...but not in that way...
My girlfriend is an alum of South Carolina, and has been preaching to me for months about the football superiority, passion of the fans, large crowds, and football religion of the SEC in comparison to the Big East / ACC. I brought her to the Big East Tournament and we watched CJ destroy Otto Porter live, in person (behind our championship my frosh year and Gerry's BET this is my #3 live SU moment). She still insisted that SEC football is a different beast.
This weekend we traveled to Charleston, SC and on to Columbia for the game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Florida Gators on Saturday night. Arriving in Columbia and driving by / through the tailgate that was in full force at 10 AM for a 7PM game was astonishing. A couple items:
- They have these things called 'Cock-abooses' which are red caboose train cars fully outfitted for tailgating purposes. They go for $100K, if they ever go on sale.
- For 8 blocks around the stadium was a 'tailgate city' full of people slinging footballs, RV's (complete with a parking lot for power/water etc...), grills, grills on trailers, grills on trucks, and grills on golf carts; fans with trucks, more trucks, and some SUVs that have custom paint jobs dedicated to their USC Gamecocks.
- At the game, the crowd of 85,000 people (85 THOUSAND) espoused the kind of rabid fandom that I've only witnessed while attending a handful of SU BBall games on 'break the record day' or any home game against the Hoyas.
- As much fun that this SC fanbase got by beating the Gators and 'Gator Chomping' in their faces as they left the stadium, they can't wait for their game against Clemson the Friday after Thanksgiving. Of all the USC fans I met and revealed my true SU allegiance to, they repeatedly said 'F*** Clemson' and encouraged us to beat the piss out of them at any chance we get.
Thanks to these Gamecocks I know 2 things: SEC football IS indeed a different beast, and 'F*** Clemson'. There's a civilized way to get at your opponent's fan base (kudos to FSU before and after Famous Jameis whooped us) and a troll mentality that seems to keep bringing those Clemson Tigers around.
TLDR: SEC FB > ACC FB and Clemson = Georgetown (which still sucks)