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August 24, 2009

A Pursuit for Two More Wins

I posted more than three months ago how it appears the University of Georgia football program should be credited with 725 victories in its history instead of the currently recognized 723 wins. As I mentioned then, Georgia hosted and defeated the "Olympians," an athletic club team from Atlanta made up of former college football players, to open both the 1908 and 1909 seasons.
Currently, official records indicate Georgia began the 1908 campaign on October 10 with a win over Dahlonega and 1909 with a tie against Citadel on October 9. However, research shows Georgia actually defeated the Olympians 29 to 5 on October 3, 1908, and 5 to 0 on October 2, 1909--both contests played exactly a week prior to what is currently on record as the 1908 and 1909 season-opening games.
I found more on the 1908 game versus the Olympians courtesy of the October 5, 1908 edition of The Red and Black. Some interesting details from the game: A whopping 300 spectators were in attendance at Athens' Herty Field, the game time was 40 minutes in length--two 20-minute halves, and Georgia's captain and starting right tackle Herman DeLaPerriere led all players with two touchdowns, scoring on 4- and 5-yard runs.
**Amusingly, it was DeLaPerriere in the game prior to this (a 6-0 win over Auburn in the 1907 season finale) who, according to author John Stegeman, drank alcohol from a flask during halftime and promptly returned the second-half kickoff "running like a crazed Indian."
For the argument the two games are not considered since they were played against a "club" team, Georgia faced "athletic clubs" from Savannah, Augusta, and Atlanta six times from 1893 to 1906. All six games are recognized by UGA and the NCAA. In addition, in November 1909, The Atlanta Constitution printed game results for southern football teams of interest through the month of October. Listed as Georgia's first game was its 5-0 win over the Olympians; it appears then the newspaper acknowledged at least one of the victories in question. Personally, I believe the two games are not accounted for simply because of an oversight made decades ago. In the early days of college football record-keeping, many mistakes were made in game results, dates, sites, etc. This is yet another example.
Currently, the Bulldogs are 11th in all-time victories in Division I-A/FBS football history...
10. Southern Cal, 766
11. Georgia, 723
12. LSU, 700

...and 13th in winning percentage.
12. Florida St., .671
13. Georgia, .646
14. LSU, .640

Adding two additional wins to Georgia's all-time record would not have much impact, raising its winning percentage from .646 to only .647 and still 41 victories behind 10th-place USC. However, for anyone interested, two more wins COULD make a difference years, likely decades, from now.
Not long ago, I spoke with Coach Dan Magill--the foremost Georgia football historian--about the "missing" victories. There was no doubt in his mind the two games against the Olympians should count. If anyone's opinion matters concerning an aspect of the history of Georgia football, it is certainly Coach Magill's.
Other UGA football bloggers have argued for seemingly better causes in the past. Notwithstanding, two more deserving wins for Georgia should appear at least semi-important to many of the Bulldog faithful. And two victories might not seem like a big deal but, as they say, a win is a win... and two more wins would be even better!

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