I was born just a few weeks before Herschel ran over Bill Bates on a hot late-summer night in Knoxville, so when it comes to the height of the Georgia-Clemson rivalry, I have very little memory of it. Oh sure, we took on the rock petters off and on in the early 1990s and as recently as 2002 and 2003, but it wasn’t a matchup of two even teams with high hopes of themselves.
For Georgia fans my age, we have no real feeling of the hate between Georgia and Clemson. It’s a lot like younger fans see Tech. If you have been a Georgia fan only since Mark Richt’s arrival, it is easy to question if Tech is a rival. But if you had to suffer through three losses in a row to the NATS in the late 1990s or Tech somehow winning a share of a national title (do those even count?), you understand that Tech is a very very serious rival.
Fans my parents age see Clemson in the same way. To us, Clempson is an ACC school that has a lot in common with Georgia. But for folks my parents age? They may as well be on the level of Florida or Auburn in terms of great dislike.
In the early 1980s…these two teams HATED each other. And you’re seeing friction get kicked up again thanks to Sammy Watkins. These poor rock petters. They somehow think that they have arrived as a program thanks to beating teams in the Almost Competitive Conference and slipping past a very average LSU team. If beating average LSU teams made coaches great, then Jim Donnan is a legend.
What the renewing of this rivalry has done is this – bridged the generation gap between Georgia fans of different generations. I was told stories about Clemson growing up but never had a full dislike. Thanks to this game having so much on it, that has changed.
And there was also this story. Which explains my Lugnut Dawg’s mom cannot stand Clemson.
My parents attended the 1984 Georgia – Clemson game. After Kevin Butler’s long field goal caused Larry to exclaim “Oh my God! Oh my God,” my folks eventually made their way to their post game tail gate spot. After a while, a Clemson RV pulls up right in front of them. Before leaving, the driver of the RV dumps its sewage out, fully in front of my parents group.
Needless to say, my mom greatly dislikes Clempson.