Brenner: Georgia-Clemson worth the wait in every sense
CLEMSON – The Anchorman sequel announcement was made 15 months ago, and we have to wait for four more before it actually hits theatres.
Those of you who know me personally (or paid attention to the infancy of my Twitter account’s bio) are aware, I quote Anchorman a lot. I’ve seen the original an unhealthy amount of times, so obviously, I’m hungry for the return of Ron Burgundy. Like, you don’t even realize.
Anticipation’s a funny thing. We’re an impatient people, so we let our imaginations out for a long walk. Whether it’s the landmark Jay-Z album or the latest crazy iPhone version or the birth of your first child, you wait and you wait and you wait and you hope and you dream and you wait some more and you pray the real thing’s as good as it’s built up in your head.
Georgia and Clemson announced a rivalry renewed on Sept. 22, 2005. That’s a few weeks short of eight years ago. That’s two presidential terms ago.
And pretty much ever since Mark Richt chucked his hot seat in the wood chipper and dragon-breathing Dabo Swinney became the SEC slayer (‘cept for one particular school, but hey, another story, another day) and Tajh Boyd and Aaron Murray drew direct comparisons to Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees from their private quarterback tutor to the stars … this game mattered.
It mattered so much. In the Upstate, the Lowcountry, in Athens, the south, and college football nation.
How did Clemson-Georgia, College GameDay Edition, most take your breath away? Was it the four times the game was tied? Was it Swinney blistering down The Hill like he was shot out of a cannon? Was it the dueling track meet touchdowns by primetime performers – Todd Gurley’s 75-yard untouched run, and Sammy Watkins’ I-can-top-that 77-yard rumble one play later? Was it the Clemson’s defense revival, the front four playing out of its skulls for about 15 minutes of gametime and sacking Aaron Murray four times? Was it Gurley riding adrenaline and going beast mode for 13 yards a carry … with a freaking strained quad? Was it Tajh Boyd’s nose for the first-down line, the goal line, the line between being good and being elite?
Jeff Davis told me a few weeks ago, if the Tigers couldn’t find it within themselves to grind through the oppressive August heat for two-a-days and turn up for this showdown, “we better check your pulse.”
One day after it all unfolded, team doctors better check Roderick McDowell and Stanton Seckinger and Corey Crawford and C.J. Jones – yes, C.J. Jones, the senior former walk-on who scooped that bizarre loose ball in the end zone and saved the Tigers’ skin – to ensure their heart rate has resumed beating at a normal level.
Oregon can have its 63-point pounding over Nicholls State to start off the year. These season-opening bonanzas are a wild good time … and to be honest, television networks and conference kings are overthinking it with the whole neutral-site kickoffs (Alabama-Virginia Tech in Atlanta, TCU-LSU in Dallas, Oklahoma State-Mississippi State in Houston, Syracuse-Penn State in New York, to name four.)
Trust me on this one: I opened last year with Clemson-Auburn when I was covering the other side, and while the Georgia Dome was rowdy, it’s not even comparable to what y’all saw yesterday.
There ain’t no buzz like a campus buzz, and the town of Clemson brought it yesterday. Brought. It.
That was worth the eight years’ wait.
Clemson 38, Georgia 35 didn’t merely live up to its anticipation. It shattered the realm of imagination.