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Are the Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers Still Rivals?

I know I shouldn’t let things like this get to me nearly as much as they do, but Dawg Sports recently received a link in this message board comment thread, which began when a Kentucky Wildcats fan, noting that EA Sports’ NCAA game had the Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers listed as rivals, posted the following inquiry:

Since when are Georgia and Clemson rivals?

I was never aware of a rivalry between those schools and can't recall ever seeing them play each other.

Some knowledgeable Clemson and Georgia fans chimed in to clear up the questioner’s confusion, although a Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets supporter twice added his two cents’ worth, each time demonstrating the snide arrogance and complete ignorance we would expect from one of the Ramblin’ Wreck faithful when speaking of arguably his team’s two biggest current rivals:

It's not a rivalry. Period. They don't play each other any longer. Please look up stuff on google before you post. (do you see how dumb that sounds now?)

Tech was playing Bama, Tennessee, Auburn every year back in the day, that doesn't make it a rivalry today.

Your [sic.] welcome. . . .

Couldn't disagree more. For me personally, just because we started playing someone in the 1800's and had rivalries with them in the 40's doesn't make them a rivalry. I know college football, and I know the history between Clemson and Georgia. That being said, they're not rivals in the college football world any longer.

That's my opinion, if you're a fan and think that's a rivalry then more power to you I guess.

This kind of foolishness simply makes me crazy. The analogies employed by this particular Georgia Tech fan are as inapt as they are inept, as ought to be apparent to anyone who attended a liberal arts institution that taught critical thinking instead of a trade school that taught how to fix stuff.

The Engineers played the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Auburn Tigers, and the Tennessee Volunteers "back in the day" because Georgia Tech belonged to the Southeastern Conference, of which those perennial opponents also were members. When Bobby Dodd got his sanctimonious panties in a bunch and yanked the Golden Tornado out of the league abruptly, leaving the teams they were scheduled to face scrambling to fill the voids on their schedules, those conference rivalries faded away and have been renewed only rarely in the interim.

Georgia and Clemson ceased to be league foes when the Red and Black joined the SEC in 1933 while the Orange and Purple remained in the Southern Conference. The end of the series as a league game did not diminish the intensity of the rivalry, which grew by leaps and bounds as an out-of-conference clash.

In the mid-1940s, for the first time since 1916, the Bulldogs and the Tigers squared off four years in a row. Some spice was added to the rivalry in 1955, when the Fort Hill Felines beat the Classic City Canines for the first time since 1914, and the border foes met 24 times in the 26 seasons between 1962 and 1987. No rivalry in the country was more fiercely contested, and few were as consistently nationally significant, as the clashes between Georgia and Clemson from 1977 to 1987.

Accordingly, for the benefit of clueless fans like our friend from Georgia Tech who know as little about the rivalry between the Athenians and the South Carolinians as they know about the difference between your and you’re, here is a brief quiz that ought to illustrate the sheer idiocy of this message-board mouth-breather’s snotty and preposterous claim that no rivalry exists along the stretch of I-85 running from the Classic City to Lake Hartwell:

  1. Name the only team Clemson faced 20 times in the 20-year period from 1897 to 1916.

  2. Name the only team Georgia faced 20 times in the 20-year period from 1897 to 1916.

  3. Wally Butts’s 140 career wins at Georgia set a school record for coaching victories. Against which opponent did Vince Dooley claim his 141st triumph to break Coach Butts’s record?

  4. The Bulldogs ceased playing night games in Sanford Stadium in 1951 and did not host another evening contest between the hedges for more than 30 years. Against which opponent did Georgia resume the practice of playing night games in 1982?

  5. Name the only team Herschel Walker faced more than once in his collegiate career without scoring a touchdown.

  6. Clemson finished the 1978 season with only one loss. Name the only team to defeat the Tigers that year.

  7. Georgia lost only one regular-season game in the three years of Herschel Walker’s collegiate career. To whom did the Bulldogs lose that lone outing?

  8. Clemson finished the 1982 season with only one loss. Name the only team to defeat the Tigers that year.

  9. In each of the three years from 1980 to 1982, the winner of this rivalry game finished the regular season ranked No. 1. Name the series in which this occurred.

  10. Clemson finished the 1991 regular season with only one loss. Name the only team on the Tigers’ scheduled slate to defeat them that year.

  11. From 1977 to 1987, Georgia went 8-3 against Florida and 8-3 against Georgia Tech but 5-5-1 against another rival. Who was it?

  12. From 1977 to 1987, Clemson went 7-4 against N.C. State and 7-3-1 against South Carolina but 5-5-1 against another rival. Who was it?

  13. National championship-winning Tiger quarterback and 1982 Orange Bowl MVP Homer Jordan said one Clemson rivalry was "getting bigger than the South Carolina game." To which rival was he referring?

  14. National championship-winning Bulldog quarterback Buck Belue said Georgia fans and fans of a particular Georgia rival "don’t like each other." To which rival was he referring?

The answers, of course, are Georgia, Clemson, Clemson, Clemson, Clemson, Georgia, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia-Clemson, Georgia, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia, and Clemson, respectively.

I said it in 1995, I said it again in 2008, and I will continue to say it because it has been true since 1897 and remains true to this day: Georgia and Clemson are rivals. It’s why we’re renewing hostilities in 2013 and it’s why the Georgia Tech fan who presumed to speak about his rivals’ rivalries simply lacks adequate knowledge to comment intelligently about the Bulldogs’ best rivalry with an ACC opponent.

Go ‘Dawgs!