Palmetto State rivalry not a national phenomenon

Gamecock fans celebrate 20-7 victory in 1987
Gamecock fans celebrate 20-7 victory in 1987
Gamecocks waiting to enter Williams-Brice Stadium to 2001
Gamecocks waiting to enter Williams-Brice Stadium to 2001
Fans celebrate win on field at Williams-Brice Stadium
Fans celebrate win on field at Williams-Brice Stadium

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Palmetto State sports fans by and large love either the Tigers or the Gamecocks. But once you cross the state line, the rivalry doesn't really mean that much.

Except for a handful of times, the excitement of Clemson/Carolina week has been contained within the borders of South Carolina. A major exception was in 1987, when both teams had top 15 rankings.

The Gamecocks had their most talented team ever, led by quarterback Todd Ellis and wide receiver Sterling Sharpe, the Gamecocks entered the game ranked 12th in the nation. The Tigers came into Williams-Brice with only one loss, an ACC championship and a #8 ranking.

Throw in a primetime spot on ESPN -- a rarity in the 1980s -- and it soon became the most hyped game in series history. In fact, more security was used for the game than for the pope's visit to the stadium a few months earlier.

The Gamecocks ended up winning one of the biggest games in Clemson/Carolina history by a score of 20-7.

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