Hopeful For Revenge

You can’t touch it, taste it, see it, buy it or sell it.

But it’s there.

And it’s real.

It’s hope.

And it’s all the South Carolina Gamecocks have going for them as they take on the number one Auburn Tigers on Saturday afternoon in the Georgia Dome for the Southeastern Conference Championship.

I spent four years in Columbia near the turn of the century. The football team lost more games during that stretch than I spent in the Five Points area. At one point, South Carolina lost 21 games in a row. That’s tough to do.

Nearly a decade later, they are winning big games. For the second time this season the Gamecocks can beat the number one team in the country. Typing this with Garnett-colored glasses on, I can only smile at the thought of  “the other USC” winning the most difficult championship in all of college football.

To grab the t-shirt, hat and SEC Champions placard, the Gamecocks must beat a team — and player — they lost to earlier this season. Cam Newton, who has turned around how they look at football in Auburn, enters the SEC Championship Game with one hand firmly on the Heisman Trophy and the other about to catch a plane to Glendale, Arizona for the BCS National Title Game. Regardless of what comes out of the inevitable investigation into Newton’s off the field issues, he creates goosebump moments and dynamic memories on the football field. He’s the real deal.

Newton ran for more yards than he passed in the Tigers 35-27 win against the Gamecocks in late September. He also tallied a grand total of five touchdowns. It’s par for the course for the best player in college football.  South Carolina even held a 13-point lead in the second quarter on the road. Auburn doesn’t seem to mind comeback wins, though. Just ask Alabama fans.

It’s a special time in Columbia, South Carolina. The baseball team won the College World Series over the summer and the football team gets a chance to add to the trophy case on Saturday afternoon.

South Carolina is in with a shot in one of the more important games of the season.

Will they do it?

I certainly hope so.

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