Clemson's Dabo Swinney (left) and South Carolina's Steve Spurrier exchange greetings.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina and Clemson each finished 11-2 this season, both had bowl victories over quality opponents, and it would take the wisdom of Solomon to decide which team had the better season.
The debate rages on between the schools' fans, not to mention the coaches.
Granted, South Carolina beat Clemson head-to-head, which probably gives the Gamecocks the edge, but it wouldn't be a total surprise if Clemson's Orange Bowl triumph over Ohio State is enough to vault the Tigers ahead of their bitter instate rival in the final standings.
Even if it doesn't, the schools will likely be close enough in the final rankings for the debate to continue.
Clemson fans are claiming their BCS triumph, the only one in history by a school from the state of South Carolina, as clear evidence of a superior season.
South Carolina fans view Clemson's presence in a BCS bowl more as a flaw in the system that allowed the Tigers to benefit from being in a weaker conference (ACC) than the SEC.
The Gamecocks point to their 31-17 triumph over the Tigers, and their current five-game winning streak against their archrival as clear evidence of superiority.
Perhaps the fans of the two schools would have gone about their business, each enjoying the success of their respective seasons without sniping at the other.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier made sure that wouldn't happen.
After the Gamecocks beat Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl, Spurrier couldn't help but fire a small salvo at their in-state rival.
Taking note of the fact that South Carolina has won two out of the last three Capital One Bowls, Spurrier added, "and that state championship ain't bad either."
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney simply couldn't let that go.
After the Tigers beat the Buckeyes, Swinney countered.
"We're the first team from South Carolina to ever win a BCS Bowl," Swinney said, via Kevin McGuire of College Football Talk.
But Spurrier wasn't through.
In a follow-up story, via Connor Tapp of SB Nation (h/t The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Spurrier threw out the ACC as the weaker conference argument and also marveled at the fact that Swinney didn't mention the obvious—Clemson's national championship in the Orange Bowl in 1981.
The reason is clear. Swinney's ego. The national championship and the majority of the Tigers' accolades occurred before he got to Clemson, and his 1-5 record against Spurrier seems to bother him worse than it does the Clemson faithful.
Swinney had to find something that happened on his watch that he could boast about.
If that's his best shot, Swinney is likely to keep losing to Spurrier off the field as well as on it.