Over the last two seasons, the Georgia Bulldogs have been just fine in road games, unless you put a rabid fanbase in the stands. But when you do that, they haven’t done much of anything.
UGA has built itself a fairly favorable regular-season schedule. They play four or so away games and play their archrival, Florida, at a neutral site. Most of their big-name nonconference opponents also play Georgia in a neutral stadium, like Boise State two years ago or the annual bowl game.
However, Georgia will head to Clemson tonight for a season-opener in one of the most hostile environments in the Southeast, and while it’s a very small sample size, the Dawgs haven’t had much recent success in big road games.
Hear me out now, Georgia fans. You’re 7-1 in road games over the last two years, and that’s not bad. Those seven wins were at Missouri, Kentucky and Auburn in 2012, and at Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech in 2011. Missouri might have been the wildest atmosphere, but remember that the Tigers did a lot of trash-talking the week before that duel. Georgia was pissed, and they played like it.
Their one road loss, if you recall, was a nasty 35-7 blowout at the hands of South Carolina last year — Georgia’s only regular-season loss in 2012. The rabid fans and an aggressive Gamecocks team jumped out to a huge 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never gave the Dawgs a chance.
And that’s exactly what will happen tonight if Georgia starts slowly again.
I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face — Death Valley in Clemson during a night game is every bit as daunting as Death Valley at LSU or any other SEC stadium. It’s really hard for opposing teams to win there, and it’s very possible Clemson will win tonight. The Tigers have to be excited about Georgia’s lack of tough road tests in the Aaron Murray era, and if the Bulldogs get behind early, they could suffer the same fate as a year ago in Columbia.
Perhaps Murray’s experience will help the Dawgs overcome Clemson tonight. This writer can hope that’s true, at least, because I can’t pull myself to root for Clemson in anything.