Alabama-Georgia Gridiron History


While the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia do not play football against the other every year, the games seem to have conference and national implications when they do meet. This time the two schools meet Monday in arguably the biggest of them all–the College Football Playoff national championship game from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.  The game will mark the 68th meeting between the two schools; Alabama leads the series 38-25-4 while averaging 16.8 points per game to Georgia’s 12.1.

The series dates back to 1895 when Georgia defeated Alabama 30-6 in Columbus, Georgia. Alabama earned its first victory over the Bulldogs in a 1904 game in Tuscaloosa with a 16-5 victory. The two schools, between 1895 and 1930, played in six different cities—Athens, Atlanta, Birmingham, Columbus, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa. Interestingly, Georgia was Alabama’s first opponent in the Birmingham Fairgrounds (1905), Cramton Bowl (1922) in Montgomery, and Legion Field (1927) in Birmingham.  Alabama was the home team for 21 of the first 25 games.

Many of the games have been memorable. Joe Namath made his debut against the Bulldogs in 1962, a 35-0 win at Legion Field. Georgia executed a hook-and-ladder play to defeat the Tide in 1965 in Athens by the score of 18-17. Alabama quarterback Jay Barker dueled with Georgia quarterback Eric Zeier in the 1994 game won by the Tide in Tuscaloosa, 29-28, and Georgia kicker Billy Bennett hit a game-winning field in 2002 for Georgia’s first victory in Tuscaloosa, 27-25. The last time the Bulldogs and Tide met in Tuscaloosa, 2007, Matthew Stafford hit Mikey Henderson for a 25-yard touchdown in overtime to lift Georgia to a thrilling 26-23 victory.

Yet arguably the greatest game in the series, and the one with the most at stake for the teams, took place in 2012 during the Southeastern Conference Championship game in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.  Alabama was ranked second in the polls while Georgia was third. The Tide took a 10-7 lead into halftime behind a Jeremy Shelley field goal on the last play of the half. The game appeared to be a tough SEC defensive battle, then the second half unfolded as an offensive display of power from the two behemoths. Georgia took the second half kickoff and marched down the field.   Bulldog running back Todd Gurley ran the ball seven times, including the final three yards to give the Bulldogs a 14-10 lead.  The Tide then held the ball for more than five and a half minutes before calling on Cade Foster to boot a 50-yard field goal, but Georgia’s Cornelius Washington blocked the kick and teammate Alec Ogletree returned the ball 55 yards for a touchdown. Georgia led 21-10. Alabama then drove the field behind the passing of quarterback AJ McCarron and the running of T.J. Yeldon.  Yeldon bulled his way the final 10 yards to the end zone and carried again for the 2-point conversion that pulled Alabama within 21-18.

After Georgia punted on its ensuing drive, Alabama used running backs Eddie Lacy and Yeldon to march to the Georgia one-yard line as the third quarter ended. On the first play of the final period, Lacy covered the final yard that gave the Tide a short-lived 25-21 lead.

During Georgia’s next possession, quarterback Aaron Murray hit receiver Tavarres King for 45 yards and Gurley scored from the 10-yard line to put Georgia back ahead, 28-25. The drive took less than two minutes.

McCarron gave Alabama the lead for good at the 3:15 mark after a 45-yard scoring strike to Amari Cooper. Down 32-28, Georgia summoned the red and black spirits of past gridiron greats and marched back down the field through and over the Tide defense. Murray hit Arthur Lynch for 15 yards, then 23 to King, and again to Lynch for 26. The ball rested at the Alabama eight-yard line as the clock ticked down and the Bulldogs out of timeouts. With nine seconds to play, Murray dropped back looking for the end zone and a victory that would go down as one of the greatest in Georgia history. Instead, a defender tipped Murray’s pass and Chris Conley caught the ball before falling at the five-yard line. As Murray hurried his teammates to the line for another play, the clock struck zero. Alabama escaped and later destroyed Notre Dame for the national championship.

The 68th installment of this great series will take place in the stadium that replaced the Georgia Dome. Odds are that fans on both sides will be breathing heavily and have hearts racing by game’s end, much like the 2012 classic.  Roll Tide and Go Dawgs!


Podcast on Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Courtesy of Michael Barera


Put this in your web browser––then scroll down to the May 1 show once on the site.






Atlanta-Green Bay Playoff History

When the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers meet on Sunday this will be their fourth match up in the playoffs.  This will be the first time meeting in the National Football Conference (NFC) Championship game.  Let’s take a look at the prior three contests, and at the end, you will see a link to the “Fly High” Falcons fight song.  Yes, the Falcons actually have a fight song.

The Falcons and the Packers first met in frigid Lambeau Field in Green Bay during the Wildcard round on December 31, 1995.  Green Bay entered the contest with an 11-5 record and as a 9.5 point favorite.  Atlanta’s record was 9-7.  With a temperature of 30 degrees and a wind chill factor of 25 degrees, Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre threw three touchdown passes, running back Edgar Bennett ran for an eight yard touchdown and Antonio Freeman returned a punt 76 yards for a score.  Atlanta quarterback Jeff George threw two touchdown passes, including a 65 yarder to Eric Metcalf, but also two costly interceptions as the Packers dispatched the Falcons, 37-20.

Atlanta and Green Bay met once again in Lambeau at night on January 4, 2003 in another Wild Card round meeting.  Green Bay came into the game as a 6.5 point favorite, and the temperature at kickoff was a balmy 31 degrees.   The Packers finished 12-4 during the 2002 season while the Falcons stood at 9-6-1.  Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick started his first playoff game and what an impression he made.  Vick threw for 117 yards and rushed for another 64 yards.  He threw one touchdown pass to Shawn Jefferson and committed no turnovers.  Atlanta also scored on a T. J. Duckett six yard run, Artie Ulmer’s one-yard return of a blocked punt, and a 23 yard Jay Feely field goal.  The Packers committed five costly turnovers, including three by Favre, in Atlanta’s 27-7 victory.  This marked the first time Green Bay lost a playoff game at Lambeau Field.

The most recent contest took place in the Georgia Dome on January 15, 2011 in the Divisional round.  Atlanta entered the game as the number 1 seed in the NFC playoffs with a 13-3 record during the 2010 season and as a 1.5 point favorite.  Green Bay made the playoffs as a wildcard entry with a 10-6 record during the regular season.  The story in this game was Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  Rodgers completed 31 of 36 pass attempts for 336 yards and three touchdowns.  He also ran for a score.  The game was basically over at halftime as Green Bay scored 28 second quarter points, including a Tramon Williams 70 yard interception return off of an ill-timed pass from Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan on the last play of the quarter.  Ryan committed three turnovers in the game as Green Bay routed Atlanta 48-21 on their way to an NFL title.

The Packers have a 2-1 record against the Falcons in the playoffs, 1-1 in Lambeau Field and 1-0 in the Georgia Dome.  Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan will square off again Sunday afternoon for the right to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LI in Houston.  This game will mark the last one for the Falcons in the Dome before they move into the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the 2017 season.  Las Vegas oddsmakers currently list Atlanta as a 5 point favorite with an over/under of 60 points.  So expect a lot of scoring in this game.  It’s time to Rise Up Atlanta!  Go Falcons!


As promised, here is a link to the Falcons’ fight song.



Peach Bowl History

Courtesy UserB

Courtesy UserB

Atlanta’s Peach Bowl showcased its first game in 1968 and is the fifth oldest college bowl game behind the Rose Bowl (1902), the Orange Bowl (1935), the Sugar Bowl (1935), and the Cotton Bowl (1937).  The Peach Bowl joined the College Football Playoff (CFP) system in 2014 and is one of only six Bowl games that are eligible to host a national semi-final game or the national championship game.  The Peach Bowl is hosting this year the semi-final game between Alabama and Washington. When it’s not hosting the semi-finals or the championship, the Peach Bowl will host two of the highest ranked teams not in one of the four semi-final slots.  The bowl has come a long way since its meager beginnings.

The Peach Bowl originated as a fund-raiser for the Lions Clubs of Georgia but in its early years struggled with attendance, revenue, and bad weather.  The first three games (1968-1970) took place at Georgia Tech’s Grant Field and moved to Fulton County Stadium for the 1971-1992 games.  Since 1993 the Georgia Dome has been home to the Peach Bowl.  The game will move into the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium after the 2017 college football season when the Peach Bowl will host the CFP national championship game.

In a December 14, 2015 article by Corey Clark in the Tallahassee Democrat, Clark spoke with Peach Bowl President and CEO Gary Stokan.  Stokan stated that the bowl game’s Executive Director Dick Bestwick approached the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce after the 1985 game.  Bestwick told officials there that if Atlanta’s business leaders did not support the game through ticket purchases and sponsorships, the bowl would not survive.

With only 18 bowl games in existence at that time, the loss of the Peach Bowl would be a loss to the economic viability and reputation of the city, according to Stokan.  Ron Allen, head of the chamber and CEO of Delta Airlines agreed to support the Peach Bowl and gave a check to Bestwick for $100,000 to put the game on a sound financial foundation.  However, the weather still caused problems for the game until it moved into the Georgia Dome.

After the move to the Georgia Dome, Stokan and Peach Bowl officials brokered an agreement between the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) to play one another in the game and attendance improved.  Beginning with the 1997 game, Chick-fil-A, Inc. became the major sponsor and the bowl game became known as the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.  With the help of Chick-fil-A’s marketing expertise, the game became a sell out every year from 1997-2013.  From 2006-2013, the game shortened its name to the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

However, as part of the agreement with the CFP system, the game reverted back to its original Peach Bowl moniker.  CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock noted that the other bowls in the system—Rose, Cotton, Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta—all carried singular names without a corporate sponsor in the title and therefore, wanted all bowl names to be parallel.  In order to be compliant with the CFP mandate, the Atlanta game changed its name.

From a fund raiser for the Lions Clubs of Georgia to the College Football Playoff system, the Peach Bowl has indeed come a very long way.  Much credit must go to Gary Stokan and his staff and to Chick-fil-A, Inc.

Below are the Peach Bowl records for the current SEC and ACC schools:

SEC                                                                             ACC

Alabama                      0-0                                           Boston College             0-0

Arkansas                     0-0                                           Clemson                         3-5

Auburn                        4-1                                            Duke                               0-1

Florida                         0-2                                           Florida State                 2-2

Georgia                       3-2                                            Georgia Tech                 0-4

Kentucky                    1-1                                             Miami                             2-1

LSU                             5-1                                             North Carolina             2-3

Mississippi                 1-1                                            NC State                        4-3

Miss. State                  1-2                                            Pittsburgh                     0-0

Missouri                      0-0                                           Syracuse                        1-0

South Carolina            0-2                                          Virginia                         2-2

Tennessee                    1-4                                           Virginia Tech                2-2

Texas A&M                  1-0                                           Wake Forest                 0-0

Vanderbilt                   0-0-1