII is the second heaviest mascot in Georgia history.
The bulldog rode onto the field and then made his way to midfield. His coronation became official when University President Michael Adams slipped a new red leather spike collar over his head at midfield. Uga VII later retreated to his chilled doghouse on the visitors' sideline.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.