Football rivalries. They are the lifeblood of any season, particularly in college football. Every team has at least one bitter rival, and there is an entire week of the college football season devoted to these bloodfests.
Georgia Tech football’s most hated rival is the red and black clad Georgia Bulldogs, and the game–’Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate’ as it’s called–is truly one of the sport’s best.
But is it enough, or do the Yellow Jackets need something more?
While Georgia-Georgia Tech is a game that has become a grand finale to the regular season for both teams, and provides some great moments for the network highlight shows, it’s lacking something crucial…
Yes, the game means a lot to the players, but to the season as a whole? No, not so much. If one or the other of the teams happens to be undefeated (which seems to occur once every millenia) then yes, it could be a potential spoiler for a national championship. But beyond that, it’s just a game of pride and a chance for neighbors to fling insults without the police being involved. Well…usually.
Georgia has Auburn and Florida. Two conference rivals, one in each division, who can turn the tide of a season in either direction for the Bulldogs. The game against Auburn is the ‘Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry’, and the annual game in Jacksonville against the Gators is (to the non-media world) the ‘World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party’. Both games are nationally recognized and help give all the teams involved a lot of extra weight when it comes to voting for rankings and how they are perceived on a national stage.
Georgia Tech has…well, they have Clemson. Sort of.
The fact is that the Yellow Jackets don’t really have a long-running rivalry within the ACC that fans and the media get all jazzed up about, and that’s something that should and can change.
Most of the great rivalries have a regional or in-state feel to them. Michigan-Ohio State, USC-UCLA, Auburn-Alabama, all spring to mind when you think of meaningful games. The problem is for Tech that Georgia is really the only in-state rival, and regionally the Yellow Jackets only have two teams in fairly close proximity.
Clemson, and Florida State.
Tech has played Clemson a total of 79 times, with a 50-27-2 record against the Tigers. The first game was played in 1898, so that does give it the all-important “more than 100 years old” aspect.
The Jackets have played Florida State a total of 25 times, with an 11-13-1 record against the Seminoles. Although this too goes back over 100 years from the time of the first meeting, the bulk of these games have come in the last couple of decades since FSU joined the ACC in 1992.
It would seem that the Yellow Jackets need to pick a fight with one of these two teams and start the national media talking about the game a week before it happens. It’s good for the conference, and good for the teams involved. It also helps if the game is played either on rivalry week or right around then, late in the season. This insures that the game can have catastrophic consequences for the loser and propel the winner into the limelight.
The thing about this is, you can’t just create a rivalry. You can spout off the number off meetings, the closeness of the campuses, the recruiting overlaps and a thousand other things…but if the two teams just don’t feel that animosity and bring a huge game feeling, then it just won’t happen.
The game also needs a nickname. The Iron Bowl. The Egg Bowl. The Cocktail Party. Bedlam. The Border War….all the great ones have nicknames.
Georgia Tech-Clemson…what could that game be called?
Carolina-Georgia Skirmish? Nah…I’ll let you fans come up with something. Let’s just get these two truly hating each other.