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Lawmaker wants to ensure Clemson-USC rivalry continues

Clemson South Carolina Football AP

Thanks to conference expansion, the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry will go away for the foreseeable future.  The same will likely be the case for the Pittsburgh-West Virginia Backyard Brawl.

One South Carolina legislator, though, wants to take steps to ensure that his state’s biggest football rivalry doesn’t suffer the same fate.

With Pittsburgh and Syracuse joining the ACC no later than the 2014 season, the conference announced last week that it will go to a nine-game league schedule.  Such a move would leave ACC schools with just three non-conference games, leading some to surmise that rivalry games such as Clemson-South Carolina — not to mention Florida-Florida State and Georgia-Georgia Tech — could become victims of expansion.

According to The State newspaper, a proposal put forth by Republican state representative Nathan Ballentine that would compel Clemson and South Carolina to continue their rivalry game uninterrupted will be considered by a House panel Wednesday.

“I had a constituent bring it up to me, asking whether it was state law that these two teams play. It’s not,” said Ballentine. “With all the conference realignment, we just wanted to make sure this annual game continues. …

“You saw Texas and Texas A&M. That rivalry went by the wayside. … 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.”

While Ballentine did not get the input he sought from Clemson and South Carolina before submitting his proposal for consideration, the schools did give a reaction to the newspaper.  And, suffice to say, both would prefer the legislature stay out of the business of football schedules.

“Athletic schedules need to be decided by athletic directors and coaches,” a USC spokesperson said.

“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,” Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips said in a statement.

Clemson and South Carolina have played 103 straight years, the second-longest consecutively played game at the Div. 1-A (FBS) level.  Ballentine noted that the legislator was forced to step in and require the two teams to meet during the 1952 season, so such intervention is not without precedent.

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27 Responses to “Lawmaker wants to ensure Clemson-USC rivalry continues”
  1. floridacock says: Feb 7, 2012 12:01 PM

    It would be a shame for ANY of these fine historic rivalries to end. Really not one to want regulation, but with the schools depending on funding from their state governments, maybe there should be something to prevent the unthinkable.

  2. woebegong says: Feb 7, 2012 12:05 PM

    I would bet that one victim of the requirement to play 9 ACC games will now be the Clemson_Georgia home and away series. At one time, that was a pretty good rivalry.

  3. gainesvillenole says: Feb 7, 2012 12:10 PM

    wooooooooooow this is so fucking gay. hands off college football, government. i’m wearing a south carolina belt buckle right now. time to take it off.

  4. thraiderskin says: Feb 7, 2012 12:11 PM

    I can’t get behind any politician who feels the need of big government to interject its self in every facet of life, but I do understand a desire to retain come semblance of tradition when it all seems to be crashing down. If someone wants to put political pressures on an institution, I have no issue, but to go as far to legislate it is a near-abuse of power and definetly a waste of tax-payer money.

  5. xtremesportsmaniac says: Feb 7, 2012 12:18 PM

    The state of Florida already has a law requiring UF & FSU to play.

  6. southernpatriots says: Feb 7, 2012 12:22 PM

    The politicians need to stay out of this, as they do most other things. However, the sentiment is so high in South Carolina. It is one of the leading topics of conversations among college football fans and especially fans of Clemson and the University of South Carolina. Just about 90 miles separating them and whether there is domination by one team over the other, which the case is in recent years, fans still want the game and rivalry to continue. It goes back to the founding of the schools. Somehow, someway, Clemson and USC need to come to an agreement, perhaps with the aid of the ACC and SEC (at least in the future when they likely expand to 9 conference games).

    The problem with the South Carolina legislature is that it is comprised of grads of both universities. For the most part, they have learned to get along over the years. On this rivalry game, both groups of alums agree, so as sad as it may be, they will likely come up with either a new law or at least a “sense of the legislature” type of bill which expresses the will of the legislature that both schools work out a schedule to play the game each year. If they do the latter, which is not legally binding, the governor is almost assuredly sign it. Our friends in South Carolina hope that is all they come up with and we hope they are occupied with this the remainder of the session, because if they are, they won’t be mis-spending the tax payer money on boondoggles.

    The real waste of tax payer money comes with the legislature actually passes new laws and bills, same here in Louisiana.

  7. thegamecocker says: Feb 7, 2012 12:51 PM

    It’s probably the Clemson fans who want out. Carolina has DOMINATE them in virtually all revenue producing sports the past three seasons.

    It would be safe to say that I loathe Clemson and their fans. Certainly not a fan of Dumbo Sweeney who said Clemson was THE university of south Carolina. Can you believe that fool actually said that? And make no doubt: he believes it and hates Carolina. Coach Spurrier is too classy of an individual to make caustic statements about Clemson. So I’ll do it.

  8. woebegong says: Feb 7, 2012 1:03 PM


    Clemson has done pretty well against S.C. prior to these last three years. The problem they usually face really is playing in the ACC. They don’t often get a lot of top flight opponents so it is hard to get ready to play big time teams. I understand you like Spurrier though, but you can’t actually think he is above making caustic remarks. Spurrier has a long history of being out spoken and he doesn’t hesitate to speak.

  9. cftgator says: Feb 7, 2012 1:16 PM

    xtremesportsmaniac: No, we don’t. There was a bunch of tussle back in the day, but there was never a law passed.

  10. mrslay1 says: Feb 7, 2012 1:25 PM

    Spurrier is a man not a child as Dumbo. Dumbo and crybaby Gundy remind me of each other.

  11. floridacock says: Feb 7, 2012 1:43 PM

    God, here we go with the 3 in a row talk and the talk of how WVU put 70 on Clemson. doesn’t it ever stop? OOPS! WVU just scored again

  12. floridacock says: Feb 7, 2012 1:44 PM

    BTW. The legislature already funds these 2 schools with tax payer monies.

  13. chitownjeff says: Feb 7, 2012 2:01 PM

    ?Floridacock? Lesser Govt only really means that when they’re doing something you don’t like. Theirs absolutely no rationale for doing this other than pandering to fans of both teams..

    I thought you repubs swore the marketplace would handle all of this..

  14. xtremesportsmaniac says: Feb 7, 2012 2:04 PM

    My bad I always understood from my Gator friends that there was a law in place. According to them this is part of the reason why UF dropped Miami and not FSU.

  15. stairwayto7 says: Feb 7, 2012 2:37 PM

    No one outside the state of south carolina cares about thsi game! Penn State and Pitt was a bigger amd for fierce rivalary than 2 moonshining colleges playing each other!

  16. thegamecocker says: Feb 7, 2012 2:49 PM


    You know not what you post! Carolina – Clemson is the 2nd oldest rivalry in the US. The two schools have had successful seasons the past 3 years. While Clemson owns the dubious distinction of allowing more points in a bowl game than any other school (70 to West Virginia, Big East Champs….how embarrassing), both schools have been significantly more important in the college scene lately than either Pittsburgh (I think the Panthers are on their 5th coach in 15 months) or Penn State (I respected JoePa so I’m not saying anything). Pitt doesn’t even have its own stadium. Fan base apathetic / fan base pathetic (take your pick). BTY it’s and not “amd”….gotta be a Pitt grad. BREAKING NEWS: W VA AT THE CLEMSON 2 YARD LINE….

  17. florida727 says: Feb 7, 2012 4:07 PM

    Sorry, but I happen to be on the side of there being no need for government involvement. This clown, Ballentine, needs to worry about running the state, not whether or not two schools play a football game one Saturday every fall. They can take care of that themselves. Until teams are required to play 12 conference football games every season, they can continue to schedule each other (hint: eliminate one of the cream puff games early in the year), and I’m guessing they will. Both schools know they benefit from this rivalry, regardless of who’s actually winning the games, and they sure as heck don’t need a politician to figure it out for them.

  18. jonkybon says: Feb 7, 2012 5:36 PM

    We all know gamecocker that college football just began three years ago. Lets not forget that Clemson is 6-4 in the last ten meets and 65-40-4 overall. Its true SC has drawn better in one of the two major college sports (no one except SC cares about college baseball), but thats because the Univ in Columbia has almost three times the student body. Clemson has outdrawn SC in basketball the last five plus seasons, but no doubt thats do to their opponants rather than their (lack of) success. Everybody in SC and probably the country knows that just about every HS senior in SC uses SC as their safe school. As with Clowney, you only have to spell your own name correctly two out of three times to qualify in Columbia.

  19. jonkybon says: Feb 7, 2012 5:48 PM

    Posters call Dabo a child and Spurrier a man, but on game day Stevie Wonder throws more temper tantrums and slams his visor into the ground more then all the rest of the SEC coaches combined. Makes you wonder about the posters definition of a child.

    The lawmaker’s idea may become moot since SC may recieve the death penalty for their many and frequent violations. Oh yeah, SC was giving those laptops away to football players at no charge and they just forgot to inform security. The hotel was offering free rooms to everybody, except the SC football players got there first and took up all the rooms! Mangus didn’t urinate outside in downtown Greenville. Someone stole the porta potty while he was in mid stream.

  20. mrslay1 says: Feb 7, 2012 5:59 PM

    To anyone who thinks the state funds the football program of either of these schools in not very smart. Both of these school football programs not only funds itself but several million used for who knows what, except the school administration. The state has no business sticking it’s nose in. Last time I checked, South Carolina didn’t vote for liberial goverment sticking it’s finger in everything!

  21. jonkybon says: Feb 7, 2012 6:00 PM

    The funniest part of the entire Clemson/SC rivalry is the SC fan base. They know their team has NEVER accomplished anything, so their only pride comes from Clemson’s failures. Oh yeah, SC won an ACC title before most all of us was born. If SC wins the next 17 SEC titles in a row and Clemson fails to win one, they will be tied in total conference Championships.

    Thats right SC plays in the SEC and Clemson only plays in the ACC. Thats like claiming you’re tougher because your big brother is five years older and stronger. LOL

    SC has just finished the two best consecutive seasons in their entire history and was on 5-6 against teams with winning records on game day.

    SC fans like to talk smack about Clemson losing 70-33 in the bowl game (for the SC fans thats 37 point differential-I know you’re math challanged). In the only SEC Championship game SC ever played in, Auburn won 56-17 (39 point differential). Now that UGA has two seasons with their DC and UF has a full season with their coaching staff, SC wont even finish fifth again in the SEC! So sad that their best season ever was no higher than fifth place in their conference.

    Enjoy probation Y’all !!!

  22. mrslay1 says: Feb 7, 2012 6:27 PM

    Sadly for Clemson, there conference championship are in the acc, which means very little in the real football world.

  23. jonkybon says: Feb 7, 2012 7:17 PM

    Only a complete retard thinks fifth place in an elite conference is better than a Championship in any conference. Oh yeah, you’re a SC fan. You have no idea what a football championship feels like.

  24. thegamecocker says: Feb 7, 2012 8:32 PM


    You site Ancient history b/c you know the tide has changed and the days of Clemson beating The University of South Carolina in sport is now over. It’s been over for the past three years. The best part was when the Fighting Gamecocks took out the Tigers two times in Omaha!
    Remember your main man Kyle Parker? LOL…..remember when he decided to come back for his final season? FLMAO…we beat him silly all over death valley! Then Dumbo brought Tajh in…..and we gave him a little “what for” too. And then Tajh comes to the W-B and we clean the field with him. BTW, how did Tajh Boyd’s family re-locate to South Carolina? Anyone ever look into that? Perhaps the NCAA should investigate…..smells a lot like what happened at Soutern Cal. What do you think junky-B?

  25. mrslay1 says: Feb 7, 2012 10:38 PM

    Retard? My high school won it’s 2AA championship. We also played the 5A last place team and was wiped out, (of coarse not as bad as 70 points put up). Being the biggest fish in the gold fish bowl only matters till you get dropped in the ocean. Clemson hasn’t seen a year in 20 that they could be 4th in the SEC east or 8th, 9th in the whole conference. And by the way retard, I’m not a SC fan. I just tell like it is!

  26. dmcgrann says: Feb 7, 2012 11:46 PM

    I don’t know about this one. On the one hand, I’ve yet to hear of either school expressing displeasure that they play each other every year. As much as the fans of both schools seem to despise each other, at least they both get a shot at bragging rights each year that lasts at least a year.

    Now, the WV Governor and Legislature has made it pretty clear (without actually passing a law), that they expect to see WVU and Marshall play every year, or there will be hell to pay. But, WVU really doesn’t want to play Marshall – it’s a game they can’t win – if they win, it’s supposed to be a matter of “how much”, and if they lose, WVU becomes the Bums of the Year. The Marshall game also takes up some space where you could be playing someone who’d actually help WVU’s ranking and Marshall is a hell of a lot more dangerous to play than Norfolk State or James Madison.

    One of the reasons Virginia Tech made it into the ACC was some not-so-subtle pressure on UVA to help them along. It’s a shame when we dump these rivalries because of conference obligations, but passing laws or threatening to cut off funding for academics or the overall university is wrong.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t seem quite fair for the “big state school” to ignore their in-state brethren. Heck, alumn from all of the in-state schools work together and live together all of their lives. Give ’em a chance to crow over their neighbors in a fair fight.

    As I recall, Ohio State didn’t play a football game against another team from any school in Ohio from the 1920’s until about ten or so years ago. The last in-state team to beat OSU was Oberlin in 1921. Of course, five years before that, OSU beat Oberlin 128-0. No one was under any misconception that the Oberlin juggernaut was going to begin lording it over the Buckeyes.

  27. thegamecocker says: Feb 8, 2012 8:49 AM


    Agree with your post. Thanks for “telling it like it is”. Junkybon having a difficult time dealing with reality. Prefers to live in the distant past. Clemson coaches and fans are just not pleasant people. Here is another fact:

    UNC Basketball: Clemson Tigers Lose 55th in a Row To Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. This was as of Jan. 11, 2011……Do I hear 56???

    Honestly, even with a very good former basketball coach in Oliver Purnell, another dubious record. This along with the 70 points in a bowl game to the Big East Champs……REALLY JUNKY????

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