"You can throw the records out the window when these two teams play” is a sports cliché that means that the teams’ records on the season shouldn’t matter—a rivalry game is always a competitive game. For example, it’s always a battle when Duke plays North Carolina, or when Louisville plays Kentucky, or when Yale plays Harvard, or when the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins. One team might have suffered injuries and might have been losing, but a hard-fought game is always to be expected.
“Season’s records go out the window for this ‘grudge’ battle” was cited in print in 1935 to describe a University of Texas-Texas A&M game.
24 November 1935, Big Spring (TX) Daily Herald, pg. 2, col. 4:
Thursday a feature game will be the renewal of the Texas - A & M feud on Kyle Field at College Station, Texas. Season’s records go out the window for this “grudge” battle.
Google News Archives
12 November 1938, The News and Courier (Charleston, SC), ‘The Unbeaten and Untied Elevens Face Tough Sledding This Week-end” by Bill Boni (AP), pg. 7, col. 1:
Princeton-Yale (50.000) — Throw the records out the window.
11 November 1939, Titusville (PA) Herald, “Fine Records Of Big Teams Jeopardized” by Bill Boni (AP), pg. 10, col. 2:
CARNEGIE TECH-PITT (50,000)—Toss the records out the window, the neighborhood children are at play.
25 November 1953, New York (NY) Times, “Navy’s Roars of Defiance Against Army Rock Annapolis” by Joseph M. Sheehan, pg. 29:
“You can throw the records out the window for this game. It should be a real dog-fight,” he concluded.
9 November 1962, Princeton Alumni Weekly, pg. 47, col. 3:
But, as Casciola pointed out, “For the Harvard-Princeton game, you can throw the records out the window.”
40+ Years of Packer-Viking Rivalry
By Todd Mishler
Black Earth, WI: Prairie Oak Press
“The rivalry, the media, the fans, and the players. The idea that you could throw the records out the window really was the case in this series.”
The Cowhide - a High School Football Tradition
By John David Fischer
Victoria, BC; Trafford Publishing
When predicting the outcome of a Cowhide game, many have used the old quote, “You can throw the records out the window,” to indicate that anyone can win it.
The Encyclopedia of Duke Basketball
By John Roth
Durham, NC: Duke University Press
That could have marked the origin of the cliche about throwing the records out the window when Duke and Carolina play.
Throw the records out the window. It’s LSU - Ole Miss.
4:03 PM - 20 Nov 10