Debunking the “Overall Record Defense”

(Editors Note: This blog post was written and scheduled to publish prior to the Dabo Swinney rant from yesterday. While this particular post is indeed timely, we will have more to say about the subject in the coming days.)

We get it every time we beat CTU,  the predictable “Overall Record Defense.”  I’m sure you’ve heard it multiple times:  “Sure, you guys might have won this one, but so what.   We still have a commanding [fill in series record]  lead in the overall series.”  The intent, of course, is to deflect attention from the fact that we won THIS YEAR and have bragging rights THIS YEAR.  A good friend of  TRC, let’s call him Moon Pie, was recently engaged in a spirited dialogue with a CTU supporter about the butt stomping administered last Saturday.  Said CTU supporter immediately dragged out the tired Overall Record Defense.  What follows is Moon Pie’s retort.  We are publishing  it here to expose this defense for what it is-more CTU delusionary garbage:  

After South Carolina’s 34-13 win over the Clemson Tigers last Saturday, the typical rivalry banter has been rampant. Truth be told, the Tigers made it pretty easy for the Gamecocks to talk smack. Between the “Shock the World Tour”, the head cheerleader’s rants on ESPN, Gatorade baths after taking down a 2-10 team, and even @Tahj10 taunting in the Twittersphere, the Tigers set themselves up for a tremendous fall. When they dropped 3 of their last 4, the Meltdown in Tatertown was in full gear.

In typical CTU fashion and with little else to brag about, a familiar mantra has been heard and it’s this last line of defense we’ll explore here. Unless you’ve been under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard some young punk with no perspective of history throw out “We own the overall series record.” Don’t blame him, it’s what he’s been taught by the cheaters to the west.

Since 1896, the Tigers are 65-40-4 against the Gamecocks, but let’s get real honest about a few things and speak the truth. For starters, a whole big chunk of that 25-win advantage occurred so early in the rivalry it’s almost shameful for them to brag. I mean, it’s like Spain bragging about the Armada. I simply don’t believe you can compare a “win” before the forward pass and facemasks were invented to a win seen nationally on ESPN. And another big chunk of those wins came during a dark time in the rivalry when Clemson was cheating so hard NCAA investigators rented homes in Easley. Clemson supporters got so bent out of shape after a blowout loss in Columbia they hit the road with a sack of money.  Charley Pell and Danny ended up looking like Johnny Appleseed with $100 bills.

A little History lesson:

Like all of the farm and tractor schools a century ago, Clemson put a huge priority on athletics. USC did not. The student body of South Carolina was mostly sons of the wealthy who were at the college to learn. Sports were intramurals. In 1894, Clemson’s farm boys joined an athletics conference. South Carolina didn’t do that until 21 years later. Heck, in 1906 the Gamecocks didn’t even field a team. It just didn’t matter to them back then. At Clemson, John Heisman was the coach. Their biggest rival was Georgia Tech. Touchdowns were worth the same number of points as field goals. It was not the same game. For Clemson to brag about wins in this era would be like the Green Bay Packers celebrating wins over the Governor’s School for the Arts. I don’t understand how Carolina won the games they did! It really didn’t get competitive until 1922 when South Carolina joined Clemson in the newly formed Southern Conference.

Farmers vs. City Boys, 1896 – 1921: Clemson 13 out of 19 with one tie. Clemson advantage +8.

Clemson joined the Southern Conference in 1921 and Carolina a year later. They played in the league together until 1952. Similar opponents, similar teams. Clemson won two conference championships, USC did not. When both teams left the SoCon for the ACC, their head-to-head record was Clemson 16 –USC  13. They tied twice. It’s pertinent to mention here that the Heisman trophy was originated in this era, and leather helmets went away, too (in 1949).

The Southern Conference years, 1922 – 1952: Clemson Advantage +3

Both teams were members of the ACC from 1953 to 1970. Clemson had a better program under Frank Howard. They won 6 ACC titles to Carolina’s 1. The teams played 18 times as ACC opponents. Each won 9. Clemson won the next two, then the ‘Cocks in ‘73 and right back to Clemson in ‘74, and that brought us to a Gamecock win in 1975 – The Year the Whole Thing Changed.

The ACC Years (plus a few), 1953 – 1975: Clemson 12 wins, USC 11 wins. Clemson Advantage +1

The 1975 Gamecocks behind QB Jeff Grantz scored 8 touchdowns in 8 possessions in a lopsided 56-20 win. The last TD was a pass with about a minute left. Clemson was mad and vowed:  “This will never happen again.” Their solution?  They amassed the best talent money could buy, and did it very well. Under Coaches Charley Pell and Danny Ford, Clemson won 4 of the next 5 before going undefeated in 1981, beating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, and buying a National Championship. The NCAA came snooping. No matter – they used their newly-minted national prominence to attract some great talent. They paid these guys so much they didn’t mind being on probation when the NCAA slapped Clemson with the worst penalties ever handed down by the infractions committee (prior to the SMU Death Penalty). And just when you thought they were done, they got caught again. Danny Ford couldn’t survive this time and he was forced out after 11 years. But he left one heck of a legacy – 11 wins in 15 tries over USC, A National Title, and a new name for the booster club: IPTAY —  It’s Probation Time Again, Y’all. Clemson spent more years on probation in the 80’s than Michael Jackson had hit records.

The Cheaters Era, 1976 – 1990: Clemson 11 out of 15 (one tie)

There is no way to quantify the unfair advantage Clemson gained in the overall series by cheating. There’s no doubt the games during these 15 years were tainted, but just how far can you carry the taint? In the 50 years prior to selling their soul for a handful of wins, Clemson held just a 4-game edge in the series. After abandoning morals, legalities, and decency, they won 24 of the next 37. Both schools had very bad coaching hires (Sparky Woods, Brad Scott, Tommy West) and Clemson was simply better in the ‘90s. After suffering through some very bad teams and 8 years in the SEC with inferior talent and coaching, the Gamecocks finally hired Lou Holtz and then Steve Spurrier and now have some SEC-caliber talent. The last three years have proved it.

The next time they start spouting off about the series record, ask if they know what happened in 1975. Remind them of Jeff Grantz and Charley Pell. Acknowledge they’ve won more conference titles, and congratulate them for that. Ask  if they had electricity on the farms when they scored about 20 of those wins. Then ask  if they are proud to tout Danny Ford’s record. When they wear that solid orange, does it make them feel like an inmate from the Pickens County Jail? Yes, you’ve got the overall record to hang your hat on, but is it worth your dignity? Are you proud your school built their program by severely cheating? Go ahead and crow about 65-40. Enjoy the Hokies on Saturday. Reflect on nearly 1100 days since you beat the Gamecocks. Jump up and down with your cheerleader coach. We’ll see you next year.  Oh, and get ready for 65-41 (that’s FOUR IN A ROW).

11 thoughts on “Debunking the “Overall Record Defense”

  1. 150 NCAA violations from 1978-1990.

    I expect more to come. Soon as Bellamy gets fed up and finally quits, he is going to squeal and tell everyone who the bag man was that dropped the $75g in his lap.

  2. Clemson was an average program before Pell and Ford. If what they did was done today, they would have had to vacate their “championship.” Just ask Southern Cal.

  3. Why stop after 1990? What has happened the past two decades? Clemson had a 13-5 advantage until the 09, 10 games including a pretty convincing win in 2003 in Columbia.

    South Carolina has a chance to win the decade rivalry for the 1st time since the 60’s since they are 1-0. This is also probably the best team in Gamecock history. The Cocks are planning on getting rings made if they win 11 games- not a title, not a division, just because. They also played the 2nd easiest schedule (other than Georgia) in the SEC. They still beat Clemson but so did NC State. Many teams would beat Clemson the way they have been playing the last 3 weeks.

    Keep coming up with theories to justify why and how Clemson has continued to dominate South Carolina over the history of the game. Right now, South Carolina has a better program and I would enjoy it while it lasts!

  4. Geezy – “right now South Carolina has a better program and I would enjoy it while it lasts.” We certainly will, but that statement implies that it will not last long at all. Why do you think that? What solid reasons do you have to put forth to convince anyone that Clemson will regain the upper hand in this series any time soon?

    Is it coaching?

    The strength of your conference?

    Your current crop of players?

    Because history says so?

    Good luck with all those brother.

    1. Sounds like “NEW MONEY” ya just don’t know how to act! Go ahead and take the chip off your shoulder. Oh, Charlie Whitehurst already got 4 in a row for Clemson not cheating.

  5. you know…Clemson has beaten South Carolina four games straight four different times in the 40 or so years since the last three in a row stretch for SC. If SC wins against CU at the rate they have in the last 5 years, the overall series will be tied up in the year 2136. If SC wins at the rate they have against CU in the last 10 Years, 20 Years, 30 Years, etc…then the series will never be tied up.

  6. You are a glorified idiot, if you look at the first of the history of this rivalry, Clemson beat your butt in your own back yard b/c they didn’t travel to Clemson. It was during the days when they played on the Thursday during the state fair. As for the comments, had Todd loser Ellis not opened his big mouth, with his asinine comment, “Like Coach Spurrier said, We aren’t LSU, we aren’t Alabama, but we sure aren’t Clemson either,” you might not be spouting off like you are. I have congratulated all of my USC friends on the win and will congratulate USC in general on the win. You won, you beat us fair and square. But you and the University of South Carolina are no angels either when it comes to the smack talk. Todd Ellis doesn’t have a leg to even stand on. He is currently dubbed as the worst sports broadcaster in college, and almost had the worst record for any Division one qb in D1 history as in his whopping 2.5 years he threw for 51 interceptions and conveniently got hurt to preserve what little reputation he has. If you are going to spout crap at least get it right. Just for the record, who did Carolina play yesterday? Oh wait, that’s right….NOBODY b/c they let Georgia get by….

  7. Yo Taters, I’ll give you the 90’s — we sucked. And you have the slight edge 6-4 in the last 10 meetings. I think it’s hilarious (and quite sad, actually) that so many of you simply ignore the fact you rose to “national prominence” (if you can call it that) on the backs of 15 years of purposeful, institutionalized breaking of the rules. Would players like Charlie Whitehurst have even CONSIDERED Clemson had it not been for the “success” of the 80’s? Probably not. And that’s the point. You were average (.526 win percentage) in the 50 years before the cheating and significantly better (.650) since then BECAUSE of the cheating.

    And let’s also be sure to point out your .650 win percentage came in the ACC, a conference Jeff Saragin’s power rankings put 5th out of 6 BCS automatic qualifiers. Thank God for the Big East, I guess. And I’ll give you this was a down year for the SEC overall — we slipped to second behind the Big 12. The ACC’s highest ranked team — Clemson — would be 6th in the SEC. Only three ACC teams would be in the TOP 10 of the SEC, and two of those were the “hired guns” brought in to give your weak-ass conference some football credibility (Virginia Tech at #25 and Florida State at #28). I understand it’s difficult for you idiots to grasp when you play an All Cup Cake schedule, you win more games. Facts are facts.

    So congratulations for winning the A-She-She title this year. You are royalty: The Kings of the Crap.

    Sagarin Ratings ==>

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