Should Georgia and Clemson play a spring football game?

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney would like a spring exhibition game. (Associated Press)

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney would like a spring exhibition game. (Associated Press)

Whenever talk of Georgia’s traditional football rivals comes up, I like to point out that there was a time not so long ago when the rivalry with the Clemson Tigers was as big as, if not bigger than, the annual game in Jacksonville or even the in-state battle with the Yellow Jackets. Then conference scheduling difficulties made it no longer possible for the Dogs and Tigers to meet every year — a definite loss for the two fan bases of the neighboring schools.

When Georgia and Clemson do play, it’s more than just your typical nonconference game. So as a longtime proponent of playing Clemson more than just a couple of times per decade, I was pleased to be tipped off by the Senator to an idea Tigers coach Dabo Swinney has about livening up spring practice by emulating the NFL and having Georgia and Clemson play an exhibition game.

Talking with the Charleston Post and Courier, Swinney noted that in spring practice players “get tired of going against each other” and suggested, “Let’s go play Georgia. Don’t you think that could generate some good money with all the Clemson fans and Georgia fans? Let’s split the gate down the middle.”

Should Georgia and Clemson play a spring football exhibition game?

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The Clemson coach’s idea would be to still keep it along the lines of your typical spring game, with no hitting of quarterbacks, red-zone situational work and the coaches agreeing beforehand when to play the first team and when to play second- and third-string players.

I like the concept of a spring exhibition game. A lot. In fact, I’d like it even if it weren’t Clemson, but considering the two schools’ athletic history and close proximity to each other, I think the Tigers would be the perfect opponent for such a game.

Of course, it should be noted that Swinney may not be all that serious about this. And the money angle probably has more appeal to Clemson, which is currently running athletic deficits, than to UGA, which sits atop a fat $60 million surplus. But the Dogs could always make their side of the game a charity thing.

The likelihood of injuries wouldn’t seem to be much greater than in an intrasquad game. In fact, just about the only downside I can think of to an exhibition like this is that even agreeing ahead of time to play second- and third-stringers, the full roster wouldn’t get as much playing time as it does when you divide up the Dogs into the Red and Black teams.

But the excitement generated by playing another team would certainly get the players revved up more. And such a match would more closely resemble the pressures of a real game and perhaps provide a more accurate picture who which players are really ready for prime time.

Where to play such a game? I suppose the easiest thing would be to make it at least a two-year deal and play home-and-home in Athens and Clemson. Or maybe this would be a good opportunity for the two programs to play a game in Atlanta other than in a Chick-fil-A bowl.

Speaking of Georgia-Clemson, the two schools next are scheduled to play each other in 2013 in Clemson and 2014 in Athens, and T Kyle King believes the week before the Dogs play South Carolina would be the perfect spot on the schedule. As he points out, back in the Vince Dooley days, Georgia routinely played the Tigers and Gamecocks back-to-back. T Kyle likes the idea of a “throwback” schedule like that. Sounds good to me.

But back to the spring. What do you think about Georgia playing a spring exhibition game, against Clemson or anyone else? Are there compelling reasons not to do something along those lines? Feel free to comment, vote in the poll or do both.

173 comments Add your comment

TulsaDawg

March 11th, 2010
11:03 am

First (maybe)

Marvin

March 11th, 2010
11:05 am

Sounds like a good way to get somebody hurt before the season starts..

Dawg Stephen

March 11th, 2010
11:08 am

I personally like the idea. The schools are so close together, it would be fun.

http://dawgstephen.blogspot.com/

TulsaDawg

March 11th, 2010
11:09 am

Now that that is out of the way, yes. As a UGA grad from the 80’s, I remember how important the annual Clemson rivalry was. Remember how huge that first nighttime game was back in ‘82 or the kicking duel when Butler won it in ‘84 (I think)? I LOVE the idea. Scheduling as it is, it would be a whole lot of fun to find a way to mix it up with Clem and his son (who remembers that poster?) as often as possible. Call me “All In.”

Robbie Murray

March 11th, 2010
11:13 am

Awesome idea!! Lets do it this year!!!

HanDAWG

March 11th, 2010
11:13 am

Some of my fondest memories are of beating CLEMSON. Great one! See http://www.bighairyblawg.com for those memories.

Matt

March 11th, 2010
11:13 am

The NFL does it, so does high school, so why not college. The schools are so close together and were once and still could be great rivals. The players would be more excited to play another team and the coaches would be able to make better better assessments of their teams if you have a spring game that more closely simulates a real game.

OEJ

March 11th, 2010
11:16 am

I wish Clemson could join the SEC and we give the ACC Kentucky. That would be a fair trade, and we could play them every year. As for a spring game i personally dont see anything wrong with it

That is

March 11th, 2010
11:19 am

a great idea!

kb

March 11th, 2010
11:22 am

Enter your comments here

gator mike

March 11th, 2010
11:24 am

Good idea. Coach Dabo said that it should be against teams which one would not play during the regular season for many reasons which makes sense. UF could then possible scrimmage GA Tech or Miami. A scrimmage in April against the Canes in Orlando would be a huge draw.
I am sure that UGA vs CLEMSON in a Spring Game would be a sell out.

NCDAWG

March 11th, 2010
11:39 am

UGA and Clemson should be playing EVERY YEAR. None of this “exibition” crap!

Tom

March 11th, 2010
11:43 am

I think it would be good to play another team in spring. The G day game is boring to me. Renewing a rivalry with Clemson is a great idea,

Idaho State comes all the way to Athens late in the season after playing Florida. Where’s the sense in that? Why pay a team a huge amount of money to come play us?

ludatripp

March 11th, 2010
11:44 am

I love the idea. If we were the first to do it it would generate a lot af attention nationally and no doubt be picked up on ESPN. It would help with recruiting and mean more money. The only thing that would concern me is that each coach may have specific position battles (like QB) that he would want to focus on durring the game that he would not be able to give enough time to if it were not an intra-squad game.

KeithB

March 11th, 2010
11:44 am

I think CFB should have a pre season game. They should do this in order to keep lower tier teams off of the schedule. Clemson is good, but if UGA decided to do this with Southern or State, that would be fine too. Then they could fill the rest of their schedule with formidable opponents. This really isn’t as much of an issue at UGA (although Idaho State comes in this season), but UF’s schedule last season was an absolute joke! Injury is no more likely in this case than in any other scenario. It is a part of the game. I guess what I am trying to say is tune up in the spring and make buying the tickets worthwhile during the season.

Andy

March 11th, 2010
11:49 am

I think it’s a great idea, though I would hesitate to play a Spring game against Clemson if we were going to play them during the season.

Dawg 39

March 11th, 2010
11:51 am

A spring scrimmage type game against Clemson would probably help the coaches see what is working & what needs to be worked on. The players say they get tired of hitting each other. I think that it is a sound idea for everyone.

Dawg'em out!

March 11th, 2010
11:56 am

no, thats garbage. nice thought, who wants to get players hurt before the season starts in a game that doesnt matter.

Dawg'em out!

March 11th, 2010
11:59 am

just put clemson on the schedule, and make a regular home and home.

Dan

March 11th, 2010
11:59 am

As a Dawg fan in SC, I would prefer to see them actually play each year, but a Spring game would be a good idea. and imagine the gate from it!

Gratefuldawghead

March 11th, 2010
12:01 pm

Would love to see this!

DawginLex

March 11th, 2010
12:01 pm

You could even expand it more than 2 teams. Play it like the old high school football jamborees and invite 3 other schools plus UGA. Play each team a quarter and agree on starters vs starters, backups vs backups etc.

Michael Scharff

March 11th, 2010
12:08 pm

I think it’s a great idea!

Gen Neyland

March 11th, 2010
12:10 pm

You can do it as Flag Football and raise money for PETA or some other worthy cause…Really, these kids are student-athletes and if it doesn’t count, don’t risk the injury…and please, don’t bring the Red & Black in as a comparison. Of course, you could always pay them legit dollars to run the risk if it is worth the possibility of losing someone for the regular season. Geez, makes me think of guys getting hurt off season playing a pickup game and blowing an ACL or worse…

DawginLex

March 11th, 2010
12:16 pm

General,

the players should be paid anyway considering how much $$$ they generate for the school.

Bradley G

March 11th, 2010
12:16 pm

Am I missing something? How is injury that much more prone if UGA played against Clemson rather than the Red playing the Black during the spring game? Same rules would apply, people are still being hit. Please explain…

CovingtonDawg

March 11th, 2010
12:18 pm

don’t know if its been thought of, but all you have to do is play a 6 quarter game to get everybody plenty of playing time.

russ' replacement

March 11th, 2010
12:20 pm

Is it legal per NCAA rules? If so I wonder why spring games haven’t always been against regional rivals that can’t be regularly scheduled, other than the obvious above mentioned reduction in team reps?

Captain

March 11th, 2010
12:22 pm

Georgia gains nothing, absolutely nothing, by playing Clempson. However, we stand to lose much. For one, playing Clempson elevates them within the state of Georgia and aids their recruiting efforts, a fact of which Dabo is keenly aware. Do any of you remember when we played Clempson annually the recruiting battles that were waged, many of which were very controversial such as John Johnson from LaGrange? Players from the state of Georgia were why Clempson was successful. We don’t need to do anything to elevate them within this state, nothing to give them credibility. To the suggestion we play them before the S Car game, you have no idea of what it takes to play back to back stressful tough games do you? This isn’t the 80’s S Car isn’t the S Car of 30 yrs ago. The SEC schedule is tough enough already without adding more stress to it. Why would we want to put ourselves at a disadvantage while Fla, Ala, Tenn play creampuffs? A few of you need to rethink your position and deal in some cold hard reality.

As an Alum of The Univ of Georgia and long time season ticketholder, I would hope we never play Clempson again, EVER, regular season or Spring, forget it!!!

SCTally1

March 11th, 2010
12:22 pm

I would prefer playing Clemson much more that the COOTS. Clemson would be a better fit in the SEC than those”goofy little chickens.”

Blue Max

March 11th, 2010
12:23 pm

I would say instead of teams doing that because it would limit your 3rd and 4th strings, have scrimmages like NFL teams do with other teams before the first actual preseason game. Or you could just schedule Charleston Southern like we did.

GTSteve

March 11th, 2010
12:23 pm

Sounds like a great idea, I remember that rivalry in the 80’s, it was strong

BMDPD

March 11th, 2010
12:26 pm

Captain, you have some very good points. Good job on devil’s advocate. You exposed some serious flaws in the idea.

Cuz

March 11th, 2010
12:29 pm

A Spring game would be as important to win as a regular game for bragging rights. It sounds great on paper but how can you convince rabid Dawg and Tigger fans that it really does not matter and that is why we put in X when Y was kicking butts. I was fired up at the start, but the reality might not be nearly as good as it sounds.

DB Cooper

March 11th, 2010
12:29 pm

I like the idea since the coaches could structure it anyway way they want,.Dont see why the NCAA would object either.
Amazed this idea came from Clemons

UGAnSFLA

March 11th, 2010
12:30 pm

Sound like a great idea on the surface, but how do you play a quasi-game without anyone playing full tilt and getting injured or how does a coaching staff evaluate the players with the current spring practice limits? As for Clemson, it was only a rivalry for about 4 or 5 years that we played them, during Ford and Pell. The rest of the series, UGA kicked their butts on a regular basis!

Undecided Dawg

March 11th, 2010
12:34 pm

I want another rivalry as a Georgia fan but this increase the risk of injury. Also does this really matter. Can we gloat that we won a spring game. Really come on!

Tiger88

March 11th, 2010
12:36 pm

What’s this excuse about conference-scheduling preventing these two schools from playing each other? It’s a 12-game schedule these days and both teams play FCS teams on Labor Day weekend of this year. This should be a no-brainer. D-1 college football fans continue to get ripped off these days with the scheduling of FCS teams, especially given the amount of money required for season tickets. I’d much rather see Clemson battle UGA than North Texas state, and I’m sure UGA fans would rather see UGA vs Clemson instead of Louisiana-Monroe. These AD’s need to put their money where their mouth is and stop scheduling these patsy teams. Oh, and Clemson plays Presbyterian the next week. That should be a real barn-burner.

copdawg

March 11th, 2010
12:36 pm

SOME OF THE BEST GAMES I HAVE SEEN IN OVER 45 YEARS OF WATCHING AND ATTENDING DAWG FOOTBALL HAVE BEEN BETWEEN CLEMSON AND SOUTH CAROLINA. WOULD LOVE TO BRING CLEMSON AND FSU OR USF INTO THE SEC, MAN OH MAN, ONLY WAR WOULD BE MORE EXCITING

SavTiger

March 11th, 2010
12:37 pm

i like this idea. i remember the great cu-uga games of the 80’s and if we can’t play every year why not meet in the spring.

Tiger in the ATL

March 11th, 2010
12:40 pm

Bring it on!

drew

March 11th, 2010
12:45 pm

im a huge georgia fan an would love to play clemson every year but not as an exibition. dont want anyone gettin hurt before we play a real game. make it a game that counts an im all for it

My Boston accent is so ugly

March 11th, 2010
12:46 pm

AS long as they keep to the rules hard especially hitting QB’s. No need to make it nasty, but I think it’s a good idea.

UGAX

March 11th, 2010
12:48 pm

Sorry, loved the rivalry but not worth risking the potential for injury. Our OLine and running backs are good as anyone’s in the nation right now; why risk the injury?. I want to see Murray and Zach go head to head this spring. If we do play one another in the Spring, the money should go towards keeping our profs and researchers at UGA.

ClemsonDude

March 11th, 2010
12:48 pm

A Great idea….But I think they should play in the regular season each season. These two schools are way too close not to play every year.

dsmytty

March 11th, 2010
12:48 pm

Great idea but, will the NCAA allow such a thing?

Blue Max

March 11th, 2010
12:51 pm

copdawg, I read a rumor last week that during a possible future realignment of conferences, the Big 12 would convince Arkansas to leave and we would replace them with 3 teams expanding to 14 with Clemson, FSU and USF. It would be awesome wouldn’t it?

UGAX

March 11th, 2010
12:52 pm

TIGER88- nice points. Let’s play each other every year! I was at the UGA -Clem game when Butler booted the 60 yard field goal; I thought he place was going to collapse. If Iguwebeke has 2 more seconds on the clock, he probably ties it up at the end of regulation. Those guys could kick!

Some Sense

March 11th, 2010
12:53 pm

Much ado about nothing. NCAA isn’t going to even consider this.

End of discussion.

Bubba

March 11th, 2010
12:54 pm

I’d be willing to bet there’s an NCAA rule against this. Anybody know?