|Monday, April 17, 2017, 9:25 AM- -|
An old joke among Clemson fans says that we need a new rival because ours is broke.
I was having lunch with a good Clemson friend last week, and the rivalry came up. He made some good points in his case that South Carolina is not our rival anymore. He made claims that Florida State is our rival. He made a great point that Clemson has a hard path to an Atlantic division title if it loses to FSU. Without a division title, a conference title is impossible and a playoff berth is an extreme long shot. His rationale made sense.
Perhaps his greatest argument was recruiting. He asked me to name the players on South Carolina's roster that could start for Clemson. He then asked who did the Gamecocks beat the Tigers on?
Clemson did want Zack Bailey two years ago. The Tigers recruited OrTre Smith. They wanted Brian Edwards but as a safety. I guess they wanted Donell Stanley early in his high school career but cooled.
The point is that rivals should go head to head on recruits more than once or twice a year.
Regarding recruiting, it seems Clemson and Georgia battle on many players each year. Lately, Clemson and Alabama go head to head far more than Clemson and South Carolina. The Tigers battle Ohio State, Florida State, Auburn, and Tennessee more often than the instate rival.
My friend made a point that the Clemson-FSU baseball rivalry is close to the Clemson-USC rivalry on the diamond and the basketball rivalry with the Seminoles seem to be bigger than the one with the Gamecocks.
When recruiting a player now, I ask if he is the kind of prospect that can help Clemson beat FSU, not South Carolina. His point is valid. I still have a hard time coming to grips with it though. I know I am old school, but losing five in a row to FSU wouldn't be the big deal that is was with South Carolina.
Maybe that's the best way to sum it up. Beating Florida State may feel better than beating South Carolina. However, losing to South Carolina hurts more than losing to the 'Noles. They are not a national factor at this point. Beating Ohio State and Alabama felt better than the 56-7 win against South Carolina.
Our rival is broke right now, but I am not complaining, and I don't want to trade them in for a new one.
The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency
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