Clemson–Georgia Tech football rivalry
The Clemson–Georgia Tech football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Clemson Tigers football team of Clemson University and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team of Georgia Tech. The Tigers and Yellow Jackets first met in 1898, and have played annually since 1983. Clemson won the first four games of the series between 1898 and 1903, but Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 50–27–2, including a dominant 32–3 run during a sixty-five year period between 1908 and 1973.
The ACC series between the schools, beginning in 1983, has been very close and competitive. The ACC series is tied at 16 wins apiece, after #22 Georgia Tech defeated #19 Clemson 28-6 on November 15, 2014. Georgia Tech defeated Clemson twice in one season in 2009, but Ramblin' Wreck's victory over the Tigers in the 2009 ACC Championship Game has since been vacated and is voided from the series record.
The two programs have won more than ACC Championships. Georgia Tech most recently ended the season ranked #1 by the UPI Coaches Poll in 1990 after defeating the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 1991 Florida Citrus Bowl, while Clemson ended the year ranked #1 in 1981, ironically also after also defeating Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl. Georgia Tech also claims football national titles in 1917, 1928, and 1952. Heisman Trophy namesake John Heisman coached at both schools, at Clemson from 1899 to 1904, before leaving for Georgia Tech in 1905 and leading Tech to its first national title in his last year.
Both schools also have intense in-state rivalries against larger schools which both happen to be in the SEC: Georgia Tech's Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate rivalry with the Georgia Bulldogs, and Clemson's Palmetto Bowl game against the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Through 2013, the teams have played 78 times, with Tech leading the series 50–27–2. The teams first met in 1898, when Clemson's third-year program defeated Georgia Tech 23–0 to finish with a 3–1 record. The following year, the Tigers beat Tech again, 41–5. In 1904, Georgia Tech lured away Clemson's head coach, John Heisman (namesake of the Heisman Trophy), with the prospect of $450 pay raise ($11,812 adjusted for inflation), which was a 25% salary increase.
In 1977, Georgia Tech, a year before it joined the ACC, decided to end its series with Clemson. George Bennett, a Clemson athletics booster, was determined to preserve the game, as the trip to Atlanta provided a unique experience for the Tigers players and fanbase who had not been to a bowl game since 1959. In what was supposed to be the final game in Atlanta, upon Bennett's suggestion, thousands of Clemson supporters paid their expenses with two-dollar bills stamped with the shape of a tiger paw. This demonstrated the large amount of money that the Clemson fanbase regularly pumped into the local economy because of the game.
The series resumed in 1983 when Georgia Tech began playing football in the ACC. This has become one of the most competitive rivalries in the ACC with Clemson only leading 16-15 in the ACC era. These games have often been decided at the last minute and by small margins. Nine of the games between 1996 and 2006 were decided by five points or less.
When the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), of which both schools are members, reorganized in 2005 to form divisions for the sport of football, Clemson and Georgia Tech were designated as cross-division rivals. This means that their football teams meet every season, unlike their other non-divisional conference opponents, which are played less often on a rotational basis.
In the 2009 season, both teams won their respective divisions of the ACC. For the first time in the series' history, the two teams met for a second time in a season on December 5, 2009 in the ACC Championship Game. The game marked the first ever December meeting between the two teams, as well as the first post-season meeting. It was also the first time the series has been played outside of Atlanta or Clemson since 1899. Georgia Tech won 39–34, however the NCAA later vacated the last 3 games of Georgia Tech's 2009 season along with the ACC Championship. The NCAA ruled starting WR Demaryius Thomas should have been ruled ineligible ahead of the previous game for accepting $312 worth of clothing from a potential agent. While the offense was minor, the individual was never proven to be an agent, and the clothing had been returned, the NCAA ruled that Georgia Tech prepared the players for statements and was generally uncooperative with the NCAA investigation. Therefore, all games following the offense have been vacated, including the 2009 ACC championship game with Clemson.
In the 2011 season, both teams started 6–0. The match-up was highly anticipated until Georgia Tech stumbled losing two straight games, at Virginia and at Miami (FL). The game was 6–2 Georgia Tech hosting 8–0 #5 Clemson. This game was the 2011 Georgia Tech homecoming game and also the only time the two teams have ever met with the College Football Belt on the line. Clemson entered the game with the Belt after defeating previous national champion Auburn earlier in the year. Georgia Tech upset the Tigers 31–17 and claimed the College Football Belt for the first time in its history. After the game, Clemson fell out of the Top 10 and Georgia Tech became ranked, at #22.
Clemson victories are colored █ orange. Georgia Tech victories are colored █ gold. Ties are shown in white. Vacated is shown in █ grey."
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