Sports, like politics, abounds in cliches. But the tired old maxim, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win,” isn’t likely to console many South Carolina Gamecock fans this week.
Indeed, some USC loyalists are now reverting to this bitter cliche: “What have you done for me lately?”
And they already know the answer: The Gamecocks, after soaring to a No. 3 Associated Press ranking by opening the season with six straight victories, have lost two in a row.
The first defeat, though disappointing, was quite respectable — a 23-21 heartbreaker at then-No. 9 LSU.
But Saturday’s 44-11 debacle at No. 3 Florida was much harder to take.
So was USC’s dive to No. 17 in this week’s AP poll — below both No. 12 Georgia and No. 14 Clemson.
Huh? On Oct. 6, USC routed Georgia, 35-7, in the Bulldogs’ only game against a currently ranked team. As for Clemson, it’s 0-1 against ranked teams — and 0-3 against the Gamecocks over the past three years.
Oh well, as any cliche-ready coach can tell you, the most important poll is the last one.
And in the all-important Bowl Championship Series standings, USC is still ranked above Clemson (No. 13 to No. 18) — though not above No. 10 Georgia.
Meanwhile, USC fans now in despair should remember: Though their Gamecocks have become long shots for the division and conference titles and are definitely out of the national-crown hunt, they can still win their fourth straight unofficial state championship on Nov. 24.
And regardless of athletic allegiance, we all should heed this enduring life lesson — and cliche — from sports:
You win some, you lose some.