Where Did Our Rivalry Go?


  by - Radio Host - Thursday, July 21, 2016 10:44 AM
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Where Did Our Rivalry Go?
It seems like yesterday Clemson fans had to endure the five bomb photos from our arch rival. Raise your hand if you would have thought the gap could have been closed and widened on the right side of the rivalry this fast.

Clemson is picked by many to make a return trip to the college football playoffs. Last week South Carolina was picked to finish last in the SEC East.

Some of the magazines I have seen rank Clemson in the top two or three in the country while the Gamecocks are in the seventies.

Last week, Vegas put out a point spread for the November game with the arch rival and Clemson was more than a 20-point favorite.

How did the gap get this wide, this fast?

From South Carolina's standpoint, Steve Spurrier made several mistakes within his staff. Bad hires and bad promotions hurt.

Spurrier got lazy and fell asleep at the wheel. His complacency dug a big hole in the level of talent.

Finally, the state of South Carolina had some lean years. The Lattimore, Clowney, Holloman, and Gilmore pool dried up, and the Gamecocks didn't have the clout to supplement the program with five-star players outside of the area.

On Clemson's side of the rivalry, Dabo and his staff created an exciting brand and sold it to recruits all over the country. Four and five stars from a vast recruiting area came to join the Clemson family.

When the Tigers couldn't find a great defensive tackle in the area, they were able to go to the northeast to get five star Christian Wilkins.

When there were no defensive ends in the immediate area, the Clemson staff was able to go to Virginia for Clelin Ferrell.

The state of South Carolina had few superstars, so Clemson went to Georgia for Deshaun Watson and Mitch Hyatt. They went to Florida for Artvis Scott, Deon Cain, Jake Fruhmorgen and Ray Ray McCloud.

There were other factors. Clemson's support to Dabo and the facilities cannot be understated, but the bigger answers came in the difference Dabo showed in his leadership compared to Spurrier.

Spurrier quit half way through last season and has left Will Muschamp to pick up the pieces and try to do what Dabo had to do--close the gap despite the uphill battle. Comparing Muschamp's first recruiting class and the one he is assembling now to the top five or top ten classes Dabo continues to sign, I am not sure that can happen.

Hunter Johnson is the nation's number one quarterback in the upcoming class. Tee Higgins is the best wide receiver in this class. Is Muschamp gaining on that? Can he gain on that? My doubts grow every day.

The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency



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