Once upon a time, the colleges of Presbyterian and Newberry played football on Thanksgiving Day. Now they don’t play each other in anything at all.

Once upon a time, the universities of Clemson and South Carolina played football on what was known as Big Thursday (in October) at the State Fair. Soon, Clemson may play USC, but the SC may stand for Southern California.

Stranger things have happened. Stranger things are happening now.

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Monte Dutton

I don’t know why traditionalists balk. Obviously, they don’t see the infinite possibilities of a soccer rivalry between UCLA and Rutgers.

Imagine if the Supreme Court has to rule on a lawsuit, Leghorn v. College Football Association, over whether the state of South Carolina can require Tigers to play Gamecocks.

It can’t happen here? That’s what they said about Texas and Texas A&M, Kansas and Missouri, and Pitt and Penn State.

Along with a consensus of everything else, college athletics has forsaken arithmetic. The Big 10 (allegedly the B1G by brand now, I think) hasn’t been 10 in a while. Nor has the Big 12 been a dozen. Next up? New math in the PAC-12.

Enjoy the coming football season as the last of the red-hot lovers. A heap of marriages are about to end in divorce.

Some fans like this. They are the fans who will agree to anything Big Damn State tells them. They are the ones who will continue to write an annual check for every spare dime for the right to buy tickets that cost 10 times what they cost 20 years ago.

They are the ones who will pull down their pants, lean over, grab their ankles and say, “Thank you, sir, may I have another.”

Most fans don’t like this. Most fans will put up with it. They don’t care that their money means nothing as long as Big Damn State can reap the wild wind of television money.

The reality of the 21st century is burying the 19th, when a dreamer named Abraham Lincoln observed that you can fool some of the people all of the time, all of them some of the time but not all of them all of the time.

The universities are selling their souls. The question is whether there’s a need for a soul anymore.

Don’t colleges want to win anymore?


It’s already hard for the University of South Carolina to win football games. Occasional ones versus Oklahoma and Texas aren’t going to make it easier. The plucky football teams representing Wake Forest, Vanderbilt and Northwestern are going to need more than pluck. Even Notre Dame is going to require more divine intervention than what has heretofore been alleged.

They’re not even playing football. They’re playing musical chairs with fight songs and alma maters.

Till the Tigers’ roar shall echo o’er the mountain side.

The Rocky Mountains side.

I know this seems ridiculous, but what happens when television money is revealed to be finite?



Clinton native Monte Dutton is Furman-educated and has been a sportswriter for most of four decade. At DHK Sports LLC and its three website, Monte is committed to filling the void in local sports coverage created by the decline of other media.