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Lawmaker Wants USC-Clemson Rivalry To Continue, No Matter What

The Atlantic Coast Conference has announced that it will go to a nine-game conference schedule when Pittsburgh and Syracuse enter the league (which should happen in 2014, if not sooner).

The Southeastern Conference is sticking with an eight-game schedule, but the league is adding two more teams this fall (which will lead coaches to say the SEC is just too tough).

BCS commissioners and ADs are kicking around the idea of raising the bowl eligibility standard from six wins to seven (which will lead all BCS schools to schedule more creampuffs and cupcakes).

Obviously, there are several reasons why the SEC’s South Carolina and the ACC’s Clemson could potentially stop scheduling one another.  One Palmetto State lawmaker wants to insure that that doesn’t happen.

State Representative Nathan Ballantine has introduced a proposal that will be considered in the State House this week that would require the Gamecocks and the Tigers to continue their ancient football rivalry every year.  (Recently, a Kentucky lawmaker raised awareness for a bill by tossing in a “UK-Louisville must play” clause to his legislation.)

“You saw Texas and Texas A&M,” Ballantine told Columbia’s The State.  “That rivalry went by the wayside.  Nebraska and Missouri dropped by the wayside (when Nebraska joined the Big Ten).  No one wants to see that happen here to our two universities where families enjoy the annual game, and it’s great for our economy.”

School officials on both sides, however, would prefer the South Carolina House of Representatives not dictate their schedules to them.

“Athletic schedules need to be decided by athletic directors and coaches,” a USC spokesman said.  Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips added, “Clemson would prefer to not have to legislate this issue as I cannot conceive of a realistic scenario that would prohibit Clemson and South Carolina from continuing our football series.”

Ah, but the legislature has actually stepped in and saved the rivalry in the past.  In 1952, Carolina lawmakers forced the schools to meet… keeping alive a streak that’s now stretched to 103 consecutive seasons of USC-Clemson football.

Now usually we want politicians to keep their dirty mitts out of the sports world.  In fact, 99.9% of the time we’re for keeping politicians away from spots. 

This is the .1%

With Texas cold-shouldering Texas A&M and Kansas turning its nose to Missouri, it’s clear that schools sometimes act out of spite.  And if schools can make decisions based on something as childish as spite, you can be certain that something as serious as greed might be a motivator, too.  If a rivalry could come between a school and potential bowl money (as well as bowl exposure) even an historic rivalry might get kiboshed.

Pay attention — ’cause we don’t say this often — but bravo to the Carolina legislature for trying to keep this one on the books.  Makes you wonder how long it will take politicians in Georgia and Florida to fire up proposals to force UGA-Tech and UF-FSU to play. 

Just in case.



Bad behavior always starts with Texas.....and the Chickenhawks do whatever Bevo says now or they say hello to the Mountain West. The bitter need to be called out for their bitterness. Frankly, I don;t see either Clemson or SCarolina pushing the other away, but it seems the legislature there is taking no chances.


AGator:Even under a 9 game conference schedule will still be 3 nonconference games ... Clemson just has to be one of them, just like FSU has to be one of them for you (no USF or UCF for instance). Also, the SEC won't be able to accommodate everyone's annual rival. Even if Clemson joins, will FSU (you guys), Georgia Tech (UGA) and Louisville (Kentucky) join as well? Adding Clemson does nothing for the SEC in terms of academics, revenue (gate or TV) and athletically the Tigers are WAY overrated. They backed their way into their first ACC title in 30 years (that's right, in that time they have the same number of ACC titles as Duke and Wake Forest) and suffered an epic 70-33 thrashing to the same West Virginia team that lost to Louisville and Syracuse and barely got by Rutgers, Pitt, USF, Cincinnati and Maryland for their trouble. Clemson isn't even any good in basketball ... worse than the ACC's other football schools BC, Miami, Georgia Tech and FSU in that regards (though they MAY be better than Virginia Tech).

It is bad enough that the SEC has 2 schools from Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, especially when neither of the Mississippi schools are competitive and only one of the Tennessee schools are. If the SEC is going to add a 2nd school in an existing state, let that state be Texas, Florida or at least Georgia, not South Carolina. Georgia Tech makes loads more sense than Clemson. They are much more highly regarded academically (AAU school), brings the Atlanta market, plus are traditional rivals for both Georgia and Auburn.


When the SEC went to seven games in 1988 Florida dropped the Miami rivalry. Florida and FSU may not want to keep playing if both conferences go to nine conference games. Games like LSU-Oregon and Bama-Penn St may not be scheduled as often if more conference games fill schedules.

Some schools may consider switching to the same conference as their rival(s) to make scheduling more practical. USC and Clemson wouldn't have scheduling problems if they were in the same conference.


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