The Clemson-Carolina rivalry or Carolina-Clemson rivalry, depending on what side of the fence you are on, dates back long before anything happened on the gridiron. In fact, the bitterness between the two schools and their alumni go back before Clemson even existed.
It all started when Benjamin Tillman, a farmer from Edgefield, South Carolina, was not pleased with the way the University of South Carolina was handling its agriculture department and demanded the university take agriculture more seriously.
Tillman, who became the Governor in South Carolina in 1890, through the nastiness of politics, eventually got his way. He was aided by Thomas Green Clemson, who willed his Fort Hill estate to the state of South Carolina with the sole purpose of the establishment of a land-grant college called “The Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina.”
When Clemson opened its doors in 1893, it nearly forced South Carolina to close its. South Carolina lost its university status and went back to South Carolina College. Tillman threatened to close the school, but he succeeded to only make it a liberal arts college while in office.
Though it had nothing to do with football, Tillman’s feud with South Carolina planted the seed of hatred between these two bitter rivals and their fan bases share today.
The disdain between Clemson and South Carolina has lived out on the football field several times during their 117 years and has even gone into the streets. There was the near small war between the Clemson cadets and South Carolina students over a picture which showed a Gamecock crowing over a sad Tiger following the 1902 game.
The cadets had warned the USC students, following the Gamecocks’ 12-6 win not to bring the picture to the Elks’ parade the following day. The South Carolina students did not listen so more than 400 Clemson cadets marched on to campus, with guns keep in mind, demanding the USC students hand over the picture.
Eventually, cooler heads prevailed, of course after the police arrived. A joint committee of six students from both sides worked out a peaceful solution. The picture was burned between the two groups.
Due to the seriousness of what happened in 1902, the rivalry was suspended and was not renewed again until 1909. Since then, the Clemson-Carolina game has been played every year, with the 2019 meeting being the 111th consecutive meeting. It is the second longest uninterrupted series in college football.
Clemson leads the series 70-42-4 and will be looking for its sixth straight victory this year. No team has won more than five straight games since the 1934-’40 seasons when the Tigers’ won seven in a row.
Put some Clemson on your Christmas Tree this year. Clemson Christmas Decorations from Clemson Variety & Frame