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South Carolina’s bowling behavior: Good sign or bad omen?

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The Gamecocks got into a skirmish with the Wolverines during pregame activities, and people have opinions about it.

Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages

A few days ago during pregame festivities for the Outback Bowl, the South Carolina Gamecocks and Michigan Wolverines got into it while the two teams were facing off in a bowling competition.

Cooler heads prevailed — thanks partially to the intervention of the Florida Highway Patrol — and it was ultimately no harm, no foul. But unsurprisingly, the South Carolina fanbase had strong reactions to the incident, with opinions ranging across the spectrum.

Take 1: I love it!

According to Michigan players, the Gamecocks were the ones who initiated the skirmish with trash talk. Some fans are eating that up, taking this as proof the players are in an appropriate, battle-ready mindset. Many have bemoaned South Carolina’s lack of swagger following the departure of program greats and fan favorites like Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Swearinger. Perhaps this means the Gamecocks are getting their groove back.

Take 2: I hate it!

On the other hand, some fans see this as silly, classless behavior, made even worse by how similar antics backfired badly against Kentucky and Clemson this season. The Clemson game, in particular, stands as a stark example of trash talk and fiery emotion gone wrong. The Gamecocks walked onto the field a little too wound up and never quite recovered from a storm of emotion that led them into unfocused, undisciplined play.

Take 3: Whatever, just play the game.

This is more or less where I land. Players are going to talk trash, especially when they’re hanging out with their opponent in the days leading up to a game, and doubly so when they’re engaged in a competition with said opponent. It’s nice to see the Gamecocks are psyching themselves up for the Outback Bowl, because bowl games often seem to come down to the team that wants to be there. But hopefully South Carolina can temper that energy and enthusiasm — or at least channel it in a productive way. Regardless, none of this will matter at noon on January 1.

What do y’all think?