Lots of South Carolinians rejoiced Monday night when Clemson rallied to edge LSU, 25-24, in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Lots of South Carolinians rejoiced Tuesday afternoon when South Carolina rallied to edge Michigan, 33-28, in the Outback Bowl.
But not enough South Carolinians celebrated both outcomes.
Thatís because the intensity of the rivalry between Tiger and Gamecock fans often drives too many of them to root against each other even when their teams arenít playing each other.
Some folks take that animus so far that they would root against our stateís other big-time sports college if it played Taliban Tech.
So when USCís Dylan Thompson threw the winning touchdown pass to former Berkeley High star Bruce Ellington with 11 seconds left Tuesday in Tampa, some Clemson fans suffered a letdown from Monday nightís elation.
And some USC loyalists, while ecstatic over that thrilling Outback comeback, still wish Clemsonís Chandler Catanzaro had missed that decisive field-goal attempt on the final play in Atlanta.
Such attitudes arenít just unfriendly toward your fellow South Carolinians. Theyíre unrealistic about the mission of boosting your own teamís reputation.
With ďstrength of scheduleĒ increasingly crucial in the rankings, savvy fans know that itís better for USC when Clemson is good, and vice versa.
When your rival is a winner, victories over it are more impressive ó and losses less embarrassing.
For instance, USCís 27-17 triumph at Clemson on Nov. 24 drew considerable national attention because both teams entered that game ranked in The Associated Pressí top 13.
And while our state rates lowly in too many national categories, weíre likely to have two teams in the top 12 (and maybe even higher) of the AP post-bowls poll next week.
USC and Clemson, with 11 victories each, also have set a record for combined victories in a single season with 22.
So go Gamecocks. Go Tigers.
As for particularly hardheaded fans, go ahead and try to understand that having a winning archrival is a positive proposition.
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