USC, Clemson bowl streaks should trump SEC/ACC pride

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has four consective bowl wins and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has won three in a row. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

It's too much to ask South Carolina Gamecock fans to publicly exchange Russell Athletic Bowl high-fives in celebration of Clemson's 40-6 stomping of Oklahoma.

Clemson fans cannot be expected to purchase Duck Commander Independence Bowl duck calls to commemorate the Gamecocks' 24-21 victory over Miami.

But it's socially acceptable for football enthusiasts all over South Carolina to embrace Palmetto State bowl pride.

Regardless of what happens in the Oregon-Ohio State national championship game Monday night, South Carolina is the only state with two schools that have won bowl games each of the last three seasons.

Take that Alabama, Texas, Florida, Ohio, California and North Carolina. And other states with more FCS programs than a quarreling couple.

Clemson has consecutive wins over LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma. Which means the Tigers beat national championship-winning coaches Les Miles, Urban Meyer and Bob Stoops.

South Carolina has eight total bowl wins but four in a row - Nebraska, Michigan, Wisconsin and Miami.

So, to update Palmetto State status with vital statistics taken post-GoDaddy Bowl: No. 40 in land area, No. 24 in population, No. 1 in recent bowl consistency.

Conference pride?

Overrated, overstated. Hopefully just over, at least for several months.

The big, bad SEC went 7-5 in bowl games.

The best SEC win, rankings-wise, was Georgia's Belk Bowl victory over No. 20 Louisville. Alabama has lost two bowl games in a row. The state of Mississippi longs for October. Where have you gone, Matt Flynn?

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher evidently saw it coming, ripping perceived SEC dominance in December.

"The perception is driven home. It's amazing how you can brainwash somebody," Fisher said. "If you're not careful in this country, you won't think for yourself. If you listen to news all the time, they'll tell you what to think, how to think and why you do things. That's why you have to make your own mind up and trust your own eyes and do it."

That sounded OK after the ACC went 4-0 against the SEC on rivalry weekend, not so good after the ACC bowl season ended with Oregon's 59-20 beatdown of the Seminoles in the Rose Bowl.

The ACC finished 4-7 in bowl games (unless you count Notre Dame's Music City Bowl win over LSU). Georgia Tech's Orange Bowl upset of No. 8 Mississippi State is the ACC's lone bowl victory over a ranked team.

The brotherhood/sisterhood of traveling fans makes corporate sense. All SEC boats rise with the Tide.

But this conference pride thing is fairly new, mostly confined to football and not nearly as prevalent outside the SEC.

Shouts of "S-E-C! S-E-C!" didn't follow Bear Bryant around. Presently, you rarely hear delirious shouts of "Pac-12! Pac-12!" after UCLA wins a bowl game.

It must take effort for South Carolina fans to dig up enough emotion to cheer for Arkansas or Texas A&M in a minor bowl game.

The ACC is far less enthusiastic. "A-C-C! A-C-C!" is a March thing. Even then, expanding leagues have made it hard for the Syracuse faithful to get on board with Coach K. There are not toasts throughout Chapel Hill when Pittsburgh wins outside the league.

Percentage of Clemson fans pulling for North Carolina in a football game: 2.7, and most of those are on a first date with a Tar Heel fan.

But Clemson fans should swallow a spoonful of sugar and enjoy South Carolina's bowl winning streak, and vice versa. State pride medicine is better for you than conference pride, for these reasons:

The players involved are more likely to be from South Carolina, and a positive bowl connection to high school programs around the state is good for everyone.

Iron sharpens iron.

Perhaps it's too late to arrange for a Gamecock/Tiger parade on King Street in Charleston.

After the two bowl wins next year?

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff