Ballentine proposed that a law be put on the books dictating that the two teams keep up their annual meeting. Why? Not because there was talk of stopping it. Conference realignment, which has already ended some rivalries, could eventually end the Gamecocks-Tigers showdown, Ballentine said. The decision by the ACC to omit one non-conference game starting in 2012 factored in, as well. Thankfully, his bill didn’t even get past the subcommittee.
Look, I’m not Dabo Swinney. I know that this is a serious rivalry. I know that this game is obviously a huge deal. It’s the longest running rivalry in the South and the second longest in the country. It’s for a year’s worth of bragging rights. It divides families and friends and there’s a deep hatred that runs between the sides. But it doesn’t need to be a law.
Clemson’s not going to decide to cut the Carolina game from the schedule. That would be beyond stupid, especially because they’re desperate for revenge and the game’s in TigerTown in 2012. They’re not going to decide to cut it the year after that, or after that, or ever, either. USC’s not going to suddenly decide they don’t need to play their biggest rival anymore. The game is a huge economic boost and one of the biggest events in the state. The Athletics Directors from both schools essentially said the same thing. Both released statements on the suggested mandate:
“It’s common law. … I wouldn’t want to live in the state and do away with that series. I wouldn’t want to be the AD at South Carolina and say, ‘We’re not going to play Clemson.’ I’m sure Terry Don [Phillips] would feel the same way.” -Eric Hyman
“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,” -Terry Don Phillips
Ballentine, by the way, is a South Carolina grad. Now, if he wanted to introduce a bill that would require the State House to fly the Gamecock flag all the time, not just on Back to Back National Champions Day, that’s something I could get behind. You know, just in case Dabo needs to be reminded where the real University of South Carolina is.