for years and years, a dear reader writes, football fans and writers in South Carolina have lamented the fact that the annual showdown between Clemson and the University of South Carolina has no catchy nickname.
Well, that ended Wednesday when the universities’ athletics departments jointly announced that the annual game set for noon Saturday will henceforth be known as “The Palmetto Bowl™.”
That name has lurked around the field of hate for a good while, but it never caught on.
With athletics departments involved, you know the next step. The naming rights to the name will be sold. We will soon have The Port-O-Potty Palmetto Bowl™.
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The news release said: “One of the most storied and historic rivalries in all of college football ... has never had an official name.”
Which is not true. From 1896 to 1959 it was known as Big Thursday. The game was played in Columbia on the first Thursday of the State Fair each October — except for the years they didn’t play on account of a student brawl.
Big Thursday got national attention because it was the only game played that day. At home, it was a holiday when no work got done.
One time, a guy walked to midfield at halftime and wrung the neck of a gamecock. That spurred a whole different riot.
“You could say Big Thursday was one part Catharsis; one part Kulturkampf; and one part pure Chaos, all served together with your choice of cheap rye whiskey, gin or beer, and festooned with a black eye or two,” says GarnetAndBlack.com.
Clemson coach Frank Howard ended it because it wasn’t fair that the Tigers had to play in Columbia every year, even though they led the series 33-21-3.
Ever since, we have longed for names like the other great rivalry games have: the Iron Bowl, Egg Bowl, Apple Cup, Civil War, Clean Old-fashioned Hate, the Backyard Brawl or the Red River Shootout.My friend Hamp Greene said we might play off our lamentable history and call it “The War Between the State.”
Others have called for “Big Saturday.”
Greenville News writer Mandrallius Robinson asked readers for suggestions this week and got the Bar-B-Que Bowl and The Bowl of Grits.And the best of all:
“Change the name back to ‘Big Thursday’ and move the game to Thanksgiving Day. It would immediately become one of THE most watched games on TV every year.”