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GABA Q&A: What’s the best Carolina game you’ve ever attended?

Welcome back to the GABA Q&A, a feature that asks us to share our experiences as Gamecock fans. We'll give our answers, and we encourage all commenters to share theirs in the comment section. The questions won't focus so much on the state of athletics or analysis, but instead allow us to reminisce and tell personal stories about the highs and lows of our fandom.

Georgia v South Carolina Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

What is the best Carolina game you’ve ever attended?

Demetri Ravanos

Way before I covered Carolina, I was a student at the University of Alabama. So, my Carolina memory is actually a heartbreaker...for me anyway. There I was, a fat junior sitting in section 17 with a few friends. When Tyler Watts scampered up the sideline to put Bama up 35-24, we thought the game was in the bag.

Then there were those final ten minutes. Carolina’s quarterback (I want to say it was Tom Petty. Is that right? Did Tom Petty briefly play QB for Carolina before the Last DJ album came out?) completed seemingly every pass he threw. For a brief moment Ryan Brewer turned into Randy friggin’ Moss. Petty throws a TD pass to Rob something or another to put the Gamecocks on top for good. Bama gets the ball back and proceeds to lose yards on every play it ran until the clock hit zero.

I was underage drunk. It was quite the day.


This is probably going to come off as a strange pick, but I'll go with a bit of a deep cut here and say the 2007 Kentucky football game, despite how disappointing that season was otherwise. Going into the matchup, there was a lot of hype and anticipation: The Wildcats were undefeated, ranked eighth in the country, and had a Heisman candidate in quarterback Andre’ Woodson. The Gamecocks were sitting just outside the top 10 at 11th and had only lost to eventual national champion LSU. This was a big test for both teams, with the top spot in the East up for grabs.

USC won 38-23, and it was a euphoric experience for me as a student despite the rain that poured well into the first half. (If anything, the weather actually put the crowd into more of a frenzy -- I know it sounds crazy to describe the atmosphere at a non-basketball game against Kentucky as "electric," but it was.) It was a Thursday night, which added another layer of excitement, and the national spotlight was shining as the USC defense dismantled what had been a very good Kentucky team until it ran into the Gamecocks. Fan favorite Eric Norwood tied an NCAA record with two fumbles returned for touchdowns and the student section chanted "No more Heisman" as Andre' Woodson began his transformation into an also-ran. Most importantly, it signaled that the Gamecocks were capable of competing on a high level, and that Steve Spurrier really could make big things happen here.

Just, uh, forget about what happened for the rest of that season.


This question could have so many answers: from Brad Edwards getting a convoy in 1987, to bliss over becoming bowl eligible in 2016, my fandom has been...let's say ‘seasoned’.

The best game I've ever attended (and there have been more than 100) sits squarely on the shoulders of the 2012 Georgia game. Never had a game that USC had been involved in been so hyped on a national stage. Gameday. Primetime. Top-Ten teams and old rivals going at it on the game’s big stage.

I did, as I always do on gamedays, embarked on a seven mile run at dawn through town. There's something about Greene Street’s bumpy straightaway and Wheat Street’s quintessential Columbia-ness to get your mind right before an exceptionally stressful event.

This day, however, was different. I have never (to this day) experienced a moment such as this: around dawn, as I rounded the spot where the train bisects Wheat just below campus, I heard the sounds of ‘We Hail Thee Carolina’ echo through the trees. I stopped dead in my tracks. The Mighty Sound of the Southeast was playing the Alma Mater just as the cameras started to blink red for ESPN’s coverage.

My eyes filled with tears. I felt it. I still do.

We beat the crap out of Georgia that night.


For me, when South Carolina beat Ole Miss in the 2009 season was probably the best one for me. I was at the game, and I didn't entirely understand what the meaning of rankings where and totally get football. But, watching South Carolina win is always a great experience. Ole Miss was ranked at 4 at the time, and South Carolina wasn't ranked at all. I remember the last drive Ole Miss had that game, and I kept asking my dad, “Why don't they just kick a field goal?” And my dad said “Because they know they can't get the ball back from us and score again.” This, along with starting five in a row against Clemson, are my two favorite games to ever get to watch as a USC fan. Some people call this game, “The Birth of Sandstorm,” and I don't know if all of that is true, but it's a good as start as any. It was one of Carolina’s only wins against a top 5 team in the SEC, and I'm really glad I got to be a part of the crowd for it. “4 no more”


I’ll go with South Carolina vs. Alabama in 2010. I had gone to the 2009 game between the two in Tuscaloosa, which the Gamecocks really should/could have won but didn’t, so it was extra sweet to watch them pull off the victory at home the next year. The Tide were ranked No. 1, College GameDay was in town, and my family had picked that weekend to visit. South Carolina got off to a good start and played well throughout the game, including a legendary one-handed grab by Alshon (#neverforget Stephen Garcia also throwing the ball through the uprights tho), Alabama couldn’t quite keep up, and it was a thrilling victory. It also showed that the Gamecocks could hang with - and outplay - a top team. Plus my brother and I made it on tv during GameDay, so we were #blessed all around that day.


Hands down, without a doubt my favorite Carolina game in person was the 2012 Georgia game. I attended Carolina for only three football seasons, so I missed out on the 2010 Alabama matchup. But as far as I’m concerned, the entire experience of that game makes up for it.

For starters, I didn’t sleep at all Friday night. Me and my roommate were bunkered up at my room at The Lofts all night, which for those not in the know is the single most trashy offsite apartment you can live at in Columbia. We stayed awake purely off the adrenaline of knowing College Gameday was coming to town and the many Jack and Coke’s we drank.

In that time we made firecrackers (look it up) in my 20-year old toaster oven I bought at the Greenville Jockey Lot (look it up). The firecrackers took around six hours to make and upon completion I consumed three of them, which in hindsight was probably a tad too much. But I digress, I left my apartment behind at approximately 6:00 AM and walked up South Main Street nearly a mile to meet my friends at the Horseshoe.

Maybe it was the walk or I was just that tired, but right about the time I arrived at The Horseshoe where the Gameday set was erected the firecrackers kicked in. All of a sudden I was no longer walking but floating around the Maxcy Monument looking for my friends, whom I eventually stumbled upon and we went into the crowd to be apart of the Game Day frenzy.

Now keep in mind it was still very early, so the Gameday crew wasn’t even doing the actual show on ESPN. They were doing the Gameday extra stuff on ESPN2 at like 7 AM. All I can recall was them interviewing Todd McShay and listening to his voice coming out of the speakers they set up on the steel rafters.

“Dude…” I thought to myself whilst rocking a orange Home Depot construction hat. “Todd McShay is like… talking… to US.”

The Gameday experience was all of us screaming for three hours straight, booing David Pollack and trying to get Desmond Howard to do the Heisman pose -- which he did not. Following Gameday my buddies and I grabbed some subs from Which-Wich and walked back down South Main to my apartment.

I think I slept for another three hours, then ate more firecrackers and headed out to the stadium to commence heavy drinking. Fast forward to game time, I’ll never forget the pregame ceremonies before kickoff. A military family -- mom, son and daughter -- were brought to midfield. Their father, stationed overseas, was put on the videoboard to let them know how much he missed them and that “he’d be home soon.”

Out of the corner of my eye where I was seated in section 25 on the right side of the video board, I saw the dad emerge from the visitor's tunnel. Then everyone else noticed. The family ran to meet each other halfway and embraced, blubbering at the emotion of being reunited. The rest of the stadium followed suit -- I specifically remembered the two girls me and my friend Gabe were seated with at the time wiping the runny mascara off their cheeks.

Williams-Brice was a emotional nuclear bomb waiting to ignite and it eventually did with 5:18 remaining in the first quarter. When Ace Sanders crossed the goalline to put SC up 21-0, the pandemonium that ensued is something I cannot describe. People were crying, falling over each other in the bleachers, throwing things. At one point I saw someone’s panties fly over my head. It was glorious chaos.

Nothing ever came close to that apex, even as the game wound down significantly from that point. Those are memories I’ll tell my kids, my grandkids and take with me to whatever afterlife awaits me.


Well my answer (2012 Georgia) has already been mentioned by two different people and both of my backup answers (2009 Ole Miss and 2010 Alabama) have also been picked. I want to break the mold and pick a basketball or baseball game, especially because there’s no other sporting event that makes me happy quite the way going to baseball games does. But for me, the “best” game means the one with the perfect combination of high stakes, great play from my team, and insane atmosphere. And there’s nothing that fills that last requirement quite like 80,000 people screaming their heads off in Williams-Brice Stadium. So, I’m just going to be the third person to talk about how incredible that 2012 game against Georgia was because it was amazing. The single best moment was the Ace Sanders punt return that put Carolina up 21-0 in the 1st quarter. The student section was insane and in that moment I believed anything was possible for the Gamecocks.