Gamecock History

Most Disappointing Losses in Gamecock History

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As Gamecock Fans we all know there have been good times, but there are also those days you wish you could go back and forget or change.  These are the losses that will never be forgotten and losses that had a significant impact on the Gamecocks failing to reach championship potential or move up in the national polls.  

While the thought of these losses still sting today, we all know that a Gamecock fights to the death and the loyalty of fans to these teams will always be there

10. 2000 Clemson- #25 South Carolina and #16 Clemson entered this game both ranked for the first time since 1987.  The Gamecocks 2000 season came as a complete surprise coming off 21 straight losses in 98 and 99.  Carolina went ahead 14-13 with a Thomas Hill fumble recovery of a Derek Watson fumble with 59 seconds to go.  It appeared as if the Gamecocks would earn their first win over the Tigers since the 1996 season, but Woody Dantzler completed a 50 yard pass to Rod Gardner with 10 seconds left to setup an Aaron Hunt 25 yard FG for a 16-14 win.  Replays showed Gardner pushed off on the reception, but Clemson fans will deny this.    The Gamecocks would go on to win the Outback Bowl a month later to finish ranked for the first time in 13 years.

9. 2000 Super Regionals Louisiana-Lafayette-  Ray Tanner's 2000 South Carolina Gamecock Club entered the season with some postseason expectations, but no one saw the dominance of this team.  Led by the "Killer Bs" pitching rotation that included Golden Spikes winner Kip Bouknight, the Gamecocks finished 50-6 in the regular season and set a SEC record with 25 conference wins.  USC was the #1 overall seed when the NCAA regionals were announced and swept through the Columbia, SC regional with wins over Liberty and Wake Forest.  They then went up against Louisiana Lafayette in the Super Regionals.   Bouknight and the Gamecocks won game 1 of the Supers 6-3, but lost 7-1 in game 2, and in the final lost 3-2 to ULL in game 3.   This would have been Carolina's first College World Series appearance since 1985

8. 2001 Arkansas Football- After the 2000 season the Gamecocks entered 2001 ranked in the top 25 preseason polls.  Wins in Athens, GA and Starkville, MS against ranked opponents propelled the Gamecocks to #9 in the country entering this game at Arkansas' War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.  With a punishing defense, efficient passer in Phil Petty, and a strong run game it didn't appear the Gamecocks would have any issues with a 2-3 Arkansas team. The Gamecocks entered this game 5-0 and ranked #9. In one of the ugliest offensive games in recent history the Gamecocks wouldn't score a TD until the 2nd half to go up 7-3.  A 4th and 10 conversion in the 4th quarter by freshman QB Matt Jones setup a go ahead TD for the Hogs late.  The Gamecocks then drove deep into Arkansas territory, but a game tying field goal attempt was blocked by Carlos Hall and Arkansas upset the Gamecocks 10-7 ending an undefeated season

7. 1980 Georgia-  South Carolina entered this game ranked 14th and Georgia was #4.  The Gamecocks only loss had been in Los Angeles a few weeks prior against Southern Cal 24-14.  Had the Gamecocks won this game they would've had a good shot at a Sugar Bowl birth.  The game was nationally televised and featured two eventual Heisman winners in Walker and Rogers.  Georgia led 13-10 late in this game, but a Carolina drive behind the legs of George Rogers made it deep into UGA territory and it appeared Carolina couldn't be stopped.  Unfortunately, a tired and banged up Rogers fumbled the ball inside the Georgia 20 and the Dawgs pulled off the win.  Georgia would go on to win the National Championship while the Gamecocks ended up in the Gator Bowl

6. 2011 Auburn Football  Cam Newton was gone and the defending National Champs were at Williams Brice Stadium for a rematch of the 2010 SEC Championship Game.  South Carolina was ranked 10th and undefeated.   Stephen Garcia had a terrible game and it seemed as if the Gamecocks were sleep walking all day.  This was a 3:30 CBS National Kickoff and a game the Gamecocks should've won, but Auburn left Columbia with a 16-13 win and the Stephen Garcia era at South Carolina would end.   Carolina finished the year with the school's first 11 win season, but had they won this game they would've won the SEC East and competed in the SEC Championship Game for a shot at the National Championship

5. 1988 Georgia Tech Football-  South Carolina entered this game 6-0 and ranked #9 nationally after a road win at Virginia Tech.  The Gamecocks earlier in the year had defeated Georgia at home on a remarkable Robert Brooks' 1 hand TD reception.  Georgia Tech was in rebuilding mode under Coach Bobby Ross and hadn't won a Division 1-A game since a 1986 win over Duke.   Todd Ellis and the Gamecocks appeared to have never taken the trip to Atlanta this day as the 21 point favorite Gamecocks lost to GT 34-0.  Had the Gamecocks won this game it likely would've setup a top 10 or maybe top 5 matchup with Florida State a couple weeks later(USC lost that one 59-0)

4. Coppin State Basketball- The 1996-1997 Gamecock Basketball season started 5-5 with losses to Charleston Southern and UNC Asheville, but then went on one of the most remarkable run in Gamecock Basketball History.  USC would go on to win 12 straight, finish 15-1 in the SEC, and find itself as high as #4 nationally in the polls.  This earned Carolina a 2 seed in the NCAA Basketball Tournament and many believed the Gamecocks had a shot at a final 4 with its leaders B.J. Mckie, Melvin Watson, and Larry Davis.   Unfortunately, the Gamecocks would become the third 2nd seed in NCAA Tournament History to lose to a 15 seed with an awful 78-65 loss to Coppin State. 

3. 2013 Tennessee Football-  Tennessee was in year 1 under new coach Butch Jones and was 3-3 on the year, but the 3 wins were against Austin Peay, Western Kentucky, and South Alabama.  South Carolina was a preseason top 10 team and came into this game ranked 9th with the only loss to Georgia.  The Gamecocks played ugly all game, but a miracle 39 yard reception by UT receiver Marquez North setup a game winning 19 yard FG as time expired and Tennessee won 23-21.   USC would end the year 11-2 and its highest final ranking ever at #4.  The Gamecocks had two wins over BCS teams in 2013, but only made it to the Capital One Bowl.  Win this game over UT and they are playing in the SEC Championship Game with a chance to play for the National Championship.

2. 1970 NC State Basketball- The 1969-1970 Gamecock Basketball team were preseason #1 in many outlets and were ranked in the top 5 every week of the year with the exception of 1.  Led by multiple time ACC Player of the Year John Roche, Tom Owens, Tom Riker, and Bobby Cremins the Gamecocks were legitimate national championship contenders.  This was the days where you had to win the ACC Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament.  USC won its first 2 games of the tournament, but in a 79-63 win over Wake Forest John Roche tore 2 ligaments in his ankle.  He tried to tough it out the next night against NC State, but the Gamecocks fell 42-39 to the Wolfpack.  USC would finish the year 25-3 and ranked 6th

1. 1984 Navy Football-  All you have to say is "84 Navy" to a Gamecock fan and even if they were born many years later they know exactly what you are talking about.  South Carolina was 9-0 and ranked #2 in the country following a nationally televised win over Florida State.  In the week leading up to the Navy Game the Gamecocks actually declined a Sugar Bowl Birth because it was believed the Orange Bowl would be setting up a National Championship game between #1 Nebraska and #2 South Carolina.  Oklahoma actually beat Nebraska earlier in the day 17-7 so had the Gamecocks just taken care of business against Navy they would've been ranked #1.  In a game that originally was supposed to have been played in Columbia, the Gamecocks played in miserable weather and delivered an even more miserable performance losing to Navy 38-21 in front of a small crowd of 27,000 fans.   USC would end up in the Gator instead of the Sugar or Orange and in one of the oddest years in College Football History the National Champs was BYU who beat 6 win Michigan in the Holiday Bowl. 

By Matt Barber (@dixiefriedsport on twitter)





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