It all started with this tweet, since deleted from what appears to be the official South Carolina football Twitter account:
Why deleted? Because Steve Spurrier didn't actually say that on his postgame radio show, as @GamecockFB has since admitted (and apologized for). But a ripe, juicy Spurrier-style zinger like that one of course circled the whole Internet three times before the truth could get its boots on, and last night it came to roost in a post-practice press conference at Clemson, where Dabo Swinney was asked about it. Via TigerNet.com, here's his classic reponse:
We can't provide a full transcript for those of you who can't watch the video, because it's basically four straight minutes of pure, undiluted verbal venom sent in the direction of the 'Ol Ball Coach and his Gamecock program. But we will provide our five favorite zingers from Swinney's (calmly delivered) rant:
1. "That is kind of a childish thing to put out there, to be honest with you ... I would have to say I agree with him. He is right. They aren’t Clemson and they aren’t ever going to be Clemson, to be honest with you."From a neutral perspective, there's really only one response to that kind of smack: Damn.
2. "You are looking at the best era in South Carolina football right now. They just had their second 10-win season, they won a championship in 1969 and the 2010 SEC East. And this rivalry – this is a lot more about domination rather than a rivalry and that’s a fact. My kids and grandkids probably won’t live long enough to see this become a rivalry.”
3. "I have respect for their program, but South Carolina is not Clemson. There are a lot of differences. This is a place that has won a national title, 17 conference championships and now two division titles. Heck, we have won more bowl games than they have even been to. ... That is reality."
4. "Coach Spurrier has been there for seven years, but after five years he only had 35 wins and got a new contract and all that kind of stuff. After five years at Clemson, if I have only 35 wins they will be looking for a new coach and they should be."
5. "That is why Carolina is in Chapel Hill, USC is in California and the university in this state, always has been and always will be: Clemson. You can print that. Tweet that.”
But unfortunately for those of us hoping to see the Ol' Ball Coach go flamethrower himself and seriously kick this war of misattributed words into high gear, Spurrier took the high road Thursday night, saying "As long as the story gets straight, that’s fine with me. I am not mad with anybody."
That means we're probably going to see the heat between the two coaches get dialed back down rather than continue to heat up, but that's OK. Swinney's already given us -- and fans on both sides -- enough material to keep the Gamecocks-Tigers rivalry (already one of the zestier ones in the nation) at a fever pitch as long as he's in charge at Clemson.