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Smokey and Uga; The furrier and toothier side of the Tennessee-Georgia rivalry

The mascots are not rivals, but they are cute!
Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 6:42 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Saturday when the Vols and Bulldogs take the field at Sanford Stadium between the hedges, two of the mainstays for both programs will be missing.

This year the SEC ruled that mascots and their handlers are barred from the sidelines at SEC football games in 2020 due to the coronavirus.

The rivalry between the two schools is on the football field, but this year a little attention will be on the two schools because they’re missing both Smokey and Uga.

“After a few ice teas they decided to take the dog to the game so they kind of smuggled him in,” said Uga’s owner and handler Charles Seiler, talking about how his father started the decades-long tradition.

“He’s as much a part of Tennessee football as General Neyland Doug Dickey, Johnny Majors, you name it,” said Vol Historian Tom Mattingly talking about Smokey’s popularity.

For both schools, their pride rests in their mascots, Uga an English Bulldog, now on the tenth installment.

“He’s happy go lucky, likes to eat, likes to sleep, he’s just a typical bulldog,” said Seiler.

As for Smokey, he may have a leg up on ole Uga, he is both the state dog of Tennessee and gets to lead the Vols out of the T at typical home games at Neyland.

“When Smokey leads the Vols through the T, which he won’t do this weekend, or next weekend. It’s a magical moment,” said Mattingly.

Seiler says Uga doesn’t get to do that because of a leg issue and bulldogs small stature.

“Uga’s kinda jealous of Smokey because Smokey gets to run the team out,” said Seiler.

The case here is not to spark a mascot rivalry, but perhaps just shed light on a unique twist to one of the SEC’s best matchups.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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