There’s probably no bigger indicator of the state of a rivalry than the paroxysms of rage that emanate from your opponent. Accordingly, we are all edified and somewhat amused by the behavior of our orange-clad brethren in these few days following the 34-13 Carolina domination of CTU. Their spastic and enraged reaction tell us, even more than the outcome of the game on Saturday, that South Carolina has absolutely passed Clemson as a football program.
For example, Upstate SC listeners of WCCP-fm (The Flagship Station for Clemson Athletics) will have noticed several interesting developments, such as Mickey Plyler suddenly becoming enamored with all things basketball, Mark Sturgis developing a sudden fascination with the intricacies of the BCS, and Dan Scott loudly proclaiming himself to be a West Virginia Mountaineer. You may have also noticed a majority of WCCP callers now identifying themselves as Bama grads or lifelong Georgia fans.
Similarly, the aisle of your local Dollar General may seem broader this last week, as many Tiger fans are opting to stay home and feed their hurt feelings rather than shop for more partially hydrogenated essentials at the discount market.
The internet can offer up other examples. Witness one in particular, a CTU fan blog (looks like a rough equivalent of this space) that recently published a story by someone named C.F. McFadden. I’m not familiar with Mr. McFadden, but as that is a tradition-rich Clemson name, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on his claim to have “covered college football all over the Southeast.” But his story (or his blog post, to be more technically correct) is so desperately angry, so full of half-baked rationalizations, that it only serves to underscore my thesis. That point being, ironically, the same as the misplaced title Mr. McFadden prepends to his post, “Because I Dominate You“, but referring instead to Carolina’s now three game win streak over the hapless Tigers.
First, let me point out the lack of source attribution to the picture of Jesco White that begins the article. I’m not particularly sure if this picture is supposed to serve as an avatar for Mr. McFadden, or a representation of the average Clemson fan, but without a single reference to it in the article (or even an explanatory caption under the photo) we are only left to speculate. He can’t intend the photo to represent a Carolina fan, as Jesco is a denizen of the Appalachians and not the Midlands. Or perhaps the author is unaware of the history behind the photo, which strikes me as a more likely choice given the mind-numbing mistakes that occur elsewhere in the article.
For example, the post appears to be written in English for the most part, but contains cryptic and/or apocryphal references such as “call an apple and apple” (does that mean calling two apples?) and “South Carolina fans interact with Clemson fans – and vice versa” (interaction implies a back-and-forth exchange, doesn’t it? Why append the “vice versa” unless you are ignorant of the meaning of the chosen verb?).
Also there is a central assertion in the article that Carolina fans “throw out the SEC chant [no other SEC school does that]” and the companion claim that the rest of the SEC makes fun of the Gamecock faithful for doing so. Now I’m no technical savant, but I do know that typing the name of a school along with the phrase “SEC chant” into the magic Google box is an easy fact-check on this asinine claim. I know, because I did it, and received a myriad of responses, including these three from Georgia, Auburn, and Florida, respectively:
But the penultimate example of Mr. McFadden’s huge blind spot, his utter inability to recognize his own defeatist desperation, is when he opines thusly:
And when the fans get so wound up – eyes red, fists shaking, spit flying – after a WIN, it shows there is just something inherently wrong with them. They know that no matter the score, there is no respect. Nor should there be.
Why is this so ironic? Why does it show Mr. McFadden’s complete buffoonery? Keep the above quote in mind, and remember this:
In the end, the article stands for the basic proposition that Carolina fans are no longer subservient to Clemson fans. This lack of submission is obviously frightening to the Clemson faithful. Their collective reactions, including diversion, avoidance, and written vitriol, only establishes one thing, however:
We’ve passed them, and they know it.