The Daily Gamecock

In our opinion: Rivalry provides Gamecocks with a chance at history

Five score and 17 years ago, Old MacDonald thrust his lofty pitchfork into a ravaged post-bellum farm field, striking an arbitrary rock.

In that moment of serendipity, he swore to establish a renowned agricultural school dedicated to the sole purpose of triumphantly snatching the Hardee’s Trophy from the University of South Carolina each and every year, in perpetuity. Today, that same rock of no apparent value is enshrined at Clemson University’s stadium as motivation for the farmer’s union football team, although neither the rock nor the farmer’s wishes have done much good considering USC’s recent win streak. Alas, despite the drought in this decade’s competition, the rivalry still roars on as one of college football’s finest.

This weekend, the Gamecocks will seek to extend their win-streak over Clemson to five. In spite of USC’s domination, adrenaline is running particularly high since Clemson has fielded one of its finest teams in recent years. As card-carrying members of the All Cupcake Conference, the Tigers’ plate runneth over with subpar competition week after week. This season, the vaunted Tigers have faced eight conference foes with combined 45-43 records (and, yes, that includes 11-0 Florida State, and we won’t rehash the gory details of the R-rated bloodbath that the Seminoles inflicted on the Tigers, lest there be youthful eyes reading this.)

Nevertheless, we can’t count the Tigers out just yet. We’re pained to acknowledge this, but Clemson leads the series with a record of 65-41-4. And that brings us to the most endearing attribute of the typical Clemsonite; the uncanny ability to remember football results that took place long before full-color photos became all the rage. Ask any Tiger about USC’s current four-game winning streak in the series and you will inevitably hear about the overall series record.

Yes, many a Tiger will take immense pride in the 51-0 win over the Gamecocks back in 1900. And who among us could forget that stirring 13-7 Tiger victory in 1948, when Clemson was heroically led by quarterback J.S. McGillicuddy.

Or so we assume. After all, it was 65 years ago. Or, roughly twice as many years ago as Clemson’s national championship, which you will also inevitably hear about this week.

No matter, history is behind us, and today, USC enjoys a commanding win-streak. Funnily enough, the four-game streak statistic doesn’t seem to faze the lauded math and science students of Clemson. Thankfully, they’ve got a fight song that conveniently emphasizes elementarily language skills, so where the Tigers fail in statistical analysis, they’ll succeed in spelling their school’s name.

OK, we’ll get serious for a moment. The Carolina-Clemson rivalry is tried and true, that much we know. While we ultimately want to “beat hell out of Clemson,” just like students in 1944, we can rest easy knowing that no matter which school comes out on top, our shared state wins — especially when it comes to hilarious stories of rivalry pranks. And while the football field has provided our schools some of their finest moments, we’ve got our ever-improving academic values to enjoy as well. In that vein, win or lose, our Gamecocks will always find success in whatever their field of study is, and those Clemson Tigers are sure to enjoy whatever field of produce they choose to harvest.