In the world of college football, thereís no longer any denying the power of South Carolina.
On Monday, the Clemson Tigers took on a strong Louisiana State University team in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta and added another win to their season with a last-second field goal.
The next day, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks took the Outback Bowl in equally dramatic fashion over Michigan with a 32-yard touchdown pass with just 11 seconds left in the game. The touchdown put USC ahead 33-28, capping an end to the programís most successful three-year run.
Clemson was the underdog going into the game, but the No. 14 Tigers managed to upset the No. 8 LSU Tigers 25-24. The bowl win marked Clemsonís first victory in three tries over another ranked opponent this season, and it was the teamsí first bowl win since a 21-13 win over Kentucky in the 2009 Music City Bowl. It was also the teamís first-ever win over LSU.
Not a bad two days for the Palmetto State.
South Carolinians have earned the right to strut their stuff over these wins. In the world of big-time college football, these wins put the state squarely where it wants to be Ė with the big boys.
This could have been a year to forget for both teams. Both had disappointments throughout the season and neither played for a conference title. But both won 11 games, impressive by any standards, and both took home a bowl trophy.
It can be tough for a football programs from a small state like South Carolina to compete against larger, more powerful states. To have two teams from our small state perform so well is nothing short of remarkable.
Congratulations to Clemson and USC. We look forward to football season 2013.