This is long(and a few years old)...but an interesting piece. For Carolina fans, all the ammo you need is the facts.
Following the 2003 season South Carolina has an all-time winning percentage under .500 (494-502-44), which ranks 88th all-time in D-1A football...only 29 programs have been worse. A few of the notable football programs who have been better than the Gamecocks include such powerhouses as: Duke, Western Michigan, Toledo, Navy, UAB, Central Florida, Ball St., North Texas, Nevada, East Carolina, Houston, Northern Illinois, Utah St., San Jose St., Vanderbilt, Akron, Baylor, UNLV, Kansas, and Rutgers just to name a few. This is Carolina Gamecock football.
In the 59 seasons Carolina has been affiliated with a conference, they have won that conference once...the ACC in 1969, with a 7-4 record. Since the Associated Press began ranking football teams in 1936, the Cocks have finished in the Top 20 of the rankings only five times in the 67 years. Carolina has never finished in the Top 10 of a major recognized poll...NEVER. The first year of Gamecock football was in 1892, Carolina won its first bowl game 103 years later under BRAD SCOTT. In 109 seasons of football, Carolina has yet to participate in one of the “Big 5” Bowls (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Cotton). Guess what? As Carolina is set to begin its 110th season of collegiate football, they have won 10 or more games in a single season once. In 110 seasons, Carolina has won more games than it lost only 50 times. In 110 seasons, Carolina has won 6 or more games in a season 33 times, and lost 6 or more 35 times. This is Carolina Gamecock football.
South Carolina has had 32 different head coaches in its storied tradition...only five of them stayed longer than 5 seasons, 21 of them have losing records. Add to that the winning tradition the Cocks have enjoyed at home in Williams-Brice Stadium. Carolina is 18-36-1 at home in conference since joining the SEC. Lou Holtz is the devil. It’s another Carolina Touchdown!?…not quite. Of the 56 programs, which have played more than 1000 games all-time, only four have scored fewer points than South Carolina in their schools history.
Since joining the SEC in 1992, Carolina has had a winning record in the conference twice. In the eleven seasons as a member of the SEC, Carolina boasts a conference record of 33-62-1…only two teams have been worse: Kentucky has 26 wins, Vanderbilt 11. Although Carolina has yet to finish in the top two of the Eastern division, they have finished last twice. Carolina has yet to win six conference games in a season, something only Kentucky and Vanderbilt have done in the last 11 seasons. And no one should forget the fact that Carolina went two consecutive seasons without winning one conference game, not one. Carolina had an impressive string of 21 consecutive games with a loss snapped in 2000 by beating New Mexico State (then let the rest of the country know what Carolina football was all about by tearing down the goal-posts). Since 1992, only three times has any non-probation member of the conference failed to win two or more games overall in a season…South Carolina has accomplished this feat twice, Kentucky once. Since 1992, only once has a conference member failed to win a game overall in a single season…you guessed it, South Carolina.
South Carolina’s all-time record versus other current conference members is even more impressive: 2-9 vs Alabama, 4-8 vs Arkansas, 1-4-1 vs Auburn, 3-18-3 vs Florida, 13-41-2 vs Georgia, 8-6-1 vs Kentucky, 2-14-1 vs LSU, 5-7 vs Ole Miss, 5-6 vs Mississippi St., 2-18-2 vs Tennessee, and 11-2 vs Vanderbilt. That’s correct, Carolina leads the all-time series against 2 SEC teams...Kentucky and Vanderbilt. This is Carolina Gamecock football.
But, the comparison of only 12 seasons in one conference does no justice to the tradition of South Carolina football. So lets compare the Cocks record versus D-1A schools they have played 20 or more times: 36-61-4 vs Clemson, 17-24-3 vs Duke, 3-18-3 vs Florida, 13-41-2 vs Georgia, 9-12 vs Georgia Tech,11-17 vs Maryland, 16-34-4 vs North Carolina, 25-26-4 vs North Carolina State, 2-18-2 vs Tennessee, 21-12-1 vs Virginia, and 34-20-2 vs Wake Forest. William Brice is a crap hole. That’s correct, Carolina leads the all-time series against 2 of these 11 teams...Virginia and Wake Forest. This is Carolina Gamecock football.
Gamecock fans justify their horrible football record thru the strength of the SEC conference. But let’s look at the Gamecock’s record against the other big 4 conferences. South Carolina is 172-221-18 vs the ACC, 6-8 vs the Big 12, 22-26-5 vs the Big East, and 3-5 vs the Big Ten. This is Carolina Gamecock Football.
But all this tradition and past records are meaningless. What is more important is the recent history. Only losers live in the past. We are in the best years of Carolina Gamecock football, and the future has never been brighter...or has it? Carolina is coming off another losing season, the 9th in the last 13 seasons. Overall record since “the legend” Lou Holtz became Head Coach: 27-32 (0.458) . Since 1995: 43-59-1. Since Joining the SEC: 60-75-1. Since 1990 South Carolina is 69-86-3. Carolina has finished in the Top 15 once in the past 15 seasons, and been to three bowl games in that span. This is Carolina Gamecock football.
2003 would be the year that Holtz previous recruiting seasons would begin to pay dividends. The team no longer had any ‘cancers’ and was again united. Team unity, young stars, and maturity at QB would get South Carolina back to a New Years Day Bowl game. Your most hated rival would be down and a Carolina victory at home on the seasons last game would likely lead to the departure of the rival coaching staff. The best High School Running Back to ever step on a field made a pledge in February to attend South Carolina, and bring glory to Columbia. That Running Back ended the season by leading the team with 58 yards per game rushing in his first season in Columbia…3 Freshmen Running Backs in the conference were better. Your QB who had matured, and finally had a grasp of the offense? He finished with the lowest completion percentage in the conference, as well as the fewest yards. Again, it was a sub .500 record overall, 2-6 in the conference, another 0-for against the Big 3 from the East. And the season finale that would send your in-state rival back to the drawing board and end the coaching career of Tommy Bowden instead ended in a 46-point home loss.
Seventeen of Twenty-two starters returned for 2004, and with it came high expectations. Returning was your entire offensive backfield. You brought in a new defensive coordinator who was going to implement a new scheme that would be a better fit for your young defensive talent. On offense, Lou took over play calling duties and was supposed take Carolina to the top by grinding it out on the ground. And when your Senior QB would be presented with the situation when he must throw, Coach Holtz said he was going to “shock the conference”. The season began with a blowout win over Vanderbilt, and a 16-point lead midway through the second quarter over highly touted Georgia. But, then the reality of what the true description of South Carolina football is occurred, South Carolina wouldn’t score again until the South Florida game. When the season ended, this group of Gamecocks etched their name next to failures of the past. Once again South Carolina failed to reach the postseason. Once again, they ended conference play without a winning record. For the third season in a row they went 0-4 against the big three from the East and in state rival Clemson. The lopsided defeats in the 2004 contests against these four teams brought the total point differential margin to 191 points that Carolina has been outscored by in those four “rivalry” games over the last three seasons. South Carolina has allowed 23 or more points in nine of those games, and scored 23 or more only once. The Quarterback who was going to “shock the conference” didn’t make it to the third game of the season. Gamecock players gave Coach Holtz an early retirement gift during the final contest of the season in a 22-point loss to Clemson by delaying the game nearly ten minutes midway through the fourth quarter. The reason for the delay was frustrated South Carolina players started an ugly on-field altercation. The actions led to a postseason ban by the University. A team that had positioned itself to accomplish what only 11 teams before them had accomplished, instead took their place in Gamecock history as the 100th team that failed to reach postseason. Coach Holtz called the scene, his “biggest disappointment.” For many it was just another chapter of “This is South Carolina football.”