Swagger

As Gamecock fans we have all endured the ups and downs of the South Carolina football program, from the 0-11 seasons to the 11-2 back to back bowl win seasons. We have all been through the worst of times and the best of times, with the majority of the best times coming in the last two years. With bowl wins coming over Nebraska in 2012 and Michigan in 2013, the Gamecocks have beaten two of the most storied programs in college football history the past two seasons. The Gamecocks have also beaten the Clemson Tigers the past four years and will look to make it five in a row when the Tigers come to Columbia late November. With all of this being said, there is no doubt that Gamecock fans have plenty to be proud of and look forward to in the coming years.
With all of the recent success there has been a developing arrogance among fans around Gamecock Nation and to an extent we have the right to be, but what have we really accomplished? Yes, the Gamecocks have had back to back 11 win seasons to go along with bowl victories and have beaten their instate rival the past four years but have also been one game away the past two season from playing in the Georgia Dome for the SEC Championship; no titles in two of the best single seasons in Gamecock football history.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a little “swagger” as a fan base, because honestly we all deserve it. True Gamecock fans understand what we have come from and have endured years of a less than mediocre product of talent. The most important thing as a fan is to always remain humble and understand the history of our beloved program, knowing that as quickly as we have had success it can all change within a blink of an eye.
No one enjoys beating our instate rival in any sport more than me, but the success over the Clemson Tigers the past four years has seemed to cloud the views of some fans of the task that is really at hand. As coach Spurrier has said many times in the past that team we play at the end of the season is not the most important game of the season. It seems the more success we have against the Tigers the more some fans look forward to that game and lose focus of what we are trying and need to accomplish to be placed on a pedestal in the college football world. No one should be running around in June or July constantly taunting Clemson fans, reminding them day in and day out that we own them, even if that is the case. We do own them as of now and have beaten them convincingly the past four years, but the cold hard fact is that they historically still own us. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing disgruntled Clemson fans; I’m just trying to make a point that Clemson is not the most important game of the year. If the Gamecocks are in position to win the SEC East and are in contention for a BCS bowl game or National Title, beating your out of conference rival will take care of itself, as it has the past four years.
Moving forward, I have been accused of being too critical towards the Gamecock football team at times and maybe I am wrong for it but I believe as fans we all have opinions and should have them heard even if other fans disagree. I am not okay with mediocrity and always want the next best thing for my beloved Gamecocks. Why should we settle for 11 win seasons? Why should we settle for back to back bowl wins? Why should we settle for four wins in a row against Clemson? As fans we shouldn’t and we should never be satisfied. This is what makes powerhouse programs such as Alabama, LSU and Georgia historically great. The ability to stay hungry is what separates great programs from average or mediocre programs. Coming off of the two greatest seasons in Gamecock football history, we cannot be satisfied. Yes, we can enjoy the success and relish in the fact that we are accomplishing goals that have never been reached, while staying hungry and constantly wanting more.
I want to make one thing clear. I am not fan bashing in any way. As fans we have one common goal of winning games and being as successful as possible. We are the greatest fans in the Country for a reason. Whether it’s selling out the Brice during the 1999, 0-11 season or the back to back 11 win seasons, we will always be there for our Gamecocks. The questions I present to you are, are you satisfied or are you hungry for more? Are you okay with just beating your rival or do you want more? Are you okay with 11 win seasons or do you want more? Do you have the ability to stay humble and remember what we have come from?
Stay humble and hungry Gamecock Nation.

Ryan Hood


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