A primer for young Dawgs who don’t understand how big Georgia-Clemson really is!

Georgia-Clemson logosWe discussed recently here Georgia’s great football rivalries, and it saddens me a little to think that for most younger fans Georgia-Clemson doesn’t fall in that category.

It’s no wonder. Despite being in such close proximity to each other and having such a rich history of gridiron clashes, the two schools haven’t played that much in recent decades: only four times in the 1990s and only twice since then, the last time being a decade ago. That’s in contrast to the period when I came of age as a Georgia fan, when the Dogs and the Tigers met nearly every year (and, in fact, every year from 1973 through 1987). Unfortunately, as conference schedules grew, the yearly grudge match became an occasional thing and one of the country’s greatest rivalries waned.

Of course, even UGA football newbies view this Saturday night’s game as a big one. After all the Bulldogs are the nation’s No. 5 team and Clemson ranks No. 8. It’s the first time in history that both Georgia and its opening opponent of the season will be ranked in the Top 10.

The previous highest-ranked opener for the Dogs was back in 1982, when No. 6 Georgia beat No. 11 Clemson in Athens.

But get this, younger Bulldogs: When that 1982 game took place, Georgia-Clemson was probably the biggest rivalry on the Dogs’ schedule, even bigger to many fans than Georgia-Florida in Jacksonville!

And during the rivalry’s greatest run in the early 1980s, Tiger fans and players were heard to declare that the Georgia game meant more to them than even playing the hated Gamecocks.

While Georgia leads the series 41-17-4 and has won the past five meetings, the rivalry was dead even during its glory days in 1977-87 — a period that saw each school win a national championship — with the two teams going 5-5-1.

Clemson’s only regular-season losses in 1978, 1982 and 1991 were to the Dogs, and Georgia’s only regular-season loss during that great three-year Herschel Walker run was in Death Valley to the eventual 1981 national champion Tigers.

As I noted a couple of years ago when writing about the impending return of Georgia-Clemson for two games in 2013-14, great rivalries make for great trash talking, and aside from Tech, the legendary Lewis Grizzard got off some of his best shots at “Clempson,” the school he referred to as “Auburn with a lake.” My favorite was after protesting farmers staged a tractorcade at the state Capitol in 1978. Lewis cracked that he hadn’t seen that many tractors since the last time Clemson played in Athens.

And only great rivalries get books written about them; Georgia-Clemson has one in Kyle King’s “Fighting Like Cats and Dogs” (more on that to come).

Georgia's Thomas Davis puts a big hit on Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst in the 2003 season opener. (University of Georgia)

Georgia's Thomas Davis puts a big hit on Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst in the 2003 season opener. (University of Georgia)

Looking ahead, with a possible nine-game conference schedule being considered by the SEC, Georgia-Clemson soon may be relegated to something that only happens in the occasional neutral-site kickoff game or in a bowl, but as a reminder of what a great rivalry the Dogs and Tigers have had over the years, I thought I’d trot out an updated recounting of my favorite games from the series:

1968: Georgia wins 31-13 in Athens. I remember after I finished selling my game programs at Sanford Stadium I managed to snag a seat near the 50-yard line in the south stands for this great game in an SEC championship season for the Dawgs. The typically tough Erk Russell defense notched two safeties that day, but it actually was an atypical game for UGA in the Vince Dooley era in that Georgia had 300 yards passing, including a 37-yard touchdown strike from Mike Cavan to big Dennis Hughes.

1969: Georgia wins 30-0 at Clemson. Cavan threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score as the Dogs shut out the Tigers in Death Valley.

1976: Georgia wins 41-0 at Clemson. Before a national television audience on ABC, Georgia’s quarterback tandem of Ray Goff and Matt Robinson humiliated the Tigers. Goff had a 73-yard scoring run and Robinson threw three touchdown passes, including an 85-yarder to Gene Washington. Quite a day.

1980: Georgia wins 20-16 in Athens. It was a tightly fought game during the national championship season in which Clemson won the statistical battle but the Dogs had the key number on the scoreboard. Scott Woerner ran back a punt 67 yards for a touchdown and returned an interception 98 yards to set up a Buck Belue score.

1982: Georgia wins 13-7 in Athens. This was a big, big game, Georgia’s first under the new Sanford Stadium lights as the two preceding national champions met on national TV on Labor Day night with Gomer Pyle himself, Jim Nabors, on hand to sing the national anthem. Herschel had an injured thumb and no one was sure how much he’d play, if at all. When he entered the game as a decoy in the second quarter the focus was so much on him that Tron Jackson was able to score on a 41-yard reverse, though the score was wiped out by a penalty. Herschel played more in the second half, though he wasn’t really a factor. But the Georgia defense rose to the occasion, intercepting Athens native Homer Jordan four times and blocking a punt that turned into a touchdown for the Dogs. And Kevin Butler kicked two field goals.

1984: Georgia wins 26-23 in Athens. Speaking of Butler, his legend was made on this day. After coming back from being down two touchdowns at halftime to tie the game at 20, go ahead by 3 and then see Clemson tie it up again at 23-23, the Dogs upset the No. 2-ranked Tigers when Butler kicked it 100,000 miles, as Larry Munson said (actually 60 yards) for the winning field goal with 11 seconds to go. The stadium, as Munson screamed, was “worse than bonkers.”

1985: Georgia wins 20-13 in Clemson. Breaking out their red britches for the first time since the 1980 opener with Herschel, the Dogs won a big upset in this nationally televised game in Death Valley thanks mostly to the spark provided by second-string quarterback James Jackson and a pair of interceptions by rover John Little. Georgia center Pete Anderson was also a hero that day for falling on a Bulldog fumble for a touchdown.

1991: Georgia wins 27-12 in Athens. On Goff’s best day as head coach, the Dogs upset the No. 6-ranked (and eventual ACC champion) Tigers on national television thanks to the efforts of freshman quarterback Eric Zeier, who replaced starter Greg Talley. It was a big day in local sports that also saw the Braves clinching the NL West.

2002: Georgia wins 31-28 in Athens. The close calls that characterized Georgia’s first SEC title season in 20 years started in this night game at Sanford Stadium as QB David Greene struggled. But backup D.J. Shockley, a redshirt freshman playing his first game, threw for one touchdown and ran for another, Fred Gibson returned a kickoff 91 yards for a score and Billy Bennett made a late fourth-quarter field goal for the margin of victory. A Tiger field goal attempt that would have tied it up fell short, and the Dogs clinched it when they converted on fourth down with 40 seconds left. Typical Georgia-Clemson.

2003: Georgia wins 30-0 at Clemson. The Dogs entered the game with a shaky offensive line, two starters out injured and eight other players out on suspension, but Greene connected early with Gibson on a beautiful 56-yard touchdown strike. Greenie also had a 3-yard touchdown run, Shockley scored on a 29-yard run, Bennett added three field goals and the defense, which held Clemson to 7 yards rushing in the first half, preserved a shutout against the Tigers with a David Pollack interception. Perfect.

That’s the last time Georgia and Clemson played, but I’m hopeful this coming Saturday night will add another memorable Bulldogs win to my list!

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183 comments Add your comment

AltamahaDawg

August 29th, 2013
10:04 am

I saw Payton Manning complete a pass off of his backside looking up, against us one year.

DawgNole

August 29th, 2013
10:57 am

Flat Tire, I said IF (IF, IF) you’d rather play those cupcakes than Clemson, then you’re a coward. If you understand why it’s FAR better for our program to play decent OOC competition than the garbage we drag in here year after year, then we have no disagreement.

I know about media bias and the always-overrated Big 10, Big 12, and Pac 12. NONE of that changes the fact that ALL FBS teams (not just UGA) should put a stop to literally buying Ws, and instead earn their respect on the field.

If we’re not good enough to beat Clemson (or any other decent OOC team), then that’s on us–and we need to get better, regardless of what other teams are doing. And if we ARE good enough to beat them, then the results will show up loudly and clearly in the form of respect and rankings from those who matter.

Mobile Dawg

August 29th, 2013
11:44 am

Only two cupcakes on the schedule, sandwiched between traditionally good teams. Don’t know why anyone would have a problem with that.

DawgNole

August 29th, 2013
11:59 am

AltamahaDawg
August 29th, 2013
6:40 am
for example, we knew THIS schedule a little more than a year ago. Who do you suggest we play other than N Texas, in between SC and LSU. Assuming you don’t think the team really needs that break (and I bet nobody is truly going to want a tougher game right there when it gets here), who would have had week 4 sitting open waiting for us to call? nobody. N.Texas probably had to shuffle to around NW Texas to make it.
_______________________

You’re focusing on this year’s schedule alone. The immoral, albeit legal, practice of FBS teams buying wins has been going on for decades, and it’s way past time for it to stop. Can’t be done in one year, but it CAN be done.

DawgNole

August 29th, 2013
12:03 pm

NCDawg
August 29th, 2013
7:59 am
. . . The AD’s have a tough task… they really don’t know when they can schedule games until that conference slate is revealed and then it’s a scramble to get teams to fill those slots. There is also the FBS schools version of corporate welfare… scheduling cupcakes.
Many if not all these schools depend on getting a couple of games with the big boys to keep their programs afloat. The FBS school gets 2 things… a breather and an easy win. The FCS team get the experience of playing against top notch competition and tons of money. The 800K to 900K they get from this arrangement is probably more than their total home schedule brings in in any given season. Those schools dry up and blow away without it. So the FBS schools feel somewhat obligated to do this.
_____________________

There is NO obligation whatsoever for FBS teams to support FCS teams that are struggling financially. That’s no more than a weak-azz excuse for continuing to perpetuate the problem, which is allowing FBS teams to BUY victories.

DawgNole

August 29th, 2013
12:08 pm

Mobile Dawg
August 29th, 2013
11:44 am
Only two cupcakes on the schedule, sandwiched between traditionally good teams. Don’t know why anyone would have a problem with that.
_______________________

Because the overwhelming majority of the games are lopsided, boring, and MEANINGLESS, and there is NOTHING to be gained (and EVERYTHING to lose) by playing them–except for a hollow W on the record book. Don’t know why anyone would have a problem understanding that.

Mobile Dawg

August 29th, 2013
1:21 pm

Nothing to be gained except to rest and rehab the regulars, and give the younger, less experienced players some playing time. Sorry I disappoint you Nole.

Eddie...Lee...and..Ivory...

August 29th, 2013
1:32 pm

FLO>>>>Give you praise and very next post for you: “Owls over ND”..LMFAO….Seriously considering to renege on my statement.

AltamahaDawg

August 29th, 2013
1:47 pm

nothing to be gained, but not having to announce that the University of Georgia is having an 11 game schedule because they simply could not book a “good team” with 8 months notice and gave up rather than disappoint the fans with a less than stellar opponent.

AltamahaDawg

August 29th, 2013
1:50 pm

I also think the categorization of: very little to gain , and next to zero change of anything to lose, is a lot more accurate.

AltamahaDawg

August 29th, 2013
2:04 pm

Are you saying that THIS schedule is fine, but overall, hypothetically, you want to see better OOC games? I focused on this year, (and recent years) OOC because you specifically mentioned them by name.

As far as historically this being the same deal, when the schedule was 10, even 11, this was not nearly an issue. I don’t think I heard ANYbody complain about 1 cupcake.

It’s only recently in a 12 game regular season, then a CG, that this has forced that Extra cupcake issue.

Given that the SEC schedule has been in flux now for about 4 yrs, and will be for at least a couple more, THIS is the reality. Nobody is disputing that the better the opponent, the better the game. There’s just some undeniable factors at play. Philosophy is not even driving it right now.

AltamahaDawg

August 29th, 2013
2:13 pm

and I CERTAINLY am not one to defend flat tire but he never suggested playing North Texas instead of Clemson. You can’t suggest that he might bea coward for words you put in his mouth.

We are playing N Texas. BECAUSAE we are playing Clemson, not instead of. We have never played 3 North Texas’ in one year. But you are suggesting that we play GT and then 3 teams the caliber of Clemson, on top of an SEC schedule. I would be willing to bet if that were in your power, if that fell on your shoulders, that is not what you would do either.

AltamahaDawg

August 29th, 2013
2:26 pm

We have ALWAYS played 2 quality OOC games and one cupcake, There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Then 2 because of the 12th game, which has been impossible to find anybody decent in the past few years because of our SEC headquarters.

That will either settle down and we can book further out, or the 9th SEC game will take it out.

The lone exception was last year when we had to scramble up Buffalo to replace Louisville. And we got out of that TO be able to play this Clemson series.

ARdawg

August 29th, 2013
2:54 pm

If it were up to me, there would be no cupcakes on the schedule. I’ve always found those to be a beauty contest rather than a football game. Coaches love cupcakes especially on the top end of the schedule. The more they have, the more “do overs” they get. I get that part but, as a fan IMO, we’re short changed.

That said, I am a fan of the quality OOC games. They are usually a good yardstick of where the program is on the national scale. Even if as early as the Clemson game. High expectations, high energy and excitement early in the year is a great thing if your winning, kind of a bummer if your not

Mobile Dawg

August 29th, 2013
2:57 pm

Let’s hope we’re a better prepared team than we were against Boise St, another one of those would, well, let’s just not talk about it.

DawgNole

August 29th, 2013
3:16 pm

Mobile Dawg
August 29th, 2013
1:21 pm
Nothing to be gained except to rest and rehab the regulars, and give the younger, less experienced players some playing time. Sorry I disappoint you Nole.
__________________________

That’s what off weeks and practices are for. What disappoints me is your complete aversion to upgrading the schedule.

DawgNole

August 29th, 2013
3:23 pm

AltamahaDawg
August 29th, 2013
1:47 pm
nothing to be gained, but not having to announce that the University of Georgia is having an 11 game schedule because they simply could not book a “good team” with 8 months notice and gave up rather than disappoint the fans with a less than stellar opponent.
_______________________

What a crock of BS. Are you having a problem with reading comprehension? I’ve said it can’t be done in 1 year (or 8 months), but it CAN be done–and it’s way past time to start moving in that direction. Hopefully the new playoff format will put more emphasis on SOS, which in turn will “encourage” those teams that seem to have so much trouble scheduling DECENT OOC opponents to take another look.

DawgNole

August 29th, 2013
3:29 pm

AltamahaDawg
August 29th, 2013
2:13 pm
and I CERTAINLY am not one to defend flat tire but he never suggested playing North Texas instead of Clemson. You can’t suggest that he might bea coward for words you put in his mouth.
We are playing N Texas. BECAUSAE we are playing Clemson, not instead of. We have never played 3 North Texas’ in one year. But you are suggesting that we play GT and then 3 teams the caliber of Clemson, on top of an SEC schedule. I would be willing to bet if that were in your power, if that fell on your shoulders, that is not what you would do either.
______________________________

Do you not understand what the word IF means? IF he’d rather play Clemson than the usual parade of pu**ies–and I would hope he does–then this is a non-issue. Looks like YOU are the one inserting words into the mouths of others.

DawgNole

August 29th, 2013
3:36 pm

AltamahaDawg
August 29th, 2013
2:26 pm
We have ALWAYS played 2 quality OOC games and one cupcake, There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Then 2 because of the 12th game, which has been impossible to find anybody decent in the past few years because of our SEC headquarters.
That will either settle down and we can book further out, or the 9th SEC game will take it out.
___________________________

Did the addition of a 12th game just now happen? Of course not, so NO, we absolutely have not “ALWAYS played 2 quality OOC games and one cupcake.” The addition of a 12th game was NOT supposed to be for the purpose of buying another W.

And did I not ALREADY suggest that the addition of a 9th SEC game would reduce the “opportunity” to buy yet another W?

AltamahaDawg

August 29th, 2013
3:36 pm

alright, no big deal. I think you are ignoring the point I was making there, and several other things I said, and it wasn’t about just this year, but no need to beat that horse anymore. Didn’t mean that to come across as snarky.

you are making a broader philosophical point, which I said, I think we all agree in theory. Just making the point…….we played these 2 cupcake as opposed to nobody, which I believe was the option.

I do disagree philosophically about the playoff point though. If anything I think it will encourage teams to strategize more toward win totals.
I don’t think that scenario where team try to schedule % points more difficult OOC team to hope that they beat out another team with the same 10-2 record for that 4th spot, is very realistic.

AltamahaDawg

August 29th, 2013
3:43 pm

what was the 12th game added for?

and , its only been the norm for 6 or 7 years, and for half that time the SEC had been in reorganization mode. So OK,. My post does not entirely cover every single year in history (my bad). But enough of it, that I believe the point was entirely valid. Enough that you’re having to pull out the exception to my point.

I also think that looking at our OOC games since the 12th game was added, we have had pretty respectable schedules.

DawgNole

August 29th, 2013
3:47 pm

AltamahaDawg
August 29th, 2013
3:36 pm
alright, no big deal. I think you are ignoring the point I was making there, and several other things I said, and it wasn’t about just this year, but no need to beat that horse anymore. Didn’t mean that to come across as snarky.
you are making a broader philosophical point, which I said, I think we all agree in theory. Just making the point…….we played these 2 cupcake as opposed to nobody, which I believe was the option.
I do disagree philosophically about the playoff point though. If anything I think it will encourage teams to strategize more toward win totals. I don’t think that scenario where team try to schedule % points more difficult OOC team to hope that they beat out another team with the same 10-2 record for that 4th spot, is very realistic.
________________________

Well, I’m glad we ALMOST agree on something. This immoral buy-a-win business has ALWAYS irked me, but I think it’s especially evident now as we lead up to the Clemson game because of all the excitement this one’s generating–not only for the fans but for the teams. So what if it’s an away game? We’re still getting major-network TV bucks for it, and next year it will be in Athens.

DawgNole

August 29th, 2013
3:57 pm

AltamahaDawg
August 29th, 2013
3:43 pm
what was the 12th game added for?
and , its only been the norm for 6 or 7 years, and for half that time the SEC had been in reorganization mode. So OK,. My post does not entirely cover every single year in history (my bad). But enough of it, that I believe the point was entirely valid. Enough that you’re having to pull out the exception to my point.
I also think that looking at our OOC games since the 12th game was added, we have had pretty respectable schedules.
_______________________

NOT for the purpose of buying Ws.

The clunkers I cited are among UGA’s OOC opponents for the past 7 years plus this year. NONE of those represent ANYTHING resembling respectability.

And AGAIN, I am NOT singling out UGA. MANY others–MOST others, in fact–including my co-favorite team FSU, are guilty of buying wins. Just because it’s allowed doesn’t mean it’s right, and the sooner it ends, the better off we’ll all be.

AltamahaDawg

August 29th, 2013
7:43 pm

just fyi…….I know what I said. No need to cut and paste it. should save you some hassle.

DawgNole

August 29th, 2013
9:17 pm

It’s no hassle. I do that in case there are posters in between–and for documentation and clarity.

AltamahaDawg

August 30th, 2013
6:26 am

yea I know why. was just saying.
we can all follow the thread. the clarity is kind of obvious.

AltamahaDawg

August 30th, 2013
6:32 am

different topic.

Looks like Clowney spend the summer flexing in the mirror and looking at new condos.. Anybody see him getting in better shape in 8 days?

Dog4Life

August 30th, 2013
9:15 am

I do not attend cupcake games: 1) too hot (usually noon game), 2) It is interesting to see some younger players, but how they perform against a cupcake doesn’t equal how they will perform against a Bama etc…, 3) quite frankly they are boring and it is a long drive and expensive logistics to get there and back–I do watch them on TV if available.

aTm gets off easy because the NCAA does not have subpoena power. One concern was if they could find the money, which required the family and the vendors to tell the truth which they did not–they apparently prevaricated the reality if one believes the ESPN report. In AJs case, he told the truth and gave the money back–cashing the check had no bearing because if he had lied the NCAA had no way of finding out–they woulld have had to subpoena his bank records– they cannot do that. Well, so much for the tenets of aTm of integrity, honesty and virtue–economics always trumps morality(most cases).

I was not at the the 1984 game. I was on my second and last tour of duty in Central America–I did hear it on tape delay over armed forces radio–Not Munson unfortunately–but it was great nonetheless. 1988 I enrolled at UGA as a student (spent two yrs as a backup QB (deep backup), not in the sec but a D1 program–hurt my knee) and a degree and a masters later I have never missed seeing a game, hearing a game or watching a game since. I love the DAWGS!!!!

This Clemscum game will come down to defensive containment, youth overcoming a big stage, and an unbalanced game plan–RUN THE BALL 65 TIMES AND KEEP BOYD OFF THE FIELD. That will force Dabo to panic and Boyd will pressure himself to succeed–at least that is my mind-set to win this game.

BoiseDawg

August 30th, 2013
10:24 am

Altamaha – I hope Bobo took notice. One game at a time… I’d like to see us go with a lot of no huddle and delayed screen passes to Gurley when we play South Carolina.

I am just as concerned about our defense though. Shaw killed us last year running the ball.

RangeRover

August 30th, 2013
2:08 pm

I was there in Death Valley in 1981…you could see William Perry’s naval a hundred yards away.

Devil's Advocate

August 30th, 2013
2:51 pm

Let’s keep some perspective here. Clemson dominated the ACC for the most part in 2012 but they struggled to beat Auburn and had to come from behind to barely beat LSU in a bowl game. I cannot explain what happened in the CFA Bowl but LSU seemed to be in control until the final 8 minutes. Everyone knows what South Carolina (without Lattimore) did to Clemson.

I can’t wait for all the haters to say Clemson is a weak ACC team after UGA beats them convincingly and tries to use the very facts I just presented to claim that UGA hasn’t proven anything.

The Geezer

August 30th, 2013
7:32 pm

Actually what Grizzard wrote was when he saw the farmers coming down the street on their tractors for the tractorcade, he thought they were Clemson fans going to Sears to get new clothes for the Orange Bowl.

I also recall after Butler kicked his 60 yard field goal with 11 seconds left to put Georgia ahead, the Dogs had to kick off to Clemson and the kid who fielded the kickoff on his side of the field threw a lateral all the way across the field to the other kickoff return man on the far sideline and the Georgia return team had to fight to bring down that man before he could score a game winning touchdown.

It was a great rivalry for those 11 years.

Angie

August 31st, 2013
1:50 pm

I was very pregnant at the 1984 game, everyone rubbed my belly before Butler kicked the ball, the rest is history….I love that story