Welcome to South Carolina: College Sports Capital of the World

col-tbuzznewI can see the road signs now: “Welcome to South Carolina: The College Sports Capital of the World!” It might not have the same ring to it as “Pedro Never Sleeps” or “Sober or Slammer”, but the Palmetto State deserves to boast about its college sports accomplishments over the past calendar year – three national titles and a semifinal trip in the four major sports.

Not to stomp a dead Palmetto bug to death, but South Carolina’s collection of championships is unprecedented in the modern sports era. Not since the state of California completed the trifecta in the 1970s (back when UCLA ruled men’s college basketball and “the other” USC owned college football and baseball) has one state dominated the NCAA landscape.

To put the feat in perspective, rewind your mind exactly one year and try to remember what it was like when we were all considered a bunch of losers. Aside from Clemson’s football national championship in 1981 and the Gamecocks’ back-to-back College World Series titles in 2010-11, the Palmetto State didn’t have a lot to hang its hats on in college athletics.

One year later, the cheers of South Carolinians can be heard throughout the state – from the roars of Tiger fans in the Upstate to the crows Gamecock and Chanticleer supporters in the Midlands and on the Grand Strand. Even if you were raised to love your team and hate the others, you can’t help but take pride in the achievements of even the bitterest of rivals.

Part of what made the Palmetto State’s surge so excited was that they were so unexpected, and none shocked the college sports world like Coastal Carolina’s miracle run to the College World Series championship. The Chanticleers had never been to Omaha, and most fans couldn’t find Coastal Carolina on a map if there wasn’t one heck of a clue in the title.

Coastal made a name for itself by beating some of the biggest names in college baseball – LSU, TCU and finally Arizona. Fans from across the country without a dog in the hunt adopted the Chants (and learned that the mascot is a rooster) during the playoffs as CCU repeatedly rescued itself when it was on the verge of elimination. America loves an underdog.

Although Clemson’s college football success was not as surprising, the Tigers found themselves in a similar situation going up against national powerhouse Alabama. After losing to the Crimson Tide in the national title game the previous year, many fans expected another “Clemsoning” (sorry Dabo), but instead saw a team pull together to deliver in the clutch.

But perhaps the biggest shocker was South Carolina’s dual success in basketball. Frank Martin’s Gamecocks caught fire in the tournament and overcame halftime deficits in four straight games to reach the Final Four, nearly upsetting top-seeded Gonzaga. Our neighbors to the north (now known as “the other Carolina”) went on to zap the Zags and cut down the nets.

Dawn Staley’s team dodged a bullet when UConn had its 111-game win streak snapped in the semifinals, but the Lady Gamecocks took full advantage of the opportunity. Of all the accomplishments by teams from the Palmetto State this year, none reflects a bigger rags-to-riches story than a South Carolina women’s program that was once the doormat of the SEC.

It all adds up to the most impressive current trophy collection in college sports, and it belongs to the most unlikely of states. South Carolina is middle of the pack in population, one of the smallest in size, and one of the lowest in terms of respect before we went out and earned it on the nation’s college sports courts, fields and diamonds. Now we can say it – and mean it – “We’re No. 1!”

Terry Massey is the editor and co-owner of Grand Strand Sports Report. He has been an award-winning sports writer for 25 years. He can be reached at tbuzz1908@yahoo.com.

Comments

comments

NMB captures runner-up finish at Hub City Classic

NMB captures runner-up finish at Hub City ClassicThe North Myrtle Beach volleyball team scored some big victories [more]

Leathernecks lay leather to Chants in blowout fashion

Leathernecks lay leather to Chants in blowout fashionWestern Illinois, ranked 19th in the NCAA Division I FCS [more]

Edward's late grab sets up Gamecocks' game-winner

Edward's late grab sets up Gamecocks' game-winnerSouth Carolina receiver and Conway High product Bryan Edwards made [more]

CF girls, MB boys prevail at St. James Invitational

CF girls, MB boys prevail at St. James InvitationalThe Myrtle Beach boys and Carolina Forest girls swam to [more]

Tigers wake up in time to knock off Boston College

Tigers wake up in time to knock off Boston CollegeFour fourth-quarter touchdowns led the No. 2 Clemson Tigers to [more]

Chiefs come out swinging for quick TKO of Camden

Chiefs come out swinging for quick TKO of CamdenThe No. 2-ranked North Myrtle Beach High football team scored [more]

Braves blast past Sharks, win Battle of Highway 707

Braves blast past Sharks, win Battle of Highway 707The Socastee High football team showed it can rebound from [more]

Saints win another thriller, set program victory mark

Saints win another thriller, set program victory markFor the second consecutive week, the Christian Academy of Myrtle [more]

Panthers excel in all three phases in shutout of Lions

Panthers excel in all three phases in shutout of LionsThe Carolina Forest High football team bounced back in a [more]

Lady Chants rally to down Troy in double overtime

Lady Chants rally to down Troy in double overtimeThe Coastal Carolina women's soccer team had a flair for [more]

Photo Gallery: Rivals clash in Battle of Highway 707

Photo Gallery: Rivals clash in Battle of Highway 707Socastee defeated visiting St. James 65-14 in Friday's installment of [more]

Seahawks shock Tigers, keep Victory Bell in MB

Seahawks shock Tigers, keep Victory Bell in MBIn the long, rich rivalry of the Battle of the [more]

Photo Gallery: MB claims Battle of the Victory Bell

Photo Gallery: MB claims Battle of the Victory BellMyrtle Beach stunned No. 5 Conway 13-12 on Thursday night [more]

Volleyball: Panthers, Saints, Seahawks net region wins

Volleyball: Panthers, Saints, Seahawks net region winsThe Carolina Forest volleyball team completed a clean sweep of [more]

Socastee stays perfect in region play at midpoint

Socastee stays perfect in region play at midpointThe Socastee High girls tennis team captured its 10th win [more]

Week 6 Previews & Picks: Sharks, Braves try to reply

Week 6 Previews & Picks: Sharks, Braves try to replyThe Battle of the Victory Bell rings into action one [more]

Golf: Sharks target future; Panthers knock off Braves

Golf: Sharks target future; Panthers knock off BravesHow good is the St. James girls golf program? Good [more]

White goes from goat to hero in Coastal's OT win

White goes from goat to hero in Coastal's OT winSenior Wes White took a loose ball and found the [more]

MB tennis, volleyball rule the net in sweep of Tigers

MB tennis, volleyball rule the net in sweep of TigersThe Myrtle Beach High girls tennis and volleyball teams dominated [more]

Socastee boys, NMB girls take second at XC meet

Socastee boys, NMB girls take second at XC meetFive Grand Strand area cross country teams hit the ground [more]

Tennis: Braves, Saints net big wins over region rivals

Tennis: Braves, Saints net big wins over region rivalsThe Socastee High girls tennis team delivered an impressive 1-2 [more]

Volleyball: Panthers, Saints, Sharks sweep region foes

Volleyball: Panthers, Saints, Sharks sweep region foesIn a showdown for first place in Region 6-5A standings, [more]

Golf: Braves top Warriors; Tigers, Chiefs battle Aynor

Golf: Braves top Warriors; Tigers, Chiefs battle AynorThe Conway and North Myrtle Beach girls golf teams narrowly [more]

MB's Edwards, SJ's White finalize college decisions

MB's Edwards, SJ's White finalize college decisions  A pair of recent Grand Strand Sports Report Athlete of [more]

Chanticleers, Gamecocks meet in '18 season opener

Chanticleers, Gamecocks meet in '18 season openerThe Coastal Carolina University football team will open the 2018 [more]

NMB captures runner-up finish at Hub City Classic

NMB captures runner-up finish at Hub City ClassicThe North Myrtle Beach volleyball team scored some big victories [more]

Leathernecks lay leather to Chants in blowout fashion

Leathernecks lay leather to Chants in blowout fashionWestern Illinois, ranked 19th in the NCAA Division I FCS [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach