Yesterday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier told a group of Gamecock boosters that his school and the SEC’s newest school — Missouri — are going to create a trophy for their new annual football game:
“We’re going to have a trophy for that game like we do for the Clemson game. We already have the state championship trophy. Since Missouri is also in Columbia, we’re going to have The Battle of the Columbias with a big trophy. It should be fun.”
That according to the good folks at GamecockCentral.com — the Rivals site covering USC (and, yes, that means the quote’s behind a paywall).
Carolina and Missouri will battle for the first time as league mates this September. In Columbia. Columbia, South Carolina, that is.
Whether a trophy will kickstart the schools’ new rivalry is anyone’s guess. Arkansas and LSU are border rivals and they’ve played for the Golden Boot trophy every year since 1996. Even so, none other than ex-Razorback coach and AD Frank Broyles — who helped lead the Hogs to the SEC — recently said, “We don’t have a rivalry” in the SEC. Trophy or no trophy, Arkansas-LSU hasn’t created the blood feud that once existed between UA and Texas, which is one reason Hog fans are happy to see old SWC rival Texas A&M join the SEC.
It takes at least one of three things to create a rivalry:
1. Time — Schools that have played just 20 times won’t have the build up bad feelings that schools that’ve played 80 times will have. The longer the history, the better the rivalry.
2. Championship Races — A recent example inside the SEC is the Florida-Tennessee rivalry. Those schools had rarely played one another when the league went to divisions in 1992. But just as they were launching an annual matchup, both schools found themselves in the Top 10 for much of the decade, battling back and forth for the East Division crown. A heated rivalry was born.
3. Odd Circumstances — A coach badmouthing another school or another coach. A school turning in another for NCAA violations. Crazed fan behavior. Recruiting wars. Pick your poison, but a rivalry can quickly be created if one side feels slighted by the other in any way, shape or form. Especially in the Deep South where dueling’s only gone out of style because it was outlawed.
This isn’t to say Missouri and South Carolina won’t make for good — albeit distant — rivals in the long run. And we at MrSEC.com are all in favor of trophy games. We think creating The Battle of the Columbias trophy is sharp. A natural move would be to somehow incorporate a personified Columbia into the prize itself, a la the Columbia Pictures logo at left. We just believe it’ll take more than a trophy to ratchet up the hate between two schools that have rarely battled one another.
SIDENOTE — This news might pop the balloon of those few folks who’ve been holding out hope/belief that the SEC was secretly planning a raid of the ACC to reach 16 schools and push Missouri back to the SEC West. We’ve told you that the SEC isn’t planning such a raid for months, but talk of NC State and Virginia Tech never seems to die. Well, if the administrations at Carolina and Mizzou felt their rivalry would be short-lived, it’s doubtful they’d be adding any trophy. If the league expands again and stays with an eight-game league schedule, USC and MU would face each other about twice a generation as non-division foes.
Things can change quickly when it comes to realignment and expansion, but for now, this seems to be a bit more proof — small as it is — that the presidents in Mike Slive’s conference aren’t eyeballing any further moves at the moment. At least not to the east.