Georgia and Georgia Tech’s beef spans football, war, and apples

– What do World War I,
apples, and a computer
hacker have in common?
They’re all key parts of
the very, very old beef
between Georgia and Georgia Tech.
The Georgia-Georgia Tech football game,
better known as Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate,
has been played well over 100 times.
Naturally, it’s had lots
of great and memorable
football moments, from
Buck Belue leading Georgia
to a 20 point comeback win in 1978,
to Harrison Butker hitting
a 53 yard field goal
to send the game to overtime
where Georgia Tech won in 2014.
These teams have ruined
seasons for one another.
Won when they weren’t supposed
to and gotten coaches fired.
But this Beef History is going to focus on
the things outside of the games,
or at least adjacent to them,
that make this rivalry historic.
The first time these two teams
were set to play each other,
people were happy to put
aside the stress of the world
and just enjoy a football game.
I mean, yeah there were
rumors that Georgia Tech
was using players that
weren’t bonafide students,
but this was 1893 and everyone
was feeling a little weird.
The Supreme Court had
just ruled that tomatoes
were legally vegetables.
Of course, then Georgia
Tech won that game in Athens
and well, the Georgia fans
remembered those rumors,
especially when it came
to player slash coach
Leonard Wood, who was
a doctor in the Army…
and 33 years old.
They also remembered
that one of the officials
was the brother of a Georgia Tech trainer,
who was also playing for the team.
So some of them started this chant.
Well, well, well, who can tell,
the Tech’s umpire has cheated like blank.
You weren’t allowed to
say hell in the newspaper
in 1893, I guess.
Anyways, the chant was the
comparatively nice part.
Some Georgia fans started
poking at the Tech players
with their canes.
Others threw rocks at their
new friends from Atlanta.
One Bulldog player
supposedly pulled a knife.
With the benefit of hindsight,
we know that those Georgia
fans totally overreacted.
According to official school records,
Wood had indeed enrolled at Georgia Tech-
on November 2nd, two
days before this game.
Oh, and he left the
school that same month.
Again, this was all in
the first game Georgia
and Georgia Tech had
played against one another.
It was the 6th football game
they’d ever played combined.
Georgia then went 5-0-1 in the next
six games in the series.
If you think this calmed their hatred,
let me tell you about the
Georgia-Clemson game in 1903.
I promise, it’s relevant.
That game in Athens was the
season opener for both teams,
and Clemson won the game easily, 29-0.
Georgia’s captain was not
a sore loser, however.
In fact, he wanted to see
Clemson do even better
against their next opponent,
so he made them an offer.
For every point they scored over 29,
Georgia would buy Clemson
a bushel of apples.
Apparently eating apples
was the thing you did
for fun at Clemson in 1903.
If you guessed that
Clemson’s next opponent
was Georgia Tech, good job.
And a motivated Clemson
really took it to Tech,
winning 73-0 and
earning 44 bushels of apples
in the process.
There was however, an unexpected
downside to this arrangement.
Georgia Tech was so impressed
by the whooping they received,
that they decided to hire
Clemson’s coach, John Heisman.
At the time, Tech hadn’t
done much as a program,
with 10 wins,
five ties and 32 losses
in program history.
Heisman changed that,
making the Jackets much more
competitive year to year and winning the
National Championship in 1917,
with a team many considered to be
one of the greatest of all time.
Oh yeah, that’s also how
this rivalry got some
serious parade beef.
It’s 1919, just before a baseball game
between the two schools.
In the spirit of post-war happiness,
Georgia students put together
a couple of parade floats.
The first was a tank with
“Argonne” written on the side.
The second was a car,
in Georgia Tech colors
and driven by someone
in Georgia Tech gear,
and that car had a message on it too.
“Georgia in France, Tech in Atlanta.”
This made Tech mad, really mad.
And for those of you who aren’t
huge World War I buffs,
I’ll explain why.
Georgia didn’t field a
football team in 1917
or 1918, due to student
participation in the war effort.
According to this note from the class of 1919,
all but one of them had served in
either the Army or the Navy,
and many of them were part
of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive,
in 1918, the deadliest
battle in American history.
Georgia Tech, on the other hand,
actually saw enrollment grow to record
levels during the war.
That was in part due to
the federal government
relying on Tech as a
military training ground,
including a training program for pilots
and in 1918, an ROTC
program that was mandatory
for freshman and sophomores.
That also meant there were
plenty of students on campus
available to play football.
So Tech continued its
team during the war,
including that 1917 championship squad.
You can see why Georgia Tech
might find a parade float
that more or less called
them cowards insulting.
So insulting that they decided nope,
they were done playing Georgia in sports.
And for five years, they didn’t.
It was another four years
after that before they were
willing to play Georgia in football again.
But a form of revenge was waiting.
The 1927 Georgia Bulldogs,
known as the Dream and Wonder team,
tore through the first nine
games on their schedule.
Georgia Tech was coming
off a bad 1926 season,
where they went four and five.
And though they were
improved, most didn’t think
they were on Georgia’s level.
Still, 40,000 fans packed
a very rainy Grant Field
in Atlanta, to watch what they thought
would be a game for the history books.
And that is what they got, as
Tech upset Georgia 12-0.
But beyond the final score,
there were two pieces of trickery
by Georgia Tech Coach Bill Alexander,
that were just perfect beef
additions to this rivalry.
First, remember all that rain and mud?
In the first half, Alexander
decided to mostly avoid it.
Whenever Georgia Tech
got the ball on offense,
he punted – on first down.
This was not merely to avoid turnovers
and protect field
position, it was a setup.
Late in the second quarter,
Warner Mizell took the snap on first down.
Georgia players expected
him to punt the ball,
but this time, he threw it,
to quarterback Bob Durant,
for the first touchdown of the game.
Tech scored again in the second half,
though they wouldn’t
need it since the defense
never got scored on.
And that brings us to act of
subterfuge number two,
which was a longer play by Alexander.
Three weeks before this, against LSU,
Georgia Tech’s second
string started the game.
They did the same thing against
their next two opponents
because this was all part of
The Plan,
a tactic by Alexander to rest his starters
as much as he could
before the Georgia game
and give them plenty of time to prepare
for the Dawgs, and the Dawgs in particular.
This man devoted an entire
month to ruining a rival season.
We need that kind of
dedicated spite from coaches
more today, if you ask me.
And the shenanigans kept going from there.
There was the near riot the cops
could barely control in 1930.
There were the two Georgia Tech
victories in 1943 and 1944,
that Georgia doesn’t count
in the official series record
because they thought Tech
had an unfair advantage,
thanks to World War II.
There was the coal strike,
rumoredly encouraged by
Georgia fans to keep
Georgia Tech from taking
the train to Athens for the game in 1946.
Tech wound up chartering a plane
to get around that problem.
There was the time in the 50’s,
where some Georgia Tech
students reportedly tried
to chop down the chapel
bell tower in Athens
in the middle of the night.
But then the Yellow
Jackets made a big, bold,
future changing decision.
At an SEC meeting in 1964,
Georgia Tech announced they were leaving
the conference they’d co-founded
and going independent.
They said they had no choice
because they didn’t like
recruiting and scholarship
practices within the conference.
Though there were some financial
advantages to leaving too.
The Dawgs weren’t exactly
thrilled about this.
Their AD said, “something will be gone
“from the Georgia-Georgia Tech series now,
“in a strictly football sense.”
And he was kind of right.
At the time Tech left the SEC,
their record against
Georgie was just about even.
From their departure through 2017,
they went 14 and 40 versus the Dogs.
In 19 years as an independent program,
the Jackets went to six bowl games.
That’s half as many as they’d gone to
in their last 19 seasons with the SEC.
Tech tried to un-ring this bell in 1977
when they petitioned to
return to the conference.
But the remaining members voted
unanimously against expansion.
The Yellow Jackets wound
up going to the ACC instead
and they did take home a
National Championship in 1990.
But you don’t need to share
a conference to share beef.
Georgia-Georgia Tech can
still inspire the visiting team
to put the home team’s landscaping
in their mouths when they win.
Georgia’s still the school
that appears in both
of Tech’s fight songs, and
not all that respectfully.
Georgia’s still the team that went for
a totally unnecessary
touchdown on fourth and goal
late in the 1993 game, and got it,
prompting a long, messy brawl.
This is still the game that
inspired one Tech student
to hack into the University
of Georgia’s master calendar,
and put “Get Ass Kicked by
GT” for the day of this game.
Granted, he wound up
sitting in an Athens jail
on Christmas Eve, facing
felony charges for that,
though eventually they
wound up getting dropped.
Rivalry beef should be serious,
but not you know, prison serious.

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