Our Most Fun Rival


  by - Radio Host - Monday, August 26, 2013 5:54 AM
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Our Most Fun Rival
I value our rivalry against South Carolina.  I don't want to under estimate or under value the importance of our in-state rivalry.  Your in-state rival is the biggest and most important rival and that should never change.

Since joining the ACC, Florida State has emerged as our biggest conference rival.  The Atlantic Division title usually comes from the winner of our game with the Seminoles.  These are the two biggest football schools in the division and the division winner should come from the winner of that game annually.

Our cross-division rival is Georgia Tech.  Clemson fans have bought into that rivalry and seem to enjoy beating the Yellow Jackets.

We used to refer to the rivalry with N.C. State as the Textile Bowl.  The textile industry has changed in the Carolinas and so has that rivalry.

Many Clemson fans just simply don't care for North Carolina (there is a waiver for that rule this Thursday night).

But I think our rivalry with Georgia is the most fun rivalry we have.  I enjoy Clemson-Georgia games more than any of our other rivalries.

In my formative years following Clemson football, it was the Georgia game that I looked forward to more than any other.  In many ways, during the stretch from 1977 to 1991, the Georgia game was the most important game of the year.

The 7-6 win over Georgia in 1977 was one of the most important wins in Clemson history.  The Tigers came into that game 0-1, but the win over 17th-ranked Georgia was the first in a 7-game winning streak that saw the Tigers go to a bowl game for the first time since 1959.  This was the first game where Charley Pell had the buses pull over and the Tigers celebrated with victory cigars.

The 12-0 loss in 1978 was Clemson’s only loss of the season.  The Tigers went 11-1 in that season and finished sixth in the nation.  Who knows what would have happened if the Tigers had won in Athens that season.

Clemson dominated Georgia in 1980, but Scott Woerner saved the Dawgs with a punt return and an interception return.  The 20-16 win over Clemson propelled Georgia to an undefeated season and a national title.

Clemson returned the favor the following season and a 13-3 win helped push the Tigers into the polls the following week.  As you know by now, the Tigers went undefeated and won the national title that season.

Clemson and Georgia usually played in September during those years.  It was usually the second or third game of the season and the winner usually went on to a great season, while the loser often struggled.

Starting in 1980, here's a look at how the winners and losers faired the rest of the season:
1980: Georgia wins and goes 12-0.  Clemson loses and goes 6-5.
1981: Clemson wins and goes 12-0.  Georgia loses and goes 10-2.
1982: Georgia wins and goes 11-1. Clemson loses and goes 9-1-1.
1983: The teams tied.  Clemson went 9-1-1. Georgia went 10-1-1.
1984: Georgia wins and goes 7-4-1. Clemson loses and goes 7-4.
1985: Georgia wins and goes 7-3-2. Clemson loses and goes 6-6.
1986: Clemson wins and goes 8-2-2. Georgia loses and goes 8-4.
1987: Clemson wins and goes 10-2. Georgia loses and goes 9-3.
1990: Clemson wins and goes 10-2. Georgia loses and goes 4-7.
1991: Georgia wins and goes 9-3. Clemson loses and goes 9-2-1

So 1991 was the only time where the winner of the game ended the season with more losses than the loser.

From 1980 to 1991 the winner of the Clemson-Georgia game went 86-17-5.  The loser went 68-34-2.  The winner averaged 9.5 wins per season.  The loser averaged 7.5.

This is the rivalry that gave us Scott Woerner, Herschel Walker, Terry Hogue, Kevin Butler and Eric Zeier.  It gave us Steve Fuller, Jeff Davis, Perry Tuttle, David Treadwell, Terry Allen and Ronald Williams.

This was Vince Dooley and Danny FordDanny Ford
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at their best.  This was the rivalry that matched defensive coordinators like Erk Russell and Bill Oliver.  This rivalry was turnovers and field goals.  Heck, this was  the rivalry that saw a game end with both teams trying to break a tie with 60-plus yard field goals on the last two plays of the game in 1983.  This is the rivalry where the Butler did it, but Treadwell did it twice.  This is the rivalry where the lights came on in Georgia for the first time.  This is the rivalry where John Johnson ripped out the hearts of Dawg Nation.

In my opinion, this is our most fun rival.  I am looking forward to adding two new chapters to the rivalry in the next 375 days.


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