Renewing the Rivalry, A Look at Georgia

When August 31st comes rolling around at the end of summer, it might as well be 1986 all over again. You remember the games won by players like David Treadwell or Hershel Walker and all of the emotion involved in those contests. Here's an indepth look into one of the fiercest rivalries in the south.

I love Clemson, and chances are if you are reading this, you do too. And while I'm a big basketball fan, and Tiger baseball is playing at it's highest level in school history, I still go to bed every night and just sit there and think about what the season opener in Athens is going to be like.

You know what I'm talking about. Its the renewal of the rivalry. Its Clemson vs. Georgia, ACC vs. SEC, and it finally happens all over again on August 31st.

It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 1995, a game won by UGA, 19-17. Clemson and Georgia played 11 games between 1977 and 1987, with nine of those contests being decided by a touchdown or less. Each team won five games during that stretch, and there was also one tie.

"I have heard so much about the Clemson vs. Georgia rivalry. Now I will have a chance to experience it," Tommy Bowden says. "There is great history between the two programs, some great players, great games."

If you are true Clemson fan, you can remember all of intriguing matchups that Bowden is referring to. To me, it is actually an instinctive thing, because as soon as someone mentions the Georgia Bulldogs, I tell them that Hershel Walker never scored a touchdown against Clemson. I also will begin to remember David Treadwell lining up for the game-winning 46-yard field goal in Athens back in the mid-1980's. It was a moment like no other.

Through one swift kick of the leg, Treadwell lifted the Clemson Tigers to a one-point win over a 14th ranked Georgia team in front of 85,000 fans and a national television audience. What a fantastic moment.

And who could forget Clemson's win over the defending National Champion Georgia Bulldogs in 1981. That pivotal victory propelled the Tigers into the top 20 for the first time that year, and eventually paved the way for Clemson to claim a national title of their own.

Unfortunately, the Dawgs have won more than they have lost against Clemson since the mid 1980's. In fact Georgia won the last three games played between the two schools, including a 40-14 walloping by Eric Zier and company in 1994, and a come from behind, 19-17 win back in 1995- a game that featured the Tigers in their "throw-back" uniforms from the 1930's.

John Lovett was 2-0 at Auburn when facing the Georgia Bulldogs.
I'll never forget that day either, for I made one grave mistake that I'll never be able live with. Being a Clemson student that year, I decided it would be a good idea to let my girlfriend at the time (a UGA student mind you) sit with us in the Clemson student section.

Let me go ahead and advise anyone who considers doing this to seriously rethink their all of their options, because I don't recall a moment in time that I've been more distraught at a Clemson football game than that Saturday evening. I listened to every single Georgia cheer known to man, and then some. Needless to say, after the Dawgs escaped with a 2-point win, I wasn't a happy camper. And come to think of it, our relationship didn't last much longer after that. In fact, to this day I wish I could find my fellow Clemson students that sat next to us that day so that I could apologize appropriately.

All kidding aside, there will be nothing quite like soaking up the sweet Georgia sunshine in Sanford Stadium this August, listening to the glorious sounds of Tiger Rag echo throughout one of the loudest, and most obnoxious places to play in college football.

Yeah that's right, I said obnoxious. And I'm sure if Georgia fans gave me their input as to what they think about Clemson fans and Death Valley, they'd say the same thing.

Personally I'm tired of hearing how great Georgia is going to be next season. I'm tired of hearing that the SEC is a superior football conference, and most of all I'm tired of hearing Georgia fans run their mouth.

It will be put up or shut time come August 31st in Athens. And while the Tigers will likely come into that contest as somewhere around a 9 or 10 point underdog, I like our chances. I also like the fact that our defensive coordinator has directed wins over Georgia in each of the last two seasons.

And what I like most of all, is that we'll get to do it all over again in 2003, except then we'll be playing in the friendly confines of Death Valley. Rivalries are wonderful, and I'm just glad that somebody decided that these two teams should play each other once again, because you know what?

It's going to be one helluva war on the football field.

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