The Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate Rivalry between Georgia and Georgia Tech will kickoff for the 107th time this Saturday at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN.
This game is filled with rich tradition, but what was once a game that decided champions has lost its luster with time.
In the past 30 years the Bulldogs have owned this game pushing the rivalry from the national stage. Since 1978 the Bulldogs have gone 26-8 against the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech has only had one winning streak in the past two decades. It came from 1998-2000 when the Yellow Jackets won three in a row.
Since then the Yellow Jackets have only won one game in this matchup.
The Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets first played in 1893 and were conference foes until 1963 when Georgia Tech left the SEC.
The game has carried some great matchups since then, but the rivalry began to fall away from the national stage when the Yellow Jackets left the SEC. In the early years of the rivalry the bitterness was widespread between the two teams.
In 1919 things got nasty. Georgia frequently used Grant Field—Georgia Tech’s homefield in Atlanta—to play home games in the early 1900’s.
During World War I most athletic males had gone to help with the war effort making it impossible for Georgia to field a football team. The Bulldogs had to cancel their program during the war years.
Georgia Tech was a military training ground during the war so there were plenty of bodies to field a football team. The Yellow Jackets continued their program throughout the war.
Georgia was able to rebuild its program after the war and in 1919 Georgia students staged a parade mocking the Yellow Jackets for continuing their football program during the war years.
Tech immediately canceled the rivalry and forbid the Bulldogs from playing future home games at Grant Field. It was not until 1925 that the rivalry was renewed.
That is just one instance where the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets made this rivalry famous. Add in the fact that both teams fight songs mention the destruction of the other, and there is no doubting that these schools are bitter rivals.
Georgia fans sing “To Hell with Georgia Tech” and the Yellow Jackets can be heard singing “To Hell with Georgia” when their fight songs are played.
This could be a year that the rivalry sees national interest renewed as the game carries national title and conference title implications.
With a 10-1 record and SEC title game looming, a win for the Bulldogs would help push them closer to a national title appearance.
The Yellow Jackets are 6-5 on the season and have a shot at finishing in the ACC title game, but that relies on them finishing with a win over Florida State to finish the year. Florida State has an outside shot at the national title, and could face the Yellow Jackets two weeks in a row if Georgia Tech can beat the Seminoles in the season finale on December 1.
While this isn’t a battle between Top 25 teams, it is a matchup that has intrigued the college football world down through the years. Although the shine appears to have fallen away from this rivalry it appears to be clawing back into the national discussion.
This year could mark the turnaround. Despite the lack of national implications, this is one of the best rivalry games that falls on Thanksgiving weekend.