I'm a former USC student, lifelong South Carolina resident, and Gamecock fan. I was lucky enough to attend USC right as our football team finally started to turn the corner into becoming a relevant program. As a student a Carolina, I became friends with a few players through classes, got to attend some unforgettable games free of charge ( well, tuition was kinda expensive so not really free...), and got to witness the greatest teams my beloved chickens have ever fielded. This year, I expect an even better team, and even more memories, although getting a ticket will be much more of a burden on my finances. Having that experience feels very much like some type of divine payoff for the decades of pain I endured as a gamecock fan growing up. I knew heartbreak. I was used to my team getting my hopes so high every season, and then fumbling on the goal line on a play that would have otherwise won the game. And so, as a fan, I was not boastful, I was not rude to other fan bases, and I did not get my hopes too high. But still, I loved my gamecocks, because they were the perfect underdog. I loved, and still do, that when we got no respect from a team, we made sure to get some with a close game or the occasional upset. To me, it seemed that whenever we got a chip on our shoulder, we could play with anybody. And whenever we got a target on our backs, we could play down to anybody.
These days, things are different. With the way we've been playing the last couple years, I think Spurrier has taught the boys how to handle the hype. Well, on the one hand, it makes me happy and excited for every game. On the other, I am scared shitless that we get to big for our britches. As gamecock fans, we have a certain influence on public perception of the program as a whole. That in itself can influence the target on back vs. Chip on shoulder the team carries. I've been noticing that most fans have been taking full advantage of the teams success by rubbing the win streaks in the noses of UGA and Clemson fans. My life as a gamecock, and just my life in general tells me that if we do this too much, we may fall flat on our faces and look all the more foolish. So, I have come up with some simple guidelines us fans should try to follow, to keep that chip on our shoulders and the fire in our bellies as we head into the season.
1) Don't tell UGA or Clemson fans that we are going to win because we did Last year and the year before. History does not win games. Give a better reason, like " Georgia's unproven defensive secondary will have a fit trying to scheme for Thompson and Shaw"or "Clemson's offensive line will not be able to keep Clowney and Co. Out of the backfield"
2) When other fan bases bait us, don't take it. UGA fans can pretend we're not rivals as long as they want. Meanwhile, we can get pumped up for the game.
3) When people decry the athleticism Clowney showed on "the hit" with the "he was unblocked" explanation, please explain politely that he actually moved so fast that the right guard who was coming on a trap block never made it there. He would have been blown out of the play if he didn't run like a runningback. Don't call them stupid, just know it in your soul, and feel superior for enlightening them on the workings of blocking assignments.
4) Stop harassing recruits. It does not make our school look better. It makes us look like idiots, and no recruit wants to go play in front of a bunch of idiots.
5) If you are awesome enough to go to away games, don't make a complete fool of yourself. Away game fans are where the most concensus is drawn on the overall maturity of a fan base.
6) While maturity is important, finding ways to incorperate the word "Cocks" into conversation in any way possible is much more important. Seriously, get creative. It never gets old.
7) If you are wearing the colors, and in public, try your best not to be an asshat.
8) Be excited, and cautiously optimistic about this season. It could be the year. Its not a given though. The schedule is forgiving, and and the team is loaded with talent. Don't let a win or two get you thinking about scheming for Bama in the seccg. One game at a time.
9) Don't hate on the team if they do drop a game.
10) don't leave the stadium early if its the 4th. You may end up looking like those heat fans that left game 6.
11) play gamecock fan Marco polo by shouting "GAME!!" In public settings.
12) Root hard, Celebrate the wins, and try not to get too overconfident.
13)Study Marcus Lattimore for a model example of how a gamecock carries themselves. Just ask, wwmld?(what would Marcus Lattimore do?)
Follow these guidelines as best you can, and remember, treasure the success. We put up with a lot worse teams and conducted ourselves well for years. Don't let a taste of success go to our heads before we can get a real big bite.