It’s no Civil Conflict, but the Battle for Columbia is one of the dumber manufactured college football rivalries still in existence today.
At some point there was a trophy for the winner of this game, but I’m not sure it exists anymore. Here’s a picture of Connor Shaw holding it after he helped South Carolina upset No. 5 Missouri in 2013:
Whether or not you want to consider this game a rivalry, there isn’t a doubt this series has produced some exciting games since Missouri joined the SEC in 2012. Let’s run through some of these notable matchups:
- 2013: Undefeated, No. 5 Missouri hosted a reeling South Carolina team coming off a disappointing loss to Tennessee the week prior. But an injured Shaw would lead SC back from being down 17-0 in the third quarter to win 27-24 in double OT thanks to a missed FG by the Tigers.
- 2014: The next season Missouri flipped the script on No.13 South Carolina with College Gameday in town. South Carolina led 13-7 in the fourth quarter but somehow, even with Tiger QB Maty Mauk completing only 35 percent of his passes, Missouri would come back to win 21-20 in aesthetically ugly game.
- 2016: The shine certainly wasn’t there between South Carolina and Missouri in terms of top-25 status, but both offenses turned in decent enough performances to make this game worth the watch. Jake Bentley and Draw Lock would duel back-and-forth for three quarters before a couple of key interceptions sunk the Tigers.
2012 and 2015 were relative blowout wins for either side, giving the Gamecocks a 3-2 series lead since the two became conference-mates. Much like last season’s matchup, this year could make for some offensive fireworks if we’re going off week one performances.
Starting with Missouri, the Tigers dropped 72 points on FCS Missouri State aided by Lock throwing seven touchdown passes while throwing for 15.3 yards a pass. You can look at that win two ways: One, Missouri’s offense is really good or two, Missouri’s defense is really bad.
It’s really hard to gauge with a one-game sample as to which one actually means more. Missouri State scored 43 points, averaged 6.6 yards per play and even led 21-20 coming out of the first quarter. The second half certainly looked better for the Tigers, but as to what team shows up tonight against South Carolina is still unknown.
South Carolina on the other hand is coming off a thrilling 35-28 win over NC State, a team some pundits had in the CFP playoff in the preseason. Despite being on the field for 99 plays, South Carolina’s defense gave up only 5.1 yards per play and forced two turnovers to keep an otherwise uber-efficient NC State offense at bay.
South Carolina’s offense was secretly below average against NC State, and in all fairness NC State has a very good defense by most metrics. But 4.9 yards per play and a 36 percent success rate may not be able to catch up with the kind of pace Missouri apparently wants to play at.
Above all, this bout could prove to be a huge swing game in conference play for both of these teams. The point spread on this game is -3 in favor of the Tigers, so with Missouri having 6.3 projected wins and South Carolina having 5.9 — one game could make all the difference in making a bowl and sitting home.
How to watch South Carolina vs. NC State Saturday afternoon
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Place: Farout Field, Columbia, Mo.
Announcers: Anish Shroff, Mike Golic Jr.
Rock M Nation (SBN Missouri Blog)