We’re on a three week journey examining the fanbases of each of the fourteen SEC schools. Yesterday was Tennessee; today we’ll stay in the SEC East and examine the Gamecocks.

When you think of South Carolina, what do you think of? Of late, the Gamecocks have been a pesky bunch. Their fans are passionate, but the source of that passion, like Texas A&M, is somewhat of a mystery.

As we pointed out in our review of Alabama, our first in this series, Tide fans are spoiled. It’s easy to hate someone who is spoiled, because they usually have enjoyed privileges and luxuries you haven’t.

It’s easy to be a fan of a dominant football program like Alabama. But while at South Carolina it’s harder, one could argue it means so much more.

If you’re a South Carolina fan, say, younger than thirty, you have lived the glory years of South Carolina football. Though Gamecock football began in 1892, you’ve witnessed all six of South Carolina’s bowl wins. Eighteen bowl appearances, dating back to 1946, and six wins…the first coming in 1995 under Brad Scott in the Carquest Bowl.

The bowl win capping a 7-5 season in 1994 would be the lone shining moment for Scott, who was succeeded by the legendary Lou Holtz in 1999. The spittle-riddled coach would finish his career at USCe 33-37, highlighted by back-to-back wins over Ohio State in consecutive Outback Bowls.

As a Gamecock fan, it had never been any better. Let that sink in for moment.

South Carolina fans wearing camo so you won’t be able to see them rooting for South Carolina.

Then came Stephen Orr Spurrier. When Steve Spurrier’s failed NFL experiment came to a painful end, the University of Florida had a coach, and a good one in Urban Meyer. So the ole ball coach decided to combine his two loves––golf and coaching, and the Palmetto state was the perfect landing strip for both.

Spurrier’s track record of creating momentary success at a historically failed program, then acting like it has always been that way, made him a perfect fit for South Carolina. After taking the SEC by storm at Florida in the 1990’s, resulting in just one National Championship (despite a lopsided talent level at Florida during his tenure there), Spurrier fled a then dominant Tennessee program in its prime to try out pro football. When it was time to re-invent himself in the college game, and news broke that his new place would be Columbia, SC, the Gamecock faithful couldn’t believe their ears.

Again, as a Gamecock fan, it had never been any better.

The team that owns just one conference championship in its 121 year history (in 1969 while a member of the ACC) suddenly had what was then thought to be one of the premiere coaches in college football.

To quote the Beck song, Loser, Carolina fans thought “Things are gonna change…I can feel it!”

And to a degree, they were right. In Spurrier’s time at South Cackalacky he has doubled the number of bowl wins in the program’s history…from 3 to 6. In his eight years Spurrier has compiled an impressive 66-37 record. Some point to Nick Saban being 68-13, with two more wins in two less years on the job, but as Spurrier pointed out last spring, that’s no big deal at a place like Alabama.

Spurrier finally got the Gamecocks to Atlanta, their first appearance, winning the SEC East in the 2010 football season. Though they were skull-dragged by Auburn in its semicentennial run at importance, just being there was enough. You know?

A USCe fan celebrates South Carolina’s lone trip to the SEC Championship, where they were systematically dismantled.

Most notably, Spurrier has reversed the trend of losing to South Carolina’s arch, in-state rival, Clemson. Though the Tigers still hold a commanding 65-41-4 advantage, the Gamecocks have won 5 out of the last 7 while he’s been there. And as any Auburn fan will tell you, beating your rival should be your primary goal.

Why is all this history important? Why are we making fun of the University of South Carolina football program, pointing out its empty history from the standpoint of national relevance?

Because South Carolina has great fans. They have seen the Gamecocks do virtually nothing in their entire lives, and yet they pack Williams-Brice Stadium with 80,250 strong every home game.

The only point of discomfort with the Gamecocks is their love, maybe even preoccupation, for the word “Cocks.” The Gamecock fan will throw that word around like a Waffle House cook slings hash. The word, of course, is an obvious and open slang phallic reference to the male reproductive organ, and yet they’ll spray it everywhere. Hats, shirts, cars…even a toddler’s onesy…it doesn’t matter.

It’s uncomfortable, but hey. The Gamecocks know who they are, and they love their team. They love cheering their team as it runs onto the field to the song that began the movie Planet of the Apes. And it’s for this the Gamecocks are personally one of my favorite fanbases in the SEC.

Past reviews:
Alabama – February 11
Texas A&M – February 12
Tennessee – February 13

Tomorrow:
Vanderbilt


(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)

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21 Responses to “FAN REVIEW: South Carolina fans––some history, more phallic references” Subscribe

  1. Crimsonite February 14, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Not exactly an in depth investigation into their fanbase, and not a single word about their traditions unless you are insinuating that their only tradition is being a Dick. LMAO! Not even a word about SOS’s sarcastic humor. Com’on guys, try a little harder. Maybe you can milk more than the pathetic 36 posts on the Tennessee thread which was 25% of the aTm thread and of which 50% were Idiot Vol saying “Fuck You BamaTurds”. RTR!

    • ITK February 14, 2013 at 11:56 am #

      Maybe it’s because they don’t have any real traditions. And if you read closer, SOS is covered pretty well.

      The story of the South Carolina’s enduring fandome despite historical irrelevance IS the story. Their tradition is sucking, yet being for the Gamecocks anyway.

      “Spurrier’s track record of creating momentary success at a historically failed program, then acting like it has always been that way, made him a perfect fit for South Carolina.”

    • Indiana Vol February 14, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      Once again TURDBRAIN, you confirm my assertion of the uneducated, inbred, Bammer MORONS!

  2. bamabino February 14, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Their 2010 win over a 10-3 Bama team is their crowning achievement,.That and watching Clowney is about all they have to cheer about.

    • ITK February 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

      Do you think there’s anything to the speculation that Clowney might sit out 2013 to save himself for the draft? If so, there goes their other reason for existence.

      • bamabino February 14, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

        I think that story was just stupid journalism. After Clowney leaves next season though, S.C. will be in the cheer for desert.

  3. CRIMSON HAMMAH February 14, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    for 100 yrs sc football has sucked …and for 100 yrs the sc fans have supported their team passionately cudos to them and the one cock fan i’ve known personally matched the reputation

  4. pete4tide February 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    2:30 in the afternoon after this story was posted this morning, and only 5 comments? And one of them is Indy chiming in with an idiot comment to call everyone names like he’s still out on the middle school playground. The SC Gamec*cks have an even more pathetic fanbase than UCheaT! Looks like the only true fans so far are at Bama and aTm.

    • ITK February 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

      I’ll be honest, the TAMU reaction took me by surprise. There’s a lot of pride in that weird, quirky, freak-mob.

  5. The Conduit February 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    I’ve lived the past few years in South Carolina, but closer to Clemson than Columbia, SC.

    But Clemson fans are very, very sore losers. They aren’t even much fun when they win, often, in my experience.

    USC fans, on the other hand, know how to have fun. I remember when they came to Tuscaloosa about a decade ago. Alabama wasn’t great, but we smacked the Gamecocks down pretty bad anyway. But the fans? They just came to play. It was such a pure kind of culture—-rather than having rabid fans obsessed with the victories of the past, they enjoy the actual day that is a Fall Saturday. That game where they beat Alabama in 2010, I knew so many people going to that game that said, with a smile on their face, the Gamecocks had no chance against Alabama.

    They were ready for a party either way, but they played a near-flawless game of football, with a packed house, perfect weather, against the defending national champs. If you’re going to lose, wow, it doesn’t get any better than that. Losing by 5 missed field goals hurts. The loss to USC was at least something you could respect.

    That’s another thing—-“USC” is what they call it here. Everyone here calls it “USC.” Everyone everywhere else calls So Cal “USC,” not South Carolina.

    I like the Gamecocks. Even their colors are sharp.

    And no helmet stickers. I can’t stand helmet stickers.

    Plus it’s fun to yell “COCKS.” Try it. Go on.

    Roll Tide.

    • ITK February 14, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      No I completely agree. That’s what makes them so intriguing is their propensity to live in the moment. They’re like a person who comes into “new money,” spending it and having fun.

      You have to look at a fanbase’s history to get a glimpse of how they got to be who they are, so I couldn’t ignore the puzzling history of a team that owns two championships of any kind (one conference, one division). But there’s something there that makes them radical, but not confrontational.

      They really are one of my favorites.

  6. Crimsonite February 14, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    You love yelling Cocks? Not sure I’d be passing out that kind of info on the net. Anything else anout Cocks you want to get off your chest or just plain ‘get off’? ROTFLMAO!

  7. Crassus February 15, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    South Carolina and Oregon State should be required to play each other every year in every NCAA sponsored varsity sport.

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