What we've come from...

We have come a long way since that first football game in 1892 against a Furman team that beat USC in Charleston on Christmas Eve. When we were nicknamed the "College Boys" and supporters unfamiliar with the program showed up in garnet and black to root for what eventually became our favorite college football team. Even though none of us were around for this, its fun to imagine what it would have been like to be there. South Carolina did not get their first victory until the third season of play in 1895. So even back then, the familiarity of defeat was common to the supporters. On a positive note, South Carolina defeated their arch rival Clemson in their inaugural game in 1895. Got to love that.

Now lets fast forward to 2013. Back to Back 11 win seasons, as well as bowl victories. USC has beaten Clemson four straight season on the gridiron and can be considered a National Championship contender. Not bad huh? If you had asked me 5 years ago if any of this was possible, I would of course said "YES", but at the same time, not believing my own answer as it came out of my mouth. At that time we had Steve Spurrier and had brought in some highly touted recruiting classes. It just always seemed like it would never be enough. We would never be able to compete with the Georgia's, Florida's and Tennessee's on a regular basis. I never thought I would live to see days of glory within the South Carolina football program. We all had every right to believe this, considering so many fans before us all had come close to glory only to fall short. 1984 comes to mind. Having an undefeated team, only to lose to Navy in week 10 and again to Oklahoma State in the Gator Bowl.

Here we are, getting set for spring ball in 2013 with higher expectations than ever. We made it to Atlanta in 2010 and have been one game away the past two seasons. No reason not to believe that we have a shot this upcoming season to return to the "dome". The team will of course have to earn everything they want to achieve this season. The coaches, players and fans all know it will not be easy, but we all know now that it can be done. The difference between now and the 1984 season is that, today we expect to contend. It will not be a surprise to any of us if we return to Atlanta and have a shot to compete in the final BCS Championship game. The reason behind this is the culture change that Coach Spurrier has brought to our program. He has not only changed the program, but he has changed the fans as well. We no longer get excited about competing and giving good effort against the big time programs. We no longer stand and cheer for a 17-24 defeat from teams like Auburn, like we did in 2006.
The culture is changing and will continue to do so. We have many more special teams ahead of us. South Carolina will play in a Championship game. It may be this season, it may be in three years. The point is, Steve Spurrier has forever changed our program we love so dearly and I trust he will leave it in good hands when he is done and living on a golf course some where.
We sure have come a long way since 1892.

Ryan Hood