We get it. Michigan vs. Ohio State is the biggest game of the week. It’s a great game. There is no doubting that.
This Saturday’s game will mark the 11th time those two Big Ten programs have closed the regular season with a game that has so much at stake. It’s the 11th time they both will play against each other ranked inside the top five.
This year’s winner will more than likely be in the College Football Playoff. ESPN is dedicating five hours of its popular pregame show, which runs from 7 a.m.-noon on Saturday live from Columbus, Ohio, on this game. Then it will dedicate its entire “A-Team” to the broadcast of the game, which kicks off at noon on ABC.
It’s a big game. I get it. However, I really don’t care who wins that game.
It will be fun to watch, but I don’t really care about the outcome. Outside of Michigan and Ohio State fans, does anyone really care?
It’s not like the rest of America is going to be living and dying on every play. And let’s be honest, when Michigan fans get back in their car and drive the 191 miles back to Ann Arbor, win or loss, how often will they have to deal with Buckeye fans in the state of Michigan?
Sure, there will probably be a few sprinkled in here and there, but it’s not like their neighbor to their left and to their right are Buckeye fans. Once the game is over, they can get out of dodge, and I’m sure in most cases they will not see an Ohio State Buckeye fan until they play that next year.
So, yes, it’s a rivalry because the game always seems to mean something on the national scene, but is it a true rivalry? Games like Alabama-Auburn and Clemson-South Carolina are the true definition of what a rivalry game is all about.
In the states of Alabama and South Carolina, these four fans bases have to live with the results all year long. There is no getting away from it.
Through the years, Alabama-Auburn, commonly known as the Iron Bowl, has received more recognition because like Ohio State-Michigan, they are always playing for more than bragging rights. However, that doesn’t mean the Alabama-Auburn rivalry is more intense or has more hate.
Like in Alabama, college football rules in the state of South Carolina. And also like in Alabama, Clemson and South Carolina are the two biggest football schools. You are either born a Clemson fan or a South Carolina fan. There is no in between.
Pro football … Sorry Carolina Panthers, no one in this state really cares about it. They live and die each week with their Tigers and Gamecocks. And to be honest, they live and die each week with the results of what the other team does as well.
When Clemson was upset by Pitt two weeks ago, and South Carolina lost to Florida, Gamecock fans, at least on my Facebook timeline, were so excited that Clemson lost they did not even care that their own team lost their game too.
Now that is what a true rivalry is all about.
Clemson and South Carolina fans do not like each other. Yet they have to live and work with each other for 365 days a year, and though it might not be every day, you can bet someone, somewhere in the state of South Carolina is going scoreboard on someone from the other fan base.
Clemson center Jay Guillermo, who grew up a Clemson fan, said it best on Tuesday. He said he hates the colors garnet and black and he hates the South Carolina logo. Why? It’s because those things represent all things about the University of South Carolina.
Clemson does not like South Carolina and South Carolina does not like Clemson, but they each have to live with the results for 365 days. There is nowhere to hide. There is no other state to drive back to. This is what has made the Clemson-Carolina Rivalry such a great rivalry for the last 120 years. And I’m sorry Michigan and Ohio State fans, but most of you have no idea what the true sense of a rivalry game is really like.
I’m not saying it does not mean something to you, I’m just saying you don’t have to live with or work with or go to church with a Buckeye or Wolverine for 365 days a year.