"I don't give a damn about the whole state of Georgia...the whole state of Georgia...'cause I'm from Clemson U," the Tigers shouted at the top of their lungs moments after whipping Georgia Tech 31-14 Saturday. - 9/23/1977Clemson swept Georgie and Georgia Tech on the road for the first time since 1906 in 1977. Put the emphasis on road in that sentence because Tech had forced Clemson to play every game since 1898 in Atlanta except for one in Greenville (1898) and one in Clemson (1974). Georgie had been a little more accommodating for the Tigers and had played a handful of their games against the Tigers in South Carolina. And essentially this was the root cause for the ending of the series. The Bobby Dodd effect had worn off so Tech couldn't force Southeastern teams to play the entire series of a contract in Atlanta (but Tech didn't want to accept this fact either).
The 1977 contest saw Tech fall to the Tigers in almost identical fashion to the 1974 road debacle. Clemson end Jerry Butler caught all 5 of the Tigers' completed passes for a school record 163 yards as the Tigers routed Tech 31-14 in front of 51,000 fans in Atlanta in what most thought was the end of a storied series.
The rivalry was renewed thankfully in 1983 due to ACC scheduling. Tech came into the 1983 following one of the most embarrassing losses in school history (Furman) and Clemson came into the game with NCAA sanctions. Clemson won the game handily and Tech had its first 0-3 start since 1900. The game has been played on a home and home basis, as Clemson wanted back in 1977, ever since 1983.
What Makes the Series a Rivalry: Proximity. 122 miles separates the two campuses. This is the closest ACC opponent to Atlanta by far and Clemson fans love to flood ATL every other year. Competitive balance. 17 of the 29 games since 1983 have been decided by one possession. The average margin of victory in that span is only 9 points.
The ACC Title. Because of Tech and Clemson's forced inter-division game, they are essentially playing a 6th division opponent every season that knows the intricacies of their team through and through. The respective fans know their opponents' coaches, offenses, and defenses. Tech victories in the inter-division rivalry cost Clemson ACC Atlantic Division titles in 2005, 2007, and 2008. Tech's victory in the 2009 ACC Title also took away Clemson's first shot at an ACC crown since 1991.
Personal Rivalry: For me, the rivalry was born in 2003. It is a very simple story. Clemson marched into Atlanta immediately following a statement by Reggie Ball stating Tech wasn't going to lose anymore games... Clemson beat Tech 39-3. I had never been pissed off at a sporting event but that game sparked a little fire in my veins that I haven't relinquished for Clemson ever since. When Tech beats Clemson in any sport, I relish the win like it's an award for working hard amongst the purple and orange hordes. I trace it all back to that one day in 2003...
Any good Clemson stories out there?