For now, Clemson vs. USC is a rivalry

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talks with South Carolina's Steve Spurrier before kickoff at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talks with South Carolina's Steve Spurrier before kickoff at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

During Clemson coach Dabo Swinney’s infamous rant about South Carolina last December, he talked of the Tigers’ history of domination in the series and said, “My kids’ grand kids won’t live long enough to see this really become a rivalry.”

Only time will tell if that’s the case. But what was undeniable on Nov. 24, 2012, is that there are Tiger players who will finish their college playing careers never knowing the thrill of beating the Gamecocks.

Those who first suffered that same, unique pain are now in their 70s.

None of the current players ever thought they’d live long enough to see that kind of history repeat itself — and they certainly never dreamed they’d be a part of it.

But they are, and for all the good Swinney has done and all the good he might do guiding this football team in the future, he is one of just two Clemson coaches who has ever lost four consecutive games to the school’s biggest rival. And that doesn’t make anyone affiliated with Clemson feel too chipper this morning.

Of course the other is Frank Howard, who did pretty well for himself and the program with 165 wins — although he was 13-15-2 against USC and lost four in a row from 1951-54.

Still, few people are interested in reliving the old days at the moment, especially since this seemed like the year Clemson would prove that three-game skid against Carolina was merely a burp in the buffet of life.

With just one loss and an offense that had jumped to warp speed in recent weeks, this regular season finale would be a chance to put ACC critics in shut-up mode and do the same for Gamecock fans, who have spent the last three Novembers crowing over the results of the annual showdown.

Instead Gamecock Nation has turned a Red State garnet for the fourth consecutive season — and done some serious collateral damage along the way.

The Tigers’ shot at a BCS bowl bid is gone.

Steve Spurrier became South Carolina’s all-time winningest coach at Memorial Stadium — snapping Clemson’s long home winning streak in the process.

And the opportunity to evangelize the ACC before a national television audience instead became a testament to why some people tend to merely dismiss the league.

In fact Clemson was the last, best hope the ACC had to make its case against the conference that has won the last six BCS crowns and will play for a seventh in January.

On a day that saw Georgia dismantle Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt thump Wake Forest and Florida pull away from Florida State with a 24-6 run, the Tigers were charged with salvaging a football version of the SEC-ACC challenge.

But when the night was done it was Spurrier once again grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat and making another statement in this bitter football feud.

And what is that statement, exactly?

Just this: For now, Clemson vs. USC is a rivalry.

And history aside, now is all that matters this morning.

© 2012 OrangeAndWhite.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 5

waran writes:

I agree with Greg Wallace.

Hope Dabo will agree too. At least then we can focus on changing and reenforcing the superiority of the Tigers. The first step towards recovery, progress and moving forward... is to accept your weaknesses and mistakes and identify what needs to be done. Any thoughts Dabo?

Or, is real USC still in California? I am sorry, I hate "yapping" when you can't back it up with action! It is 4 years in a row. And, they will keep showing Dabo's comments over and over again on TV.

MoncksTater writes:

Clemson is better now than before Dabo...unfortunately the Coots are light yrs beyter than they have always been and they are simply more physical and athletic. We will get back on track against them becauae we are also improving...but right now its just hope and without a win last night it seems hollow to say it. Win our bowl for an 11win year..thats something =/

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to MoncksTater:

Clemson is better now than before Dabo...unfortunately the Coots are light yrs beyter than they have always been and they are simply more physical and athletic. We will get back on track against them becauae we are also improving...but right now its just hope and without a win last night it seems hollow to say it. Win our bowl for an 11win year..thats something =/

Clemson is better now under Dabo only b/c the rest of the ACC has become a dumpster fire. Clemson has increased their commitment to football while the rest of the ACC has not. If you want to matter outside of the tiny fishbowl that is the ACC then you need to hire a real head coach. It's mind-boggling that with all of the facilities and football support at Clemson that they think they can matter nationally with DABO SWINNEY.

Kimarie56 writes:

I keep looking for a place to post this. I guess here is better than anywhere else... Taking a walk down memory lane, I believe it was Danny Ford's first full year, some of you may have to help me here, any way... The year we entered the game against Carolina 10 & 0.... Heading for the championship... Our guys came out on the field to warm up in their game day threads then returned to the locker room when much to their surprise they were given new uniforms to wear... All ORANGE....when they hit the hill all decked in orange the crowd went wild, the team was jacked & it was all over before it started!!! This is a rivalry like none other, matters not who the coaches are, it runs deep, long & storied through the years! We now pay high dollars to the coaching staff, but who of them is willing to give up a portion of their salaries to pull such an unselfish stunt for their team & fans?? I remember there was a lot of questioning about a coach named Danny Ford when he was hired but in his down home way he had class, knew what it took to keep the game going & the 12th man on the field.... You never would have seen such poor fan support as what I saw last night...when our boys bleed orange it is up to us, the 12th man, to give them the juice & drive. We put a lot on these young men, expecting instant gratification, then sit here & tear them & their coaches, who they have a lot of respect for, apart! Yes the O was flat, what did you, the fans do to help? Yes, we have no passing rush or secondary, what did you the fans do? Just something to think about! I love my Tigers, always have & always will... If I lived closer I would be there every home game to show my undying support, as I can't, I sit glued to my TV every Saturday to watch my guys play, scheduling my events & schedule around theirs! Typical female response, maybe... But when they bleed I bleed & orange is the color of my blood!!! Go TIGERS!!!! Bowl bound!!!

TRUETIGER1 writes:

We are doomed to this type of performance against a formidable opponent if we remain in the ACC(Anti Clemson Conference). Even MD has enough sense to leave. I look for FSU to bolt very soon. Keep drinking the Kool Aid and writing checks for absolutely NO ROI (Return On Investment). It is time for some real leadership and not just on the field.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features