clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The GT-Bama Rivalry Revisited

For anyone (like myself) who wasn't around during the GT SEC days, here's a primer about the Georgia Tech-Alabama rivalry:

This rivalry revolves around the most epic coaching dual in Southern Football History: Dodd versus Bryant. From 1958-1964, the two coaches squared off 7 times. This rivalry was cited by Bobby Dodd multiple times as a factor for Tech leaving the SEC. He felt Bear and other SEC coaches treated their players poorly through over recruitment. Dodd only recruited players if he knew he had scholarship room for them. Bryant and other SEC brethren would over-recruit and cut players during Summer workouts voiding their athletic scholarships. Dodd brought this up numerous times in SEC offseason meetings but the SEC paid no heed.

For most Tech fans, the most memorable game against Bama was the 1962 game in Atlanta. The Tide came to town 8-0, ranked #1 in the country. They hadn't lost in 26 straight games, a streak that stretched over three seasons. Joe Namath was the superstar sophomore quarterback of the Tide facing Tech's own sophomore QB Billy Lothridge. To make a long story short, Tech led all game 7-0. In the waning seconds of the game, Namath finally drove Bama down the field and scored a TD. Instead of taking the tie, Bear went for 2 and the 2 point conversion was intercepted preserving Tech's lead and the eventual upset of the juggernaut Crimson Tide.

Another memorable game for Tech fans was one of the last of the Dodd-Bryant Era. In 1961, Tech had punted to Bama returnman Billy Richardson. Richardson signaled fair catch and all of the Tech coverage unit relaxed at the signal. Alabama's Darwin Holt didn't stop playing and blindsided Tech running back and coverage man Chick Granning. Granning suffered a broken jaw, 5 missing teeth, a broken nose, blood in his respiratory system, and a severe concussion. After the game, Dodd demanded an apology from Bryant and disciplinary action for Holt, which Bryant refused. The 1964 game was the last of the Dodd-Bryant series.

Whenever Tech fans think of the Bama-GT rivalry, they think of the glory years of Bobby Dodd and Tech's dominance in the SEC. They also recall the trips to Birmingham as Tech only played Bama in Tuscaloosa once (1902).

Anyone else care to fill us in on any memorable Dodd-Bryant or GT-Bama memories?