The “other” Carolina is the No. 1 national seed in the NCAA baseball tournament, and the home of Andy Griffith.
Our beloved Carolina has yummier shrimp and grits and, for the last three years of Omaha royalty, a better college baseball team.
South Carolina vs. North Carolina in a super regional starting today at Chapel Hill's Boshamer Stadium demands a comparison, on and off the diamond.
Two Carolinas, one scorecard:
• Barbeque. German-influenced mustard based vs. the various stuff they serve in Lexington, Eastern North Carolina and elsewhere.
Edge: It's an acquired yellowy taste
• Mountains. Aching quadriceps in the vast Pisgah National Forest don't lie.
Edge: North Carolina
• Handling baseball pressure. The Tar Heels certainly came through Monday night in a 12-11, 13-inning, winner-take-all Chapel Hill Regional victory over Florida Atlantic. But these Gamecocks this season swept a series at LSU before the largest, craziest crowds in college baseball.
“We've gone and played in tough places,” South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook said. “We're looking at it as another SEC-type road weekend series. We've been fortunate around here to win our fair share of road series.”
• Jadeveon Clowney vs. the Tar Heels' entire basketball starting five.
• Barney Fife vs. Rhett Butler. Shall we check with Scarlett?
Edge: The “visitor from Charleston”
Catfish vs. Mookie
• Town names: North Carolina has Bat Cave, Black Mountain, Foxfire, Kill Devil Hills and Lizard Lick. South Carolina has Due West, Green Sea, Ninety Six, North, Pumpkintown and Possum Kingdom.
Edge: South of the Border says it all
• Super regional names: The Gamecocks' Joey Pankake vs. the Tar Heels' Skye Bolt.
• Pitching. North Carolina has better depth, but don't wager against Nolan Belcher, Jordan Montgomery, Jack Wynkoop and closer Tyler Webb.
Edge: The ghost of Michael Roth
• Beaches. North Carolina ranks No. 7 in the nation in miles of coastline, South Carolina No. 11 (Alaska is No. 1 but has never hosted a Super Regional).
Edge: Warmer overall quality over the Outer Banks
• NASCAR. Junior Johnson, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt trump Cale Yarborough, David Pearson and all other states combined.
Edge: Moonshine routes
• Presidential history. Andrew Jackson was born in South Carolina, James Polk and Andrew Johnson in North Carolina. S.C. claims former candidate Stephen Colbert.
Edge: Colbert '16
• Hitting. Freshman Max Schrock has added to a dangerous Gamecocks offense but North Carolina is loaded beyond clean-up hitter Colin Moran.
Edge: Carolina blue
• Wright Brothers vs. Boeing.
• Baseball lore. North Carolina claims seven native-born Hall of Famers, including Catfish Hunter and Gaylord Perry. South Carolina has only three (Larry Doby, Jim Rice, Ben Taylor). But the Palmetto State rallies with the colorful stories of Shoeless Joe Jackson, Van Lingle Mungo, Bobo Newsome, Hurricane Hazle, Dooley Womack, Willie Mays Aikens, Mookie Wilson, Pokey Reese and Gookie Dawkins.
Edge: Mookie played for the Gamecocks
'A great opportunity'
• James Taylor vs. Darius Rucker. Listen to “Carolina In My Mind” and see if there is anything distinctive in the lyrics about the state of North Carolina.
Edge: That “Hootie” guy
• Beverages. Pepsi and Cheerwine were invented in North Carolina. Diet Pepsi, too. But the tea is always sweeter this side of Bat Cave.
Edge: Less belching
• Beach music. Ocean Drive is close to North Carolina, but not quite inside.
Edge: Myrtle Beach
• College football. The states have combined for one national title, Clemson's in 1981.
• NFL. Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson went to Wofford and his team holds training camp there.
Edge: Charlotte, a Fort Mill suburb
• Spin. Holbrook and his players love the underdog role.
“We're playing the No. 1 national seed,” Holbrook said. “We've got a great opportunity. We don't have anything to lose. That's what I've told the team: 'Hey, we've got everything to gain here. We have nothing to lose.' Hopefully, that'll relax our guys a little bit. It's relaxed me and let me sleep a little bit better.”
Edge: Professor Holbrook
• College basketball. “No contest, baby!” as Dick Vitale would say.
Edge: Michael Jordan, Dean Smith, David Thompson, Coach K, Christian Laettner's shot against Kentucky.
• Lousy NBA teams run by owners who were much better as players. Hint: An underdog against Duke.
Edge: N.C., and the woeful Charlotte Jordans.
• Smackdowns. Professional wrestling showman Vince McMahon was born in N.C. and went to East Carolina. Then there's legendary Post and Courier wrestling columnist Mike Mooneyham.
Edge: Nothing fake about Mooneyham
• Gamecocks vs. Tar Heels in a fresh Border Battle. Best two-out-of-three. It won't be boring.
Edge: (South) Carolina in three games
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff
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