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Spurrier v. Swinney

Posted: July 31, 2014 12:01 p.m.
Updated: August 1, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Everyone knows that when it comes to sports, football reigns supreme here in Kershaw County and South Carolina. Whereas basketball might be the top sport in neighboring North Carolina, it’s a distant second -- or probably even third -- here in the Palmetto State. And these are heady times for gridiron enthusiasts of both the University of South Carolina and Clemson; both teams have enjoyed success in the past few seasons, and that momentum has carried over into recruiting, in which both schools are piling up classes that are among the nation’s best.

The schools’ coaches, Steve Spurrier of South Carolina and Dabo Swinney of Clemson, have been taking jabs at each other over the past few years. The Gamecocks have won bragging rights recently, having downed the Tigers five straight times, and that has only intensified the rivalry. And if you listened to the coaches’ comments, you might infer that they really don’t like each other at all.

But we’re reminded of the old days of professional wrestling, when the grapplers used to look into television cameras and vow to vanquish their hated rivals the next week. It was all part of the schtick, of course, meant to sell tickets and generate enthusiasm. And while Spurrier and Swinney might not sit down to break bread together on a regular basis, we imagine they’re both aware of the promotional value of a few barbed comments. Spurrier’s the master of the verbal arrow, even slinging them at Nick Saban, the national championship master at Alabama. But Swinney’s catching on, too.

There’s nothing wrong with all this. Rivalries seldom run deeper than the one between Clemson and South Carolina, and the two coaches are doing everything they can to help the cause. A little huckstering on the part of the coaches just makes things more interesting.


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