For many years, they were just here. Every now and again they would raise up from near the bottom and grab for the ring, but mean old Mister Gravity would pull them back down to earth.
They were welcomed into the SEC in 1992 as part of the expansion that brought the SEC Championship Game into our collective memory. Once here, not only were they after the same athletes as the Georgia's, Tennessee's and Florida's, they were after the same wins, too.
Growing up in East Tennessee, I was taught that an Independent was a basketball school. Not one to get overly excited about in football. Sure, we would get the occasional Independent bite on our collective football tails. But overall, they just weren't the enemy like say, Alabama or Kentucky, Georgia or Vandy. In 1992 that all changed.
I remember sitting in Haywood Harris' (U.T. Sports Information Director) office with he and a good friend named Robert 'Rino' Rinearson in 1996. We were talking about UT recruiting (amongst other things).
During the discussion, Haywood mentioned that in his opinion, the day South Carolina really took off was going to be a day UT needed to find new recruiting ground to work. Not that this was its only fertile ground mind you, but it was certainly important ground at least in Haywood's mind back then.
There's one reason one SEC team doesn't love South Carolina. I believe the UT recruiting travel budget has been going up, up, up ever since Lou Holtz's second year at South Carolina.
Check out the next pages for the top six reasons the rest of the SEC hates South Carolina.