South Carolina Football: As Gamecocks Program Rises, Clemson Tigers Fade

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South Carolina Football: As Gamecocks Program Rises, Clemson Tigers Fade
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It’s official. After Saturday night’s 27-17 victory over the much-ballyhooed Clemson Tigers, the South Carolina Gamecocks are firmly where they have always wanted to be.

Miles ahead of the Clemson Tigers.

Not just this year’s team…the program as a whole.

Let’s look beyond the fact that the Gamecocks have outscored the Clemson Tigers 124-54 in the last four matchups. The games are embarrassing enough for a fanbase that has grown so cocky over the historical “dominance” over the Gamecocks.

I use the word "dominance" lightly. After yesterday’s win, the Gamecocks are down 65 games to 41. Hardly the one-sided affair Tiger fans would have you to believe.

This is roughly the same ratio as the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry (58-44 in Michigan’s favor), Florida/Florida State (34-21 in Florida’s Favor) and Notre Dame/USC (44-34 in ND’s favor).

You don’t hear cries of historical dominance from those fanbases.

It’s another delusion of grandeur that the Clemson faithful hold onto so dearly. They are quite proud of their 1981 national championship. While that’s wonderful, the circumstances of the actual championship are quite alarming. I digress.

The South Carolina program is growing in leaps and bounds. Jadeveon Clowney is the type of player that Clemson would have been able to grab in the past. Now, he’s terrorizing the Tigers while No. 1 defensive end Robert Nkemdiche is jumping ship. It’s an interesting bit of irony.

The Gamecocks are currently ranked 13th in recruiting this season (according to ESPN) while Clemson is 15th. 

The Gamecocks are quickly becoming one of the best programs in the SEC and a perennial contender for the SEC East. While they’ve only been able to snatch one East crown, they have back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time ever. Recruits are coming quickly.

The facilities are getting better every year. In fact, in 2010, the Gamecocks stated they expected to spend a staggering $16 million on stadium renovations, a number which can be seen from afar as the Gamecocks have added a gigantic jumbo-tron. 

Add the new Dodie Academic center and spacious new weight rooms, and you have an incredible look at the new and improved Gamecocks. 

Clemson has spent a grand total of $6,811,744 to the Gamecocks' $15,745,776. 

This isn't a program built for a couple of good seasons.  This is permanent, long-term success building.

Forbes lists South Carolina as one of the most valuable programs in college football.

South Carolina's revenue is rising, while Clemson's has been stagnant. This chart is from a Clemson backer's research. This isn't even a Carolina bias.

2006-2011_revenue_medium

 

The Gamecocks hold a program that has given $4 million to academic funding, one of the top in the nation, according to Forbes. 

Steve Spurrier is a legend. He will leave behind a program capable of national titles and destroying the Clemson Tigers every year. Clemson has a coach who loves to talk. He’s a used-car salesman who recruits like a charm but can’t beat legitimate teams.

Gamecock fans absolutely love Dabo Swinney and hope he gets an extension.

Clemson’s a wonderful school. Some would argue it had a successful season in the ACC.  However, Clemson fans will walk away with an empty feeling this season. A 10-win ACC season, with a loss to South Carolina, and no chance at a title is a failure. 

South Carolina has a 10-win SEC season with a fourth straight win over the TIgers. 

Clemson will always have a solid football program. It just can’t compete with the Gamecocks in any way at this point.

It is slowly becoming a part of what the fans hold to so dearly—history.

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