COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Border War between South Carolina and Georgia in football is a rivalry that’s gained momentum in the past few years.
“I’ve been a Gamecock fan since I was a kid and I’m going to stay that way obviously since I’m a student,” USC junior Jacee Jackson shares. “But yeah, you gotta feed into it because it is a Border War if you think about it.”
The Gamecocks and Bulldogs have been playing against each other for more than a century. Now in present day, the rivalry continues as Carolina fans are blasting sandstorm while UGA fans are gearing up to attack the day, ready for the Border War.
The rivalry began in 1894 when the two teams first went up against each other, but many fans remember it intensifying in the 80s. Georgia-native George Rogers was a Carolina running back who played against freshman Herschel Walker in 1980. While Georgia won that year, Rogers won USC’s first and only Heisman Trophy, going down in Gamecock history.
The University of South Carolina joined the Southeastern Conference in 1992, which solidified the annual battle. As loudly as Sir Big Spur crowed, Uga barked back, leaving fans eager to see which team would emerge victorious year after year.
Georgia was riding a hot streak until 2001, when UGA’s then-coach Mark Richt lost to USC in his first matchup against the Gamecocks. A few years later in 2005, Lou Holtz retired and South Carolina was looking for a new leader. Then, former University of Florida head coach Steve Spurrier came to Columbia.
While it took Spurrier three years to get a win against the Bulldogs, the “Head Ball Coach” hit his stride in 2007 going 5-6 against Georgia until 2015. But he wasn’t alone on this winning streak: Shane Beamer started with the team in 2007, serving as special teams coordinator. And from 2010 to 2012, the Gamecocks won every year against UGA.
After Spurrier’s retirement, Will Muschamp led the Gamecocks to a three point win over Georgia in 2019. The next year, Shane Beamer was announced as head coach in December 2020, ushering in a new era for the Gamecocks.
Looking at the history as a whole, the Gamecocks have won 19 games against Georgia, UGA with 54. With quarterback Spencer Rattler possibly in his final year and Shane Beamer coming off last season's wins over Tennessee and Clemson, Carolina fans have high hopes for the Gamecocks’ performance between the hedges in this year’s Border War.
When it comes to how fans are planning to spend the day, Jackson says, “Probably just tailgating. Gonna kick back, have some hot dogs, just enjoy the game.”
“You can always find a tailgate to go to, or just people to watch the game with,” freshmen Connor Dow and Abhinav Cheedipudi agree. “There’s always like a huge environment here for all that. There’s a big tailgating thing outside, there’s always watch parties in all the dorms for the games. I just think we have a lot of support.”
Carolina fans like CJ Leathers and Maya Withers, freshmen at USC, say they’re “feeling pretty confident that we’re going to win.”
Despite the final score, USC students like Jordan Smith-McGinn say they’re just looking forward to the game day atmosphere.
“I grew up like two hours north from here in Greenville, so I've been down here a lot. I’ve been to a few games and everything and the atmosphere’s great. Everyone’s just so happy,” Smith-McGinn shares. “Everybody’s just walking around saying ‘Go Cocks’ and cheering and everything. It’s great to be a part of and I’m glad that now I’m a student and not just coming to visit and I’m glad that I’m full time now. Seven days a week now I’m part of the community and everything.”