Today’s the day that nearly all college football fans in South Carolina wait for: the day of the USC-Clemson game.
The rivalry between the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and the Clemson University Tigers goes all the way back to 1896, the year of the very first USC-Clemson game.
In that first matchup, Carolina won 12-6. In the last match-up, last year, Carolina won 34-17.
Believe it or not, I was actually born on a USC-Clemson game day. That year, fortunately, Carolina won; otherwise, I might have been tempted to wait another year.
(I’ve told that joke before, but my mom, oddly enough, finds little humor in it.)
I’ve learned over the years that USC tends to do better when I’m not watching. Years ago, I went to a USC-Clemson in Death Valley (Clemson’s stadium) game to assist my station’s sports team. My role was simply to take a video tape from the videographer and run it to the live truck outside the stadium so that the operator could feed it back to the station for a fast turnaround. With two minutes left, USC scored a touchdown, and Gamecock fans started celebrating as if the game had been decided. I shook my head in amazement, thinking that two minutes is a lifetime in this rivalry. Sure enough, with less than a minute on the clock, Clemson scored a touchdown to retake the lead.
Just last year, I met a friend of mine from college who had traveled with her husband to Columbia to visit family for Thanksgiving. They had tickets to the game, and I met them outside Williams-Brice Stadium (USC’s stadium) for tailgating prior to the game. When the game was nearing, they headed for the stadium. I was just leaving the area after kickoff, when Clemson scored an almost immediate touchdown. As soon as I got away from the stadium, USC rallied and ended up winning the game.
I can’t even remember the last time I actually watched the Gamecocks play Clemson and saw them win.
So I figure the best I can do for my alma mater is to keep the TV on The Andy Griffith Show.
And that way, if the Gamecocks do lose, it isn’t my fault.