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Could the Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers Renew College Football Hostilities in the 2010 Music City Bowl?

At this point, I’m operating from the expectation that the Georgia Bulldogs are going to lose to the Auburn Tigers on the road and defeat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at home. Admittedly, neither is a given: Auburn and Georgia both have winning records on the other’s home field, and the lower-ranked or unranked team has a remarkable propensity for pulling off the upset, so the Bulldogs have the Tigers right where they want them, but the Plainsmen are both better and due; the Engineers remain a legitimate threat, but the Red and Black’s pre-Thanksgiving bye week and the Golden Tornado’s loss of starting quarterback Joshua Nesbitt likely make the Classic City Canines the favorite against the Ramblin’ Wreck. In other words, I’m making presumptions, not predictions.

Assuming for the sake of argument that the Bulldogs finish 6-6 and bowl-eligible, the question then becomes: "What bowl will Georgia attend?" Chris Low projects the Athenians will face an ACC opponent in the Music City Bowl, and the Nashville-based postseason tilt gets the sixth pick of Atlantic Coast Conference clubs.

Right now, with a 3-3 league ledger and a 5-4 overall record, the Clemson Tigers are tied with Georgia Tech for seventh overall in the ACC standings. The Jungaleers beat the Yellow Jackets earlier this autumn. That’s right . . . we could be looking at Georgia and Clemson meeting in the Music City Bowl.

Of course, a Georgia-Clemson bowl matchup appeared likely last year, as well, but it did not come to pass, so it is way early to be booking hotel rooms in Opryland, but such a pairing would be an attractive one for the Music City Bowl, as fans of both schools would be excited over such a game following uneven seasons.

It would be neat to renew this ancient rivalry at a neutral site, as 54 of the 62 series meetings have taken place on campus. After squaring off seven straight seasons at the Georgia-Carolina Fairgrounds in Augusta between 1907 and 1913, the Bulldogs and the Tigers have met on a neutral field only once, when they met at Cater Athletic Park in Anderson in 1916. Georgia is 6-1-1 against Clemson in venues outside of the Classic City and Fort Hill.

For what it’s worth, since the two schools began their respective football programs in the 1890s, the Red and Black have never gone longer than seven years without facing the Orange and Purple on the gridiron. The last series meeting between Georgia and Clemson was in 2003, seven years ago. Either the Bulldogs and the Tigers will meet in a bowl game at the end of the 2010 campaign, or we currently find ourselves in the longest hiatus in series history.

This year’s Music City Bowl will be played on December 30, which falls on a Thursday. Georgia and Clemson have met on every day of the week except Sunday and Tuesday, with the Classic City Canines holding an all-time 8-0-2 advantage over the Fort Hill Felines in Thursday showdowns. Although there have been three seasons in which the Bulldogs and the Tigers met in the final game of the campaign for both teams, the nearby rivals have never met in December. Georgia holds winning records over Clemson in August (2-0), September (15-5-1), October (13-8-1), and November (11-4-2).

It hasn’t been a good season of Georgia football, but the autumn would end well if it culminated in a Music City Bowl matchup that produced the 63rd chapter of Fighting Like Cats and Dogs.

Go ‘Dawgs!