Do you want the good news or the bad news?

At my former place of employment, this question was often met with this reply: “There is no good news.” Then we’d laugh and get on with our business.

I have mostly good news to share: We are holding the press Monday night in order to get coverage of the Clemson-LSU national championship game in the Tuesday paper.

The bad news, if you can call it that, is that your Aiken Standard might not arrive as early as some of you would like. Circulation Manager David Enoch and his crew strive to have the paper delivered by 6 a.m. on weekdays, but that might not be possible given that the press will start well after midnight.

The only thing I ask of our readers is to not hold us responsible for the outcome. Throughout my career, I’ve always been amazed at folks who complain when their favorite team loses but is featured prominently in the paper. If I knew the results beforehand, as I’ve said a number of times, I wouldn’t be in the newspaper business!

A number of folks from the Aiken area, mostly Clemson fans, are heading to the big game. Check out our front-page story today on Charlie Timmerman, who is well-known in these parts for his devotion to all things Clemson.

It’s been interesting seeing the different comparisons between Clemson and LSU. The mascot for both teams is Tigers. Both play “Tiger Rag.” And both call their stadium “Death Valley.”

I give LSU the edge on the mascot because they have a live tiger. The music is a push. And, thanks to an ESPN article I read, Clemson gets the edge on “Death Valley.” Its history with the name, not to mention Howard’s Rock from the actual Death Valley, trumps LSU’s stadium nickname.

Giving Clemson credit isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Most folks know I graduated from the University of South Carolina and that my family roots for the garnet and black. But as a professional journalist, I have to play it down the middle and give credit where it is due.

These last few years have reminded me of my formative years. When I was growing up, being a South Carolina fan in the shadow of Clemson and Georgia (and their national titles) wasn’t easy. There was some comfort for Gamecocks in George Rogers winning the Heisman Trophy in 1980 and the 1984 football season when the Gamecocks beat both Clemson and Georgia. (Don’t ask about Navy.)

The past decade brought a number of good things for the Gamecocks: a pair of College World Series titles for baseball, a national championship for women’s basketball, a Final Four run for the men’s basketball team and that stretch of football success that included five wins in a row against Clemson.

Now Clemson seems to be in the College Football Playoff every year, and Georgia is usually in contention for a spot. But their success doesn’t bother me the way it did 40 years ago. I keep telling myself that these things run in cycles, and the Gamecocks’ turn is coming.

When I became a sportswriter, I still rooted for the Gamecocks but hoped it wouldn’t show in my writing. As my career evolved, I learned that the only thing I should root for was a good story or subject matter to emerge. And, in more recent times, I rooted for games to get over in a timely manner so I could make my deadline.

When Clemson and LSU play tomorrow night, I’ll be rooting for a fast game, a fast turnaround for our design team and a smooth press run. With some luck, your paper will be delivered on time, just like a pass from Trevor Lawrence or Joe Burrow.

Thanks for reading.

John Boyette is executive editor of the Aiken Standard. Reach him at or 803-644-2364.