CLEMSON - Tommy Bowden knows full well Clemson's history at Georgia's Sanford
Stadium. He's hoping his player's are too young to remember.
The Tigers and Bulldogs haven't played since 1995, which means no one on the
current roster has any experience vs. Georgia. And perhaps that's a good
thing, because Clemson has won just twice in 21 tries at Sanford Stadium, and
trails the all-time series 39-17-4.
But because what was once one of the great rivalries in all of college
football was allowed to cool, Bowden doesn't think the game carries the same
significance now as it once did.
However, that doesn't mean spirits won't be running high come Saturday night
(7:45 p.m., ESPN).
"It will be real emotional for both teams because we both recruit actively in
other's states and a lot of the players know each other," Bowden said Tuesday
at his weekly news conference. "We have a lot of players from Georgia. It
will be more emotional in that way than as a rivalry."
While this is Bowden's first trip to Athens as Clemson's head coach, he has
been in Sanford Stadium a number of times as an assistant - most recently a
few years ago at Auburn.
So he knows the electricity that will be running through the more than 82,000
"It is a great college environment," he said. "The noise will be a factor, it
emotional, and I'm sure that will cause a momentum change during the
game. We practice with crowd noise and a lot of our signals are done by hand,
so noise is not as big a factor.
"(But) I imagine that at some point there will be some communication problems
up front because of the noise."
- Clemson's two wins at Sanford Stadium came in 1976, a 7-6 win under
first-year head coach Charlie Pell, and 31-28 in 1986 on David Treadwell's
last-second 46-yard field goal.
- The Tigers are 10-10-2 all-time when opening the season away from Death
Valley. The last road opener was a 45-0 loss to North Carolina in 1996.
Clemson also is just 1-4 when opening the season against a ranked opponent.
The last such occasion came at Georgia in 1982, a 13-7 defeat.
- Clemson has won 15 of its last 18 season openers.
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.