If you attended Clemson or played for the Tigers and live in the state of Georgia, you understand how tough it is wearing your orange there. Georgia Bulldog fans are everywhere.
Even in Atlanta, which is the home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, they outnumber their in-state rival. So, you can only image what life is like this year for those Tigers who are from the state of Georgia.
Clemson and Georgia, which there is no love lost between the two, will open the 2021 football season on Sept. 4 in Charlotte. In all, 25 players from the state of Georgia are on Clemson’s 2021 roster, including walk-ons.
“From the town I come from, a lot of people are Georgia fans,” Clemson tight end Davis Allen said earlier this year. “A lot of people back home, they’re talking about the game already.”
Davis is from Calhoun, Ga., which also happens to be the home of linebacker Baylon Spector and his brother, wide receiver Brannon Spector.
The Clemson-Georgia series is as natural of a rivalry that there is in college football. The two schools are separated by 73 miles. They recruit the same players. They have former high school teammates going against one another.
It is a rivalry that flies under the radar in college football because they do not play every year.
“I wish they played every year. I’d like to see it be the first game,” former Clemson great Homer Jordan said.
When Jordan was quarterbacking the Tigers in the early 1980s, Clemson played Georgia every year. In fact, the two played every season but two from 1962-’87. When the SEC added an extra conference game in 1988, Clemson fell off the Bulldogs’ schedule as a yearly opponent.
Since 1990, the two longtime rivals have met just eight times. The last meeting happened in 2014.
This year’s game will add even more spice to the rivalry. Clemson and Georgia are both projected as top 5 teams, and some believe this could be the biggest game of the regular season in college football.
For those from the state of Georgia, it means a whole lot more.
“Clemson needs to win because I have been running my mouth a whole lot. I may have to move,” Jordan said while laughing. “It is all about Georgia down there. I have been poking at them a little bit. We let them know we are playing the YMCA in the first game.”
As for the current players like Allen, “It will be fun, for sure, and I won’t take it for granted. But at the same time, it’s just another game. That’s how I need to approach it. But yeah, it should be fun.”
It should be a lot of fun.