Go­ing streak­ing

The Covington News - - SPORTS -

One of the most sa­cred streaks, in my own lit­tle sports universe, con­tin­ued Sun­day night.

It’s a streak sports fans have prob­a­bly heard touted on ESPN when North Carolina and Clem­son match up at the Dean Dome on the hard­wood, but a lit­tle streak that might slip by the na­tional me­dia be­cause its im­por­tance lies in lo­cal lore and tra­di­tion, not in the na­tional spot­light.

Since 1926, the Tar Heels have never lost to the Tigers at home – 57 con­sec­u­tive wins that stand as the sin­gle- long­est home win streak over a pro­gram in col­le­giate and pro­fes­sional his­tory.

For many fans, the streak might not mat­ter, but to UNC fans, the streak is only sec­ond in im­por­tance to the pro­gram’s 13 con­sec­u­tive Sweet 16 ap­pear­ances.

In Ge­or­gia, many of our sports pro­grams have those same streaks — or streak busters — that help de­fine their pro­grams. Whether we’re count­ing rivalry wins, bowl ap­pear­ances or post­sea­son par­tic­i­pa­tion, Ge­or­gia’s ath­letic his­tory is steeped in streaks that are be­yond re­proach. Bull­dogs' lucky num­ber Now, I’m not one to be­lieve in luck or lucky num­bers. Maybe it’s be­cause I’ve never had any, but the pos­i­tive twists of fate that seem to make the lives of many have never found for­tune for me.

How­ever, Ge­or­gia Bull­dog fans may claim to have a lucky num­ber – seven.

Twice in Ge­or­gia’s his­tory, the Bull­dogs have pulled off con­sec­u­tive seven-game win streaks in their rivalry con­test against Ge­or­gia Tech.

The Bull­dogs ac­com­plished the feat first from 1991-1997, beat­ing the Yel­low Jack­ets by an av­er­age score of 29-15.

That's an im­pres­sive streak in its own right, much less in a rivalry match-up de­scribed as "Clean, Old-Fash­ioned Hate," where your op­po­nent spends the ma­jor­ity of thes sea­son wait­ing for the end-of-year bat­tle.

The feat was matched again from 2001-2007, when the Bull­dogs once again rolled off seven con­sec­u­tive wins af­ter Ge­or­gia Tech an­swered the Bull­dogs’ pre­vi­ous streak with a trio of wins.

The Bull­dogs’ clos­est game in the streak came in a 15-12 vic­tory in 2006, nar­rowly edg­ing the Yel­low Jack­ets at home. Ge­or­gia Tech en­tered the game ranked 15th in the na­tion and

jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but Ge­or­gia scored 15 sec­ond-half points and snagged a game-clinch­ing in­ter­cep­tion on Tech’s fi­nal drive to seal the win.

Ge­or­gia is cur­rently work­ing on what could be its third “Lucky 7” streak, hav­ing won the last five in a row dat­ing back to 2009.

The Bull­dogs' lucky num­ber doesn’t just stop with Tech, ei­ther. Ge­or­gia has posted a pair of seven-win streaks over ri­val Florida, win­ning the first seven games of the se­ries from 1904-1927 and again from 1941-1948. Ge­or­gia came within a game of equal­ing the feat from 19781983, but fell a game short, los­ing to the Gators 27-0 in 1984. Tech goes streak­ing While the Bull­dogs may have the up­per hand headto-head, the Yel­low Jack­ets are in the midst of their own im­pres­sive streak – even if they have to share it with their ri­vals.

The Ram­blin Wreck has to­taled 17 con­sec­u­tive post­sea­son bowl ap­pear­ances, fourth all-time be­hind Florida State, Vir­ginia Tech and Florida.

Dur­ing that time, the Yel­low Jack­ets have posted a 6-11 mark, last win­ning the 2012 Sun Bowl over South- ern Cal­i­for­nia. The Yel­low Jack­ets won back-to-back bowls to start their streak in 1997, com­ing out vic­to­ri­ous in the Car­quest Bowl and the 1999 Ga­tor Bowl, and again won con­sec­u­tive bowl con­tests at the 2004 Hu­man­i­tar­ian and Champs Sports Bowls.

Florida State leads the bowl ap­pear­ance streak with 32 con­sec­u­tive bowls, with Vir­ginia Tech trail­ing with 21 con­sec­u­tive ap­pear­ances.

Florida’s streak of 21 con­sec­u­tive bowls ended this past sea­son.

The steady play of the Yel­low Jack­ets may not al­ways show up in the post­sea­son, but it keeps them in con­tention, a model of depend­abil­ity that few pro­grams can em­u­late.

The Yel­low Jack­ets’ cur­rent streak of 17 con­sec­u­tive bowl ap­pear­ances has been matched by the Bull­dogs, who have gone 12-5 in the post­sea­son dur­ing that same span. Braves keep rock­ing Mov­ing from the am­a­teurs to the pro­fes­sion­als, the At­lanta Braves hold one of the most im­pres­sive streaks in a sport where num­bers are ev­ery­thing.

From 1991-2005 (ex­clud­ing the 1994 strike-short­ened sea­son) the Braves reached the post­sea­son a league-record 14 times, a streak that has been threat­ened, but not matched in base­ball his­tory.

The New York Yan­kees came close in 2007, but fell an ap­pear­ance short, and no other team has come within nine ap­pear­ances of the Braves. Three dif­fer­ent teams hold records of five con­sec­u­tive post­sea­son ap­pear­ances. The Yan­kees match the feat twice from 1949-1953 and again from 1960-1964, so it ap­pears that At­lanta’s streak is safe – for at least another decade.

Dur­ing that time, At­lanta ap­peared in eight con­sec­u­tive League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries and reached the World Se­ries five times, win­ning it all in 1995.

This is a streak that is near and dear to me. As a young base­ball fan, the Braves were my clos­est team and hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to watch them Fri­day nights on TBS was a can’t-miss fam­ily event.

I’m not sure which streak lasted longer – the Braves’ post­sea­son streak or TBS squeez­ing in "Din­ner and a Movie" af­ter the broad­casts. Streak bust­ing The Fal­cons end the streak list, fit­tingly, by end­ing a streak.

Be­gin­ning in 2009, Saints quar­ter­back Drew Brees be­gan build­ing a streak, one that ended Nov. 25, 2012, against the Fal­cons.

Brees had thrown a touch­down pass in 54 con­sec­u­tive games, eclips­ing for­mer Bal­ti­more Colt Johnny Uni­tas’ streak of 47 games set in 1960.

But, on a Thurs­day night, the Fal­cons handed the Saints their sev­enth loss of the sea­son, while in­ter­cept­ing Brees five times. Brees con­nected on 28 of 50 passes in the game for 341 yards, but couldn’t find one of his re­ceivers in the end zone, end­ing his touch­down streak.

The vic­tory moved the Fal­cons to 11-1, help­ing At­lanta clinch the NFC South di­vi­sion.

The Fal­cons’ five in­ter­cep­tions was a ca­reer-high for Brees, as the Saints fell 23-13.

Records are made to be bro­ken, but for sports fans, your team’s records are price­less.

Smith

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