When Steve Spurrier was the head coach at the University of South Carolina, never had the rivalry between the Tigers and Gamecocks been so heated.
Spurrier loved to take his shot “at that team in the Upstate,” while Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney let everyone know “the real USC” is in California and “Carolina” is located in Chapel Hill. It was done in fun, but it was good for the rivalry.
Though there was never any real public hostility shown between Swinney and Will Muschamp when he was in Columbia, the two did throw a barb toward the other here or there from time to time.
But now there is a new man in charge down in Columbia. In December, Shane Beamer became the Gamecocks’ third head coach during the Swinney era and soon after the Tigers’ head coach reached out and welcomed him to the rivalry.
Beamer indicated in a story from The Big Spur that Swinney was one of the first people to reach out to him after he got the job and they have spoken a few times since.
“Yeah, we’re rivals and competitors and we’re going to try to beat each other’s brains out on the football field and all that stuff,” Beamer reportedly said. “But you can still be appreciative for where you are and treat people the right way and he’s been very good to me since I’ve got this job, for sure.”
Swinney and Beamer first got to know each other when Beamer became an assistant coach at South Carolina in 2007. He was on Spurrier’s staff from 2007-’10 before joining his dad—Frank Beamer—at Virginia Tech.
Shane Beamer also knows Woody McCorvey, Swinney’s right-hand man at Clemson. McCorvey and Beamer worked together when Beamer was a graduate assistant at Tennessee and later as assistant coaches at Mississippi State.
Now the two will be connected through one of the oldest rivalries in college football and obviously the biggest one in the state of South Carolina. The two are scheduled to play in Columbia on Nov. 27, renewing the rivalry after last year’s game in Clemson was canceled by the SEC.
Before last year’s cancellation, the Tigers and Gamecocks had met 111 consecutive years, the second longest continuous game in college football at the time.
Clemson, who leads the series 71-42-4, has won the last six meetings in the rivalry, with five of those six games being decided by 18 or more points. The Tigers have not lost to the Gamecocks since 2013.
Swinney is 7-5 all-time against the Gamecocks.