We've talked about which rival Georgia fans most enjoy beating and which one they most hate losing to; we've talked about which rival is the biggest key to a dream season, which one has the most obnoxious fans, and which one harbors the longest-simmering bad blood with the Dawgs. For the most part, all of the teams we've talked about are annual rivals of the Dawgs, or at least someone we've played pretty recently.
But when you've played organized football for nearly 120 years, you've not only had time to build a bunch of intense rivalries, you've had time to see some of them come and go. And just because Georgia hasn't played a given team in 10 years, 20 years or even longer doesn't mean they weren't white-hot in their day.
So here's one last question in our quest for Georgia's biggest rival: Which dormant Georgia rivalry most needs to be re-ignited?
Some of the rivalries nominated below were revived fairly recently, others are positively ancient by comparison. But they all have one thing in common: Georgia had pretty solid reason to hate the hell out of 'em at one point or another. Maybe, just maybe, that animosity rises to a level that merits a revival of the rivalry. Think of it this way: If Georgia could put one historic rival on the sked for a series of home-and-homes over the next, oh, six or eight years, who would you want it to be?
The candidates, in order of "length of hiatus":
Alabama. Last meeting, 2008. The Dawgs already play Alabama as part of their regular SEC West rotation; with Nick Saban at the helm, you could make the case that voluntarily putting the Tide on the annual schedule for years at a time amounts to a suicide pact (Saban's squad is 46-5 over the past three years). But Georgia needs to win some pride back after the blowout they suffered on the infamous "Blackout Saturday" in Athens three years ago. And beating Alabama leads to great things -- the last four non-Bama national champions got to the BCS National Championship Game with help from wins over the Tide. (Not to mention Georgia's win in the "man enough" game in 2002, which arguably propelled them to their 13-1 dream season.)
Ole Miss. Last meeting, 2007. The Rebels are part of Georgia's West Division rotation, too, so it's not like we don't see them on a regular basis. But the Rebs were annual rivals when SEC teams had two permanent opponents out of the other division rather than just one, and the Georgia-Ole Miss game was an annual occurrence from 1966 to 2002. Which meant that once every November for 37 years, you could witness thousands of Georgia girls and thousands of Ole Miss girls in the same place for an entire weekend. That alone makes this rivalry worth reviving.
Clemson. Last meeting, 2003. The Dawgs and Tigers have met 62 times, and played all but a couple of seasons from 1962 to 1987. The rivalry peaked late, as the back-to-back titles Georgia and Clemson won in 1980 and '81 sparked a series of close, high-stakes game that continued for almost a decade. Some old-school Dawg fans still claim Clemson as their most hated rival based on that stretch alone.
Pittsburgh. Last meeting, 1982. Wait -- how can you call this a heated rivalry when the two teams have only played each other four times? Simple: One, because the Dawgs have never beaten the Panthers; and two, because the most recent of those meetings (1982) involved Georgia being robbed of a national title by a last-minute Dan Marino touchdown pass. The time before that, Georgia may have missed out on a national title as well, as the fifth-ranked Dawgs lost to the top-ranked Panthers in the '77 Sugar Bowl.
North Carolina. Last meeting, 1971. Georgia beat UNC in the 1947 Sugar Bowl and played them in the subsequent regular season, kicking off a stretch in which the two teams would face off in nine of ten regular seasons. The stakes in such a rivalry might be lessened by the fact that the NCAA appears to be poised to drop the hammer on the Tar Heels' football program, but a few regular meetings with a relatively close geographical rival might pay some dividends on the recruiting trail.
It's tough to pass up a chance to have a herd of Ole Miss girls in town every other year, but I'm gonna go with Clemson here.
The rivalry goes back a long way, there are frequent recruiting battles at stake, and there's still a whole lot more hate simmering between these two fan bases than Georgia's newer fans might realize. And with an all-time series record of 41-17-4, Georgia actually has an even better record against Clemson than they do against Georgia Tech, meaning that a revival of the series could solidify the Dawgs' ownership of two ACC teams.