The University of South Carolina student newspaper, The Daily Gamecock, recently published an editorial titled "Clemson: we need to talk". This is The Tiger's response.
Dear little brother,
We’re honored to hear that you’re worried about us!
In fact, we’re a little surprised to hear from you at all. We don’t think about you too much these days. We see our relationship a lot like a hammer would see a nail. And, to be honest, it’s a little weird to hear the nail tell the hammer that it’s not hitting hard enough.
You said a few things in your letter to us that we’d like to address, if we may.
We do have a love for a big, dumb rock because it’s a symbol of playing at maximum effort and then a little more. It inspires our players to win, something they’ve done quite well. We love that our players will go out there and give it all they have. It shows heart. You should try getting a rock. They can do amazing things.
Our fans and students do love our school, we admit. Sometimes those fans get carried away and write genuine, heartfelt, personal love letters to the university. And to tell you the truth, we’d rather have them write love letters than be ejected from sporting events.
To be fair to you, all good rivalries involve a certain amount of name-calling, rude gesturing and lighthearted tomfoolery. But we'd call last year a little...much.
We have a lot of agricultural majors here at Clemson. This is because it was originally a land grant university that focused on training the farmers of the Upstate. Turfgrass may not be the most applicable major outside of agriculture, but we're trying to understand where the Dance (B.A.) major can be applied at all.
You brought up names (specifically the name “Clemson Tigers”) which puts us in a pretty uncomfortable position. Now we have to address the fact that your mascot is literally a rooster that was bred for a blood sport. And, to be frank, that’s a real conversation stopper.
Not only is the Gamecock an uncomfortable animal to celebrate, but it gives your students and fans an honest-to-God reason to wear and yell “GO COCKS” in public. We can’t tell if that’s just poor taste or a serious oversight.
The last, and most important point as far as names are concerned, is the fact that South Carolina lost a legal battle about its own identity. In 2010, a federal court officially settled the debate of whether South Carolina or Southern California had the right to use “USC” on sports clothing and apparel. The Trojans won that battle and the Gamecocks have been salty ever since. So yes, we may not have the most original mascot, but at least no one can take away the fact that we can put “Clemson” on our shirts.
We do agree though, we should find some common ground before the big game.
You mentioned “stick[ing] it to those Bulldogs.” We really have to ask: Do you mean the Georgia Bulldogs? Or the Citadel Bulldogs?
We would understand if you meant the Georgia Bulldogs. They play in your conference and have an ornery habit of putting it to you, whereas we could play them in the College Football Playoffs. That’s common ground we can get behind.
But if you meant the Citadel Bulldogs, we’d feel like we were kicking a dead horse. They’re an in-state college, sure, but we beat them enough that we really don’t have to worry about it (you both have that in common). If you’re worried about finishing second to the Citadel, we might be able to help.
Instead, let’s find common ground by agreeing that we both want to see a clean, respectful game this weekend; from both the fans and the players.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we’ll see you on Saturday.