If they weren’t fans of our in-state arch-rival, I would almost be sympathetic toward my Clemson brethren right now. For decades, we just were obsessed with making “BEAT CLEMSON” our entire identity. I can admit now that in football I would have honestly taken a win over the Tigers instead of an 11-win season any day.
Now I hear the news that the Tigers are installing countdown clocks all over their football facilities. Counting down to the National Championship game I’m sure? Or maybe that dynamic ACC Title game they try and pretend they care more about than USC? Or maybe it’s just a generic countdown to the opening kickoff type of thing? Of course not. You guessed it: the program that gives insane contracts to coaches and bends itself into pretzels to INSIST that it doesn’t care about beating Carolina is now formally counting the seconds and minutes until we play again. You have to love it!
Ah, fond memories pop into my head of that “Beat Clemson” obsession we went through in football before Spurrier. Again, let me say that I was neck-deep in the middle of that. Those of orange ilk used to live rent-free in our heads. Now we’re the tenants in their craniums and that’s how it needs to stay.
And we need to remember that no one has done more to change the fortunes of this rivalry than Dabo Swinney. He is likely going to go down as the most popular Clemson coach at both schools when he is done. Clemson has sold their souls to him to be able to try and prove to Gamecock fans that they really aren’t worried about us. Therefore, every time we beat them in football, they now have to double-down further and reaffirm their loyalty to old Dabbles. Hoping beyond hope that eventually the odds say that they will win a football game against us (which I’m sure will happen at some point), somehow that will vindicate the entire foolish exercise. We’re good with that plan. We’re all in!
I have so many really cool Tiger friends who have privately admitted what they actually think about their current path. Needless to say when you get them 1 on 1 it is unanimously recognized how reckless, short-sighted and disingenuous their choices are- like the big contract, the obsession, the countdown clocks, etc. But as the old saying goes, “A person can be smart, but people are stupid.”
Shoot, despite brutal treatment by them for many, many years growing up I still do feel sorry for them and I guess I carry a touch of sympathy. It is just miserable to be where they are right now, cast as Don Quixote of the Palmetto State attacking the windmill. At least they have the attention span of the dog in the movie “Up” to fall back on. The next distracting squirrel (playing a bowl against a team that doesn’t want to be there, facing the ACC “heavyweights,” recruiting all skill players, etc) is always just around the corner. Hang in there my Tigger pals. The odds do say you’ll get a win at some point.
It is a great time to be a GAMECOCK!