Georgia and Clemson are scheduled to renew their rivalry in 2024, and then four times over the five seasons from 2029-33, but that isn’t enough for Dabo Swinney‘s liking. The Clemson head coach would like to see his charges play Georgia every year, and you can tell that because he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “We should play Georgia every year if it was up to me. We’re 80 miles, and they need a game, we need a game. We had to travel to Texas A&M last year, when we could have gone 80 miles.”
“For years and years and years, Clemson and Georgia played every year, and somewhere along the line that went away,” Swinney said, which is only partially true. The Tigers and Bulldogs first met in 1897 and have played 63 times in the 121 years since. But from 1962 through 1995, Georgia and Clemson did traverse the 79 winding miles between the schools on a more-or-less annual basis. (Georgia holds a 42-18-4 lead.)
The schools played home-and-homes in 1998-99, 2002-03 and 2013-14 since the expansion of the SEC made out-of-conference scheduling more difficult for Georgia. You probably remember the 2013 game, when a No. 8-ranked Tigers club knocked off No. 5 Georgia 38-35 in Death Valley, a win that became a sign of things to come in the Swinney Dynasty.
Swinney is right, though, that it’s a shame the two sides can’t play right now. Outside of 1980-81 — when Georgia won the national title in ’80 and Clemson in ’81 — the schools have never been as good simultaneously as they are right now; Clemson is 55-4 with four ACC championships, four College Football Playoff appearances and two national titles over its past four seasons, while Georgia is 24-5 with two SEC East crowns, one SEC championship, one College Football Playoff appearance and two New Year’s Six games over its past two. And we have to wait five full seasons to see them play.
“It’s a tough game because they are one of the best teams in the country, but it’s great game for the fans, and we have to play people. I’d just as soon play them than have to go all the way somewhere else to get a game.”
In the meantime, Clemson hosts Texas A&M to open this season and has three dates with Notre Dame before it meets Georgia in Atlanta to open the 2024 campaign, in addition to its annual capper against South Carolina. Georgia hosts Notre Dame on Sept. 21 and will meet Virginia (2020) and Oregon (2022) in pseudo-home games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium before seeing Clemson again.