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HTS 2018: C...L...E...M...S...O... ... ... ...N?


Georgia Tech v Clemson
Up with the white and one poor dude in gold!
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Welcome to From the Rumble Seat’s weekly historical matchup lecture. Throughout the season, each unit in this class will examine the head-to-head matchups of our opponents in the 2018 season. It’s time...for Clemson. Tech is a combined 214-196-12 against the rest of the schedule, and has a long, winding history with the Clemson Tigers.

Clemson Tigers

Opponent Background:

  • Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (1953 - present)
  • Location: Clemson, South Carolina
  • All-time Record: 732 - 459 - 45 (.610)
  • Home Stadium: Clemson Memorial Stadium (Capacity: 81,500)
  • FBS National Championships: 2 Claimed (1981, 2016)
  • College Football Playoff Appearances: 3 (2015, 2016, 2017)
  • New Year’s Six Bowl Games: 18 — Sugar (2 - 1959, 2018), Cotton (1 - 1940), Fiesta (1 - 2016), Orange (6 - 1951, 1957, 1982, 2012, 2014*, 2015), Peach (8 - 1979, 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2012)
  • Conference Championships: 23 — (SIAA: 1900, 1902, 1903, 1906 SoCon: 1940, 1948 ACC: 1956, 1958, 1959, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • Division Championships: 6 — (Atlantic: 2009, 2011, 2012*, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • 2017 Season Record: 12 - 2 (7 - 1 ACC)

Past Results:

  • Team Head-to-Head Record: 50-30-2 (.610)
  • Recent Meetings:
    2017: 24 - 10 (Clemson, SC)
    2016: 26 - 7 (Atlanta, GA)
    2015: 43 - 24 (Clemson, SC)
    2014: 28 - 6 (Atlanta, GA)
  • Coach Head-to-Head Record: 4-6-0 (.400)
  • Tech record in this week’s venue: 33-12-0 (.733)

2018 Football Schedule

Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes
Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes
September 1 12:30 p.m. Alcorn State Southwestern Athletic 2-0-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 41 - 0 W FCS
September 8 12:00 p.m. @ South Florida American Athletic 0-1-0 Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, FL 38 - 49 L First Meeting, Group of Five
September 15 12:30 p.m. @ Pittsburgh Atlantic Coast 5-8-0 Heinz Field - Pittsburgh, PA 19 - 24 L
September 22 3:30 p.m. Clemson Atlantic Coast 50-31-2 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 21 - 49 L Rivalry, Hall of Fame Day
September 29 12:00 p.m. Bowling Green Mid-American 1-0-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 63 - 17 W First Meeting, Family Weekend, Group of Five
October 5 7:00 p.m. @ Louisville Atlantic Coast 1-0-0 Cardinal Stadium - Louisville, KY 66 - 31 W First Meeting
October 13 12:20 p.m. Duke Atlantic Coast 51-34-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 14 - 28 L Homecoming
October 25 7:30 p.m. @ VPISU Atlantic Coast 7-9-0 Lane Stadium - Blacksburg, VA 49 - 28 W Rivalry
November 3 12:15 p.m. @ North Carolina Atlantic Coast 30-21-3 Kenan Memorial Stadium - Chapel Hill, NC 38 - 28 W
November 10 7:00 p.m. Miami Atlantic Coast 12-12-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 27 - 21 W Whiteout
November 17 3:30 p.m. Virginia Atlantic Coast 21-19-1 Bobby Dodd Stadium - Atlanta, GA 30 - 27 W (OT) Senior Day
November 24 12:00 p.m. @ u[sic]ga Southeastern 44-67-5 Sanford Stadium - Athens, GA 45 - 21 L Rivalry
December 26 5:15 p.m. vs. Minnesota Big Ten 0-0-0 Ford Field - Detroit, MI - First Meeting

Finally, a Team with History:

Clemson played their first game in 1896. The game was brought to South Carolina by Walter Riggs from Auburn University. After a few years of football, a similar man followed a similar trip and ventured over to the school on the lake. His name was John Heisman. He was a pretty good coach for the tigers, winning three conference championships in a few short years, before he was stolen away by some upstarts with a subpar football program over in Atlanta now known as the Georgia Institute of Technology. Clemson receded back into the depths for almost four decades before hiring a man named Frank Howard. His rock now stands at the top of the hill in Clemson Memorial Stadium, which should tell a thing or two about how successful he was in Clemson. After Howard left, they spent another decade in the wilderness until Danny Ford came along. Though he peaked early in his tenure, that peak was their first ever national championship, as good of a factoid as any for the Tigers. The end of his tenure saw much controversy, leading to his team being placed on probation and his ultimate severance of association with the Clemson Tigers, though he was massively popular and his teams did see success. They went through a few more coaches before hiring Tommy Bowden, son of legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. This decade saw a lot of peak “Clemsoning,” a popular adage for disappointing fans in just about every way. Tech took advantage of this a few notable times. Once Bowden resigned after yet another year of disappointing his fanbase, his assistant Dabo Swinney was promoted to head coach. Though they took home just one title in their first four tries, they’ve been on a roll ever since, winning three straight conference titles and securing their second national championship in 2016 - Swinney turned them into the perennial powerhouse it always seemed they had the potential of being.

As far as Tech football history goes, From the Rumble Seat has been taking a biweekly look at football history since the beginning of the summer over at Rearview Mirror. And it hasn’t changed much since last week. The short version is that Tech football began ignominiously with a middling season in 1892. A game up in Athens in 1893, which Tech won, set the stage for one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport and also is one of the mythic origins of the Ramblin’ Wreck nickname, as well as how Tech got its colors. Tech was pitiful, to put it nicely, for quite some time until one man, Frank Turner, started an initiative to hire a bonafide legend as a football coach. That resulted in John Heisman. Heisman, innovator and champion, saw much success on the Flats until he dramatically left town as part of his divorce. The old man was replaced by William Alexander, who was known for his team’s strong academics and his own 1928 national championship. Coach Alex was, in turn, replaced by his own protege Bobby Dodd. By the end of Dodd’s tenure, Tech had amassed three national championships, twelve conference championships, including five in the Southeastern Conference, which just mean more, and had decided to go independent to make a stand not only for its football prominence, but its foundational academic principles as well. Dodd and Tech would not sacrifice student-athlete education and well-being. The independent years were lean for Tech and did not result in the dream of a “Notre Dame of the South” status. Eventually, Tech joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in the beginning of the 1980s. By the end of the decade, coach Bobby Ross brought the Jackets seemingly from nowhere to win a national championship, Tech’s fourth. Since then, the Jackets have seen average-to-great years, the most recent excellent year being 2014, when Tech was a few plays from the inaugural College Football Playoff. The Jackets have an all-time record of 724-491-43.

Tech and Clemson have a long, storied history dating back to the third season of Clemson football. The Tigers dominated the early days of the rivalry, taking four games in a row to open the series between the two. Tech’s first win came in the sixth game between the two, Heisman’s second year at the helm of his new school in Atlanta. It would be 84 years between matchups away from Tech’s home stadium, as the Tigers visited Atlanta every year between the 1899 matchup in Greenville and the 1983 matchup in Clemson. This is a testament to the savage negotiation of John Heisman, his strong incentive to bring teams to Atlanta to not only line his own pockets but the pockets of his athletic department as well, the strength of Tech football at the time, and the extreme ease of getting to Atlanta compared to basically anywhere else in the South at the time. In that time, there were four longer stretches without matchups between the two, with the longest streak being ten seasons in the Roaring Twenties. The Tigers would eventually overtake every other team besides Auburn and the school in Athens on Tech’s most played opponents list, partially due to the split ties between Tech and the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference. Tech dominated the second phase of the rivalry, racking up wins all the way until 1976. The final game between the end of the Independent era for Tech and its entry to the ACC was in 1977. Not only did Clemson win that game, but they also attempted to prove their economic impact on the city of Atlanta in order to keep the healthy rivalry going. Since Tech joined the ACC in the early 80s, Clemson has seen more success, especially compared to those years of the SEC/ACC split, but each team has seen a four year in a row win streak. In the Paul Johnson/Dabo Swinney eras, Tech has yielded slightly more games than Clemson, though the Jackets won the conference championship in their only head-to-head matchup in the head-to-head game for the crown. Tech has won five of the last six that have taken place in Atlanta, though they lost the latest Atlanta meeting, and the latest Clemson meeting, each in primetime, with the 2016 edition coming as a drubbing on Thursday night football. And that is where we stand today. Two programs, which seem very different, just as Clemson did in 1902 and Georgia Tech did in 1920. The beauty of rivalries is that every cares. The games matter. This is the beauty of college sports, condensed into single games. Nothing stays the same forever. And knocking off a well regarded playoff contender tomorrow would be yet another twist in this long, storied, proud rivalry. Though Tech may not played Auburn annually, or historic rivals Tulane, Alabama, and Tennessee for that matter, they do get Clemson. And with all the intrigue that has happened over the years, from poaching coaches and spoiling seasons to iconic comebacks and statement wins, there’s no telling what happen tomorrow. It’s time to see what the day may bring.

Tomorrow the Jackets face off against the Tigers (50-30-2 all time) in week four at Bobby Dodd Stadium at 3:30 pm. The game will be aired on ABC and can be heard over the radio in the usual suspects, 680 AM / 93.7 FM.

With the appearance of the historical matchup preview, that means it’s after Friday at 10:00 AM and that concludes From the Rumble Seat’s regularly scheduled pregame content. Tune in tomorrow starting at 6:00 AM for How to Watch continuing through the gameday thread and the postgame recap. Less than 36 hours until toe meets leather! As always, go Jackets!