Better Know Your South Carolina History: The Chicken Curse

A man lost in thought about biscuits. - Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

There is no team that I hold with such SEC hatred in my heart than the University of South Carolina, even UT. Oh, they're like 1A/1B but USC is ranked at the top/bottom, whichever way you're looking at it. When UT and Carolina play each other, I'm hoping Bane shows up. If there is one team I most want Vanderbilt to beat down, it's Carolina.

If you've never garnered from some of my posts, I used to live in South Carolina. Living in South Carolina, you have to be for one or the other, Clemson or Carolina, there is no both. I'm Clemson.

USC fans are such an ugly people. Imagine a UT fan without any football history to back them up. My wife, even after teaching Carolina fans family's kids in junior high and high school almost 25 years ago, still gets gloating e-mails from them after a Clemson or Vanderbilt loss.

Last year, I wish that Coach Franklin would have realized that the wildcat was working and started running it sooner. Because I know some people in the stands that night were getting mighty anxious. But that Jordan Rodgers no-look pass to Jordan Cunningham to try to score and was intercepted. UGH! What was that?!?! Who called THAT play?!?!

And if there is one coach that I love to see lose, it's Steve Spurrier, but I guess everyone wants to see that. Just for the visor throws on the sideline. He is from my hometown and was a star athlete at my high school. They talk of his legend in reverence and even named the football field after him. However, people hate him there just because he didn't go to or coach at UT. Go figure.

Every football season around this time, I hold out hope that the "Chicken Curse" sets in like it does every so often in the annals of the University of South Carolina athletics. If you REALLY want to tick off a Carolina fan and set his blood boiling to the point that smoke is coming out of his ears, mention the "Chicken Curse."

Here's your South Carolina history lesson. The "Chicken Curse" started in the late 1800's when former South Carolina governor and U.S. Senator "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, along with Thomas Green Clemson (heard that name?) tried to convince the state of South Carolina on the need for an agricultural school to help the poorer farmers of the Upstate. USC's donors at the time were the richer large landowners in the Lower part of South Carolina and were not fond of another educational institution in the state. After all the drawn out frustrations of the State Legislature trying to prevent a new school, Tillman threw a pitchfork into the ground on USC's campus and claimed the University was cursed and doomed. Need proof?

USC football has a bowl record of 7-12, the first win coming in 1995. There is a joke that goes: why do Carolina football players eat their breakfast cereal on a plate? Because they've lost all their bowls.

Carolina's only football conference championship came in 1969, then was rescinded due to ineligible players. There was always the joke of how do you beat the traffic at Williams-Brice stadium? Wait until the end of the game.

The University of South Carolina's home game this season with Texas A&M was the first football game on the new SEC Network and was a 10.5 point favorite. TAMU won 52-28 in Steve Spurrier's worst point spread loss at home. Another one of those home upsets, the 2007 17-6 loss to Vanderbilt. Can you not picture the graceful running and passing of MacKenzi Adams from back then?

In June of 1978, the Boston Red Sox were leading the New York Yankees by 14 ½ games when the Red Sox called up a USC grad to their roster. The Sox lost the division in a playoff.

Gary Hart was on the way to possibly winning the 1988 Democratic Presidential nomination but was caught in an affair with a former USC cheerleader, Donna Rice.

In 1993, former USC great Bobby Cremins decided to leave his power program at Georgia Tech to become USC basketball coach, where he was a basketball star in the late 60's. He changed his mind the very next day. Who did USC hire? Eddie Fogler, who won more than 20 games there in 1997 and 1998 and got the team into the NCAA Tournament. They lost in the first round both years, with the 1997 #2 seed losing to a #15 seed (Coppin State) and the 1998 #3 seed losing to the #14 seed (Richmond).

In 1984, the Carolina football team was 9-0, ranked #2 in the polls and on its way to a possible National Championship. The university had already been contacted by the Orange Bowl about a game with Oklahoma. They then lost to Navy 38-21 and Navy star running back, Napoleon McCallum, didn't even play in the game.

Former USC quarterback Steve Tanneyhill. Just for the mullet.

The 1972 U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball Team had a Carolina player on its roster.

Know why the Titans didn't win the Super Bowl? No, not because Kevin Dyson was tackled one yard short of a TD. Defensive line coach, Jim Washburn, used to be a USC coach. I also hate to break it to you for this season, but new kicker Ryan Succop went to Carolina.

Elvis died 6 months after playing a concert at Carolina Coliseum.

When a Carolina fan is getting a tad obnoxious around me, I'll just bring it up to see the bluster, the denials, that they won two National Championships in baseball and that the curse is dead. But if a favorite team of yours unexpectedly loses big one time, check the roster. I'll bet there was a University of South Carolina connection.

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