The Clemson-South Carolina football rivalry has been colored orange as of late.
The Tigers, winners of four straight in the series, take on Alabama on Jan. 1 in the Sugar Bowl. It marks Clemson’s third consecutive appearance in the College Football Playoff. The reigning national champions are the No. 1 team in the CFP for a second time in three years.
USC, meanwhile, will face Michigan on Jan. 1 in the Outback Bowl.
It didn’t used to be like this. Steve Spurrier, from 2009-13, beat Dabo Swinney and Clemson five consecutive times.
The Athletic on Tuesday posted a story that explored the current state of the Spurrier-Swinney relationship.
Once shot-taking rivals, Spurrier, since his 2014 retirement, has grown to truly appreciate Swinney’s success.
“I think Dabo and his staff have done the best job of any coaching staff in America the last five, six years,” Spurrier told The Athletic’s Matt Fortuna. “They’ve built that program. Dabo has a vision. Dan Radakovich, the athletic director, he had the same vision. They’ve got the boosters, they’ve got the money people to put it together. And now when you’ve got a coach like Dabo and a staff that can go recruit the way he can — and they do it the right way.”
The Athletic noted Spurrier’s wife, Jerri, and Swinney’s wife, Kathleen, have become good friends.
Spurrier, the 1966 Heisman Trophy winner, attended last weekend’s Heisman ceremony. According to Fortuna, Spurrier texted Swinney, telling him how much he missed not seeing him and Kathleen.
“Yeah, we’re in a rebuilding year for Heisman candidates.”
Spurrier couldn’t help but laugh.
“That’s pretty good,” he told Fortuna.