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Requiem for a Conference Affiliation

First off, welcome to McKinley, my freshman year roommate and buddy ever since. He's posted an elite tailgating guide for young alumni. You'll notice his posts have a pretty different "tone" than mine; hopefully the diversity will improve IDWT.

Kyle King had a small mention of GT in a recent post, the gist of which was "Tech considers UGA its sole main rival, rather than one of many." This is admittedly true, and got me thinking.

Although obviously one big rival is better than none (and not all teams have any), Georgia Tech used to have several heated rivalries, which have mostly died out. When/Why? Because in 1963 Georgia Tech left the Southeastern Conference, and because in 1978 the Institute affiliated with the Atlantic Coast Conference.

(And now I'll digress a moment to explain why Georgia Tech left the SEC, because most of the crap on the Internet about it is just that: crap. The highly condensed version is, Bobby Dodd removed us from the conference because (1) he thought we could be a successfuk independent, like Notre Dame, and (2) because the SEC had imposed scholarship limitations. Most coaches didn't care about the scholly limits, but Dodd refused to remove injured or out-of-eligibility players from scholarship, as he insisted the boys continue their education (he never graduated from the University of Tennessee, and wanted to see his players graduate). A few years later Tech tried to rejoin the SEC but Bear Bryant was unwilling to convince the Bama president to vote in favor of Tech. After this rebuff, Tech joined the ACC.)

Within the SEC, Tech had any number of rivals. We hated Auburn, they hated us. We hated Bama, they hated us (we're even in their fight song). Tennessee. Georgia (obviously). Vandy and Florida were good series. And the schools further west (e.g. Ole Miss, LSU) hated us because we never wanted to play there. In fact, Tech has never played in Oxford, MS (but will for the first time in 2011. Grove 'gating, here I come!)

After leaving the Southeastern Conference, which Georgia Tech helped found, Tech kept up the series with many schools for a good while. As an independent, Tech could pick and choose a full season's worth of games, typically heavy with SEC teams.

After joining the ACC however, playing a full conference slate along with several SEC games each year was impossible, especially if Tech wanted to ever schedule a cupcake or a good cross-sectional matchup.

Therefore, our old rivalries had to die. Why haven't we developed any strong ACC rivals? There are several reasons, in my opinion.
  1. History. Although Tech had played most ACC teams before joining the conference, there wasn't enough history. Familiarity breeds contempt, and the programs were simply unfamiliar.
    Also, with most of Georgia Tech's old SEC rivals, there were cool stories about them; i.e. the Auburn students greasing the tracks in 1892 so that Tech's players had to walk back to town. With new opponents, there's just no cool old stuff.
  2. Proximity. SEC schools were (and still are) much closer to Tech, on average, than ACC schools. The closer an away game, the more fans will go, the better the gameday atmosphere will be.
  3. Attitude. The ACC was a basketball conference. Still is to an extent, and the fans of many ACC schools don't care much about football. Overall, the conference's fans lack the passion for the Great Southern Game which you see from SEC fans. Without fans getting rowdy, rivalries tend not to grow.
  4. Quality of Football. Fans tend to hate their opponents more when they're successful; no one wants to piss on a perennial underdog. And the ACC has not seen nearly the historic success of the SEC. The only teams to have won a national championship while in the ACC are Maryland in 1953, Clemson in '81, Georgia Tech in '90, and Florida State in '93 and '99. I have no clue how many SEC members won titles, but I know it's damn high.
Even based on these criteria, you'd think that Clemson would be a big-time rival. Honestly, I don't know why it's not a bigger rival in the eyes of fans. Certainly playing the Tigers is always big for the team itself, and those ball games tend to run pretty close. I feel that if we or Clemson got on a hot streak (i.e. several years of ACC championship contention, with an actual championship or two in there), the series might blow up a bit in the eyes of fans. One problem is that Tiger fans put about as much effort into hating USC as Tech fans put into hating Georgia.

So, in conclusion, I think it's a shame we had to lose a bunch of good rivals. I'm not upset we're not in the SEC, but I would like to see our school develop some passion in its ACC rivalries so that football season can be all the more exciting.

I think a lot of GT people, the old gaurd especially, don't want to acknowledge Clemson as a rival because for so long they were our personal ragdoll.

Every since I have been going to games, I have viewed those jean short wearing, thug, redneck pieces of shit Noles as a rival. Now that we have a full conference, that too will die. Damn I hate that stupid fight song. I hate it so much that I want to kick the face in of every Braves fan when they do it.

I digress, I actually enjoy the lack of true ACC rivals. I think it shows a bit of class that one day out of the year, we will go head ot head as fans an opposing ACC team; but every other day, the common bond of being ACC joins friends, professionals, etc. You can't say that about UF, UGA, and Auburn. But then again, most lawn contractors only need one or two lawnmowers per job. Since most Mexicans can fill an SEC grad job, they probably rarely intermingle.

As a Clemson fan, I do consider G. Tech to be Clemson's second rival these days after USC, especially since the Tigers don't play Georgia on any consistent basis.

I wouldn't call it a heated, fan hating rival. I like Georgia Tech people, and hope they win when they don't play Clemson, but I always circle the calendar for when the Tigers play the Jackets. The series has had what? 9 3pt. differences in outcomes in the past 11 years?

As far as exciting games goes, I can't imagine a better series in the nation than Clemson and Tech. See y'all in October in the Valley!

I'm still amazed at the residual hate that exists between a lot of the GaTech and Alabama fanbases. Every now and then I'll hear people bash the shit out of GT and it makes no sense to me. We've played each other only a handful of time in the past few decades. Craziness.

Anyway, you can bet your ass I cheered for you guys to be Auburn and will be cheering you on against the Irish in a few weeks.

But yes, when we play you guys in a few years, we will be looking to "...send the Yellowjackets to a watery grave."

Damn just bitter cause noles own the acc. fl st 21- gt 15 just face it you gt fucks will always be a joke dont talk shit when your team fuckin sucks year after year after year NOBODY takes gt football serious except you dumb fucks that waste your time watching a irrelevant team have fun wasting your life and braves will keep doing fight song just a reminder that fsu owns atlanta and gt is pathetic

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