Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia played its first football game Jan. 30, 1892, defeating Mercer. A few days later, the Deep South’s oldest rivalry was initiated against Auburn. The Bulldogs and the Tigers have met 121 times since. Seven months later, the University of Oklahoma opened in Oklahoma Territory, and Sooner football came on the scene in 1895.
Georgia and OU have never played. That will change with the start of a new year Jan. 1 when the two-seed Sooners and the three-seed Bulldogs square off during round one of the College Football Playoff in Pasadena, California.
What follows is a backgrounder for the programs’ fans to get to know each other ahead of OU vs Georgia.
OU vs Georgia: 2017 In Brief
OU: Coach Lincoln Riley (34) is 12-1 in his first season. Quality wins include Ohio State, TCU (twice) and Oklahoma State. The Sooners’ only loss was at home to Iowa State. The Sooners run an explosive “air raid” offense which ranks No. 1 in the country, and they feature a selectively effective defense which ranks No. 57 in the nation. Quarterback Baker Mayfield should win the Heisman Trophy.
UGA: Coach Kirby Smart (41) is 12-1 in his second season and 20-6 overall. Quality wins include Notre Dame, Auburn and Mississippi State. The team’s only loss came on the road loss to Auburn in the regular season. The Bulldogs run a pro-style offense ranked No. 37 in the nation, and they run a 3-4 base defense ranked No. 4 in the nation.
The historic tale of the tape
OU: The program features 883 wins, including 46 conference titles, seven national titles, five (soon to be six) Heisman Trophy winners and 77 consensus All-Americans. OU also has 10 “unclaimed” national titles (like that made-up 1945 national title they have up in Stillwater).
UGA: The program has 806 wins, including 15 conference titles, two national titles (1942, 1980), two Heisman winners, 31 consensus All-Americans and three “unclaimed” national titles (like that made-up 1950 national title they have up in Lexington).
OU: Crimson and cream
UGA: Red and black
OU: Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium at Owen Field. “The Palace on the Prairie” opened in 1925 with 16,000 seats. It was recently renovated and expanded with seating for 86,112. It is the 15th-largest college stadium in the US.
UGA: Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs play “Between the Hedges” surrounded by 92,746 seats. Sanford opened in 1929 with 30,000 seats. It is the 10th-largest college stadium in the U.S., and it was the 1996 Olympic soccer venue.
OU: Historic rivalries include Texas (the Red River Rivalry), Nebraska and a one-sided in-state relationship with Oklahoma State University (the Bedlam Game — OU has a 87-18-7 lead in the series).
UGA: Historic rivalries include Auburn (The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry), Florida (The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party), and one-sided in-state relationship with the Georgia Institute of Technology (Clean Old-Fashioned Hate, where UGA is 66-41-5).
OU: The Sooner Schooner, a fully-functional miniature Conestoga wagon pulled by two ponies (who also exist in costume form). The Schooner charges the field after every score.
UGA: Uga X is a white English bulldog of the Seiler family line. An Uga has been on the sidelines of UGA games since the 1956 FSU game when law student Sonny Seiler brought his dog to the game (Trivia: FSU was quarterbacked by Lee Corso). Uga V once tried to take out an Auburn receiver with a crotch lunge. Uga V also portrayed his father, Uga IV, in the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
OU: Benny Owen, Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer, Bob Stoops.
UGA: Wally Butts, Vince Dooley
OU: OU still holds the record for most consecutive wins in college football — 47.
UGA: Number 34. He just ran over two men.
Everyone Wants to Forget
OU: Howard Schnellenberger (5-5-1 in 1995)
UGA: Steve Spurrier. The Gator was 2-2 versus the Dawgs as a player, but 11-1 as a coach.
OU: The Sooners’ second head coach, Vernon Parrington, won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1928.
UGA: Georgia is the oldest public university in the United States, established in 1785.
OU: “I would like to build a university of which the football team would be proud.” — OU President George Lynn Cross, 1951.
UGA: “If I ever get home to Georgia, I’m gonna nail my feet to the ground.” — Lewis Grizzard, former Athens sportswriter and southern humorist.