ACC/SEC Rivalries, Part III: The Ones That Actually Exist
Thus far in my three-part look at the ACC and the SEC, we have looked at games that should happen and games that are actually happening in the next four months (heck, within the next 115 days). So as not to typecast myself as the ACC guy on the SEC blog (I explained my thoughts on this already), this will be the last time I mention the inferior, oddly Northern-growing, football conference as a whole for a little while. In the meantime, I promised you people a breakdown of the rivalries and its too early in my DudeYouCrazy tenure to let you people down.
Here’s how it’s gonna go: we have four (yes, Louisville/Kentucky counts because I need to distinguish the ACC from the Sun Belt in competitiveness) state rivalries to break down. UL/UK qualifies a year early on the basis that Kentucky would’ve joined Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina in blocking their ACC in-state rival’s entry to the SEC. I’ll throw down the historical significance, the trends over the last decade, and pray that people jump into the comments and inform me about things I didn’t know.
1) The Governer’s Cup: Kentucky/Louisville (all-time Kentucky 14, Louisville 11, L10 Louisville 6-4)
I was shocked to see that these two have only been playing annually since 1994. Prior to that, the rivalry took a 70 (SEVENTY!) year break, after Kentucky started the series 6-0, at which point the Presidents of the U.S. were Taft, Wilson, and Harding. For the non-math majors here, Louisville leads the modern series 11-8, which I don’t find statistically significant.
Going forward, this appears to be Louisville’s series to lose. Charlie Strong famously turned down over $4 million from Tennessee in their hilarious coaching search, Teddy Bridgewater is a Heisman candidate, and Louisville really should finish this season undefeated (click that link, its fantastic). There’s a little historical significance outside of Kentucky (bear with me, we’ll get through this together), as former UL (and Miami. and Oklahoma. and FAU) coach Howard Schnellenberger played his college ball under Bear Bryant at Kentucky. He was instrumental in the series’ renaissance in the 90’s.
Best game: Steve Kragthorpe inherited Bobby Petrino’s superb Louisville team from the mid-2ooo’s and promptly drove them straight into the ground. In 2007, before we knew this would transpire, Louisville went to Lexington sporting a 2-0 record and #9 national ranking. The Rich Brooks/Andre Woodson Wildcats took care of the Cards in OT, 40-34 in the same year that they got as high as #8 in the polls and beat then-No. 1-and-still-eventually-national-champ LSU.
These schools have also taken the last two basketball national championships and have a slight history in that sport. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.
2) Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate: Georgia/Georgia Tech (all-time UGA 62-40-5; L10 UGA 9-1)
The following words are brought to you by absolutely
NO traces of bias the rest of this section will be completely biased: I don’t see how Georgia Tech can turn the tables in this rivalry anytime in the foreseeable future. The recruiting advantage of being located in Atlanta is negated by Tech being so…damn…nerdy. They are reaching out to the North (non-sequitur: their photoshopping skills are even lousier than DudeYouCrazy’s MS Paint skills), where people don’t know this ugly truth, they run an effective 1960’s offense, and they had exactly ZERO players drafted last month.
Going forward, its even more bleak for them. Their recruiting backyard is overlapped by (not limited to) Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. What do those schools have that Tech doesn’t? (Rhetorical, I’m not doing all the work for you here).
Two additional things stand out to me from the annals of this rivalry:
– Tech didn’t stop playing football during World War 1, which Georgia fans mocked. Dawgs 1, America 1, Tech 0. Said another way, Tech = CommuNaziZombieRobots- (see below, thanks Andrew for employing the Paint skills which I just finished crapping on), before such a thing existed (helluva engineer, indeed).
– They added “To Hell With Georgia” to their fight song. Whereas the name Georgia Tech implies some affiliation with the 4th sovereign state, I take this as a direct affront to my Georgia citizenship and will thus credit any evidence of global warming felt in the state of Georgia this summer to Tech. Thanks in advance for my high A/C bills, jerks.
3) The Palmetto Bowl: South Carolina/Clemson (all-time Clemson 65-41-4, L10 5-5)
Although this required the lowest amount of research of these four rivalries, I will say that Wikipedia’s entry on this series is far more comprehensive than any of the others. Off the top of my head, the following events make this rivalry a lot of fun.
– 1961: The Prank- a better account is found here, but the South Carolina chapter of Sigma Nu, through connections with a local high school who wore orange, took the field as Clemson’s players to ‘Roll that Tiger’ and mocked their warm-up routine. Epic.
– 2004: The Brawl- perhaps best set to Jailhouse Rock , this fight led to both teams forgoing postseason play, state trooper involvement, and, most unfortunate of all, the retirement of Lou Holtz, which led to an unfortunate (and ongoing) career as an ESPN analyst.
– 2011: The Dabo Rant– “Carolina is in Chapel Hill, and USC is in California”. For this reason and this reason only, Clemson is my second-favorite ACC team. Clemson lost the three games prior to this, and has since lost the next one at home, which ties the longest S.C. winning streak in the history of this rivalry.
Both programs are trending upward, and this year’s matchup should again pit two 10-win teams.
4) (No Catchy Nickname): Florida/Florida State (all-time Florida 34-21-2, L10 Florida 7-3)
A quick gander at Florida State’s schedule tells me that their season comes down to three road games: Labor Day at Pitt, Oct. 19 at Clemson, and the closer at Florida. I’m high on this year’s Seminoles, as the losses of Bjorn Werner and Cornelius ‘Tank’ Carradine (best first name-nickname in recent sports history) are mitigated by some sick recruiting efforts in recent years on the D-line. I’m still laughing at the Bills for making E.J. Manuel the first QB selected in the draft, because I honestly never saw him as a difference maker in college. Insert Jameis Winston, a redshirt freshman who could, COULD be the next RG3. His recruiting video is second only to Noel Devine in the most insane things I’ve ever seen someone do on a football field.
Florida is a bit of an enigma to me. Big games they won, such as LSU, South Carolina, and yes, Florida State, didn’t feel like games they really should have won (and I realize they beat SC by 33 points). Georgia let them hang around, and Louisville embarrassed them. I can see them finishing anywhere from 7-5 to 11-1, but am just never willing to get very bullish about teams that lean so heavily on one side of the ball, as the Gators do with their D.
The mid 1990’s were the heyday of this rivalry, obviously, and there’s really no reason to believe both programs will simultaneously be on that level again. The two games from the 1994 season, The Choke at Doak and the Sugar Bowl rematch, are two games that I cannot watch enough on Fox Sports South or ESPN Classic. Just simply freakish football.
Two three four things from that YouTube video of the Choke at Doak that stand out to me)
1) FSU’s judicious use of the horse-collar tackle. They simply don’t get Fred Taylor off the field without it.
2) Danny Kanell zone read TD? Danny Kanell zone read TD.
3) Starter apparel in the mid-1990’s when the camera goes to the sidelines. 90’s clothing choices in general. Terrific.
4) I know there’s an undefeated season on the line, but Kanell threw for over 300 second-half yards and the Noles marched all over the Gators for those four 4th-quarter touchdowns. No short fields, man drives. How does Bobby Bowden not go for two and the win?
It could be Memorial Day weekend calling my name, or it could be the fact that SC/Clemson and Old-Fashioned Hate are more compelling due to the respective insanity of the fanbases involved, and it could just be that I don’t really want to talk about Florida, but I’m going to call it a day right there.
Giving you the business,
Follow @Chad_Floyd on Twitter for incoherent babbling and sports talk.