Another Rivalry: Georgia Tech and Auburn

Believe it or not, while Georgia Tech and UGA (sic) have been rivals as long as recorded history, there have been other universities that reached the penultimate level of "rival" in the hearts and minds of the Tech student body. While never as fierce a rival as the bulldog, the War Eagles nevertheless have a place in Tech sports history. The battle between our two schools was waged on the gridiron for many years, always with the same result: injuries. It was not enough to simply beat the opponent, but each team tried to beat, stomp, and mangle the other into absolute submission. In fact, it was an injury that brought the rivalry to an abrupt stop, when one of our players, xxxx, had his face crushed by the Auburn team.

We may not have been big rivals with Auburn like we have been with UGA (sic), but when it came to football, the brutal nature of our competition is almost unmatched.

On a modern note, Tech will begin playing Auburn again in a few years. It will be interesting to see what happens when we square off once more...


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Evolution of the Tech Mascot

Today, of course, Tech is known for two mascots: Buzz, and the Ramblin' Wreck. These, however, are not the only things Techies have called themselves or been called in the past. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, we went through other names like Blacksmiths, Engineers, Golden Tornadoes, "T's," and the like. As a matter of fact, tech was the Golden Tornadoes when we won the Rose Bowl. While these worked for their time -- when Tech was a school of mechanical engineers -- they did not fit the changing shape of the institute like our current mascots.

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If you've never heard of this class, it's time. Before World War II, there was a very well known, and hated, class here at Tech; a physical education course designed to teach any man (yes, back then this was an all guys school) to survive in the ocean for an extended length of time. This was drownproofing.

It was a required course here, and was so successful at teaching survival skills that it won the attention of the US Naval Academy and Westpoint, and became standard training for new recruits.

Fortunately, this has departed. We have other classes to worry about that are much more difficult today :)

--Erich Says: I wish they still taught it..

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The "Old Ford" Race

Starting in 1929, the Technique, our very own campus newspaper, sponsored a yearly car race to Athens. Held as a homecoming festivity, it became known as the "Old Ford" race because, at the time, almost everyone drove an old ford.

With a student body of mostly mechanical engineers, the race offered our students a chance to show their skill in auto mechanics, and to just plain have fun. Sadly, it was decided that the race had become too dangerous to race old cars along the increasingly frequented highway. The race was ended, and a more modern tradition took its place: the Wreck Parade!

Ideas like this don't die, they just change with the times.

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The Original RATS

In its most literal sense, RATS are all "recently acquired Tech students," and in this sense this program has stood the test of time. There is more behind the RATS program than little yellow hats, however.

It began with the campus ROTC program, which required new students (freshmen and transfers) to where these undersized, bright yellow hats at all times. If found without their hat by an upperclassmen, the students had their heads shaved, leaving nothing but a GT. After a while, the rest of campus got into the act, and all new students entering Tech were forced to wear the hats or face the same penalty.

When modern hazing laws went into effect, our practice of head shaving was abolished, and the RATS program was kept alive only in idea.

Much of the RATS tradition has continued with us, including several freshman cheers (What's the good word? You'll find out soon enough) the symbolic hats, and many rules on the hat's upkeep. The band and several other organizations still keep the tradition alive.

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