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Opposites Attracts Flies In The Carolinas

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 11, 2007

A long time ago, I once dated a girl I met in a campus bookstore two days after Hurricane Katrina hit the city of New Orleans while I was attending Southwest Tennessee Community College.

Truth of the matter was the because of our personalities (hers was more quiet and mine’s was much more brash and open) and families (hers was much more close-knit and mine was, well, distant and afraid to love or accept someone for who they were), as well as an intervention with one of my slacker friends, things between her and I fizzled before school let out.

The same thing could be said when it comes to the Tar Heels-Gamecocks rivalry in football, which will be renewed again when the #7 Gamecocks play Saturday in Chapel Hill against a Tar Heel team that is looking for nothing more than a dent in the Gamecocks’ shot at a possible BCS Bowl bid, and another shot at Spurrier, who infamously posed with his Duke squad in front of the Kenan Stadium scoreboard after thrashing them 41-0 in 1989 en route to the 1989 ACC Championship, something that still rankles the feathers of the locals in Chapel Hill nearly 20 years after it happened.

The border that separates the two states could easily be an extra-long measuring tape or, in baseball terms, a tape-measure homer hit by Ryan Howard. when it comes to football.

According to Seth Emerson, who writes for The State newspaper in Columbia, his Tar Heel alum friend, who happens to be an attorney in Washington D.C., spoke about the battle of the Carolinas and he quickly stated that if, by the grace of God, the Tar Heels are ranked #1 and the Blue Devils are #2 in the football polls and a basketball scrimmage is taking place across the street at Cameron Indoor or Dean Smith Center, chances are the people are going to pick basketball over football because it’s something that has been ingrained in them from birth.

Can you blame them?

North Carolina’s football history is, without question, superior to the Gamecocks’ football history as far as success is concerned — Tar Heels have made 25 Bowl appearances to the Gamecocks’ 13.

Not to mention that the Gamecocks have only one Conference Championship in their history while members of the ACC, winning it in 1969 under Paul Dietzel, while the Tar Heels have 9 Conference Championships and 5 ACC Championships, the last coming in 1980 with Dick Crum at the helm.

But when you look at the bigger picture, the Tar Heels’ faithful use football as a way to kill time before the basketball season while the Gamecock Nation uses football as a life-teaching tool.

“Boy,” the father would say to his son on the fishing dock, “you can be a hero like Steve Taneyhill against Tennessee in 1992 or a zero like Brad Scott if you catch a big one.”

“But what if I don’t catch one?” the son would ask.

“Hell,” he would say, “As long you’re not a Clemson Tiger, I’ll still love you no matter what.”

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