Lots of history between Georgia and Missouri, but much will be new

September 3, 2012 

It will be an historic day in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday when the Missouri football team squares off against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Tigers’ first game as a member of the SEC.

It will be just the second meeting ever on the gridiron between the schools, teams that have been playing the sport since the early 1890s. Missouri actually got its start in 1890, two years before Georgia played its first game against Mercer in 1892.

Their only previous meeting came in the 1960 Orange Bowl in Miami, with the Bulldogs claiming a 14-0 win in what Georgia head coach Wally Butts called his team’s worst game of the season. Quarterback Fran Tarkenton accounted for both scores, throwing a 29-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Bill McKinney on the final play of the first quarter and then hitting end Aaron Box on a 33-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter. Georgia safety Charlie Britt was the defensive star of the game with a couple of interceptions, one at the Georgia goal line, and he also had a touchdown-saving tackle on a punt return.

Georgia finished the 1959 season with a 10-1 record and was ranked fifth nationally in the final college football polls. Saturday’s game will be the first of many to come between the Bulldogs and Tigers since Missouri is now a member of the SEC’s Eastern Division and as such will play Georgia annually. That, of course, is subject to change if additional teams are added to the conference, which is sure to happen.

Georgia’s football history to date is certainly more accomplished than Missouri, and when comparing the two the Bulldogs are way out front. The Bulldogs have two national championships to their credit, 1942 and 1980, while Missouri has none. Georgia has 12 SEC championships and six division titles, while the Tigers have 15 conference or division titles (12 in the Big 8, but none since 1969) and three Big 12 North crowns. The Bulldogs’ overall record is 784-400-54, compared to 630-520-52 for Missouri.

In bowl games, Georgia is 26-16-3, while the Tigers are 13-16. Georgia has two Heisman winners, Frankie Sinkwich in 1942 and Herschel Walker in 1982. Missouri has none. The Bulldogs have had 29 consensus All-Americans compared to 11 for Mizzou.

Georgia’s home is Sanford Stadium, capacity 92,746. Missouri’s home is Memorial Stadium/Farout Field (named in honor of long time football coach Don Farout, who was the innovator of the Split-T offense), capacity 71,004.

Isn’t it time to add Vince Dooley Field to Sanford Stadium’s address?

Missouri is adding 6,000 seats to its stadium, which will still make it only the ninth-largest in the SEC.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt and Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel are both in their 12th seasons, with Richt the more successful of the two. His 11-year record is 107-38 compared to 86-54 for Pinkel. Richt played at Miami and was offensive coordinator at Florida State on two national championship squads. Pinkel was an end at Kent State and is one of two head coaches in the SEC that played at that Mid-American Conference school. The other is Alabama’s Nick Saban. Pinkel and Saban were teammates for the Golden Flashes in the early 1970s, and they both served as head coaches at another member of the MAC, Toledo. Saban led the Rockets in 1990, while Pinkel ran the program from 1991-2000.

Former South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz is also a Kent State alum.

Missouri’s foray into the SEC gives the conference three sets of Tigers. Missouri joins LSU and Auburn with that nickname. Georgia is one of two sets of Bulldogs in the SEC, with Mississippi State being the other. Tigers is the most common nickname among Division I schools, with Bulldogs tied for second. There are 11 schools that are Tigers and eight that are Bulldogs. We all know that Georgia’s mascot name is Uga (Russ, who has served in an interim capacity for 23 games, officially becomes Uga IX in ceremonies before the Florida Atlantic game Sept. 15) but probably didn’t know that Missouri’s tiger is named Truman in honor of Missouri-born President Harry Truman.

It’s worth noting that Georgia’s first mascot was a goat that was used in the team’s game against Auburn in 1892. “How ’bout them Goats” just doesn’t sound right. Good decision to change to Bulldogs.

Contact Bobby Pope at bobbypope428@gmail.com

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