CBS announced on Tuesday that it will televise South Carolina's September 13 game against SEC division rival Georgia and feature the contest as its SEC Game of the Week. As is almost always the case on Saturdays that do not feature an SEC doubleheader, the CBS broadcast will begin at 3:30 p.m. with the kickoff following shortly thereafter.
Even though the border rivalry between the Gamecocks and Bulldogs has consistently featured closely-fought games going back to 2000 and, more recently, the winner usually has the inside track to the SEC East championship, this isn't a game that CBS frequently picks up. Since 1999, the preferred broadcasting network of America's elderly has aired the South Carolina-Georgia game just three times: 2002, 2003, and 2008.
The biggest practical impediment to CBS airing Georgia-South Carolina games is that they're typically played prior to the beginning of CBS' 14-week college football broadcast season. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs usually square off in week two. Gary and Uncle Verne don't start telling it like it is until week three.
In some years -- the one we're all currently living in, for example -- USC has waited until week three to play the Georgia. This happens to be the same week that Florida and Tennessee typically have their annual skirmish. You see, according to legend, throughout the '90s and '00s, the Gators and Volunteers offered an exciting brand of football well-suited to serve as the backdrop for Everybody Loves Raymond, CSI, and Big Bang Theory promos. Lately, however, the game has not done much to appeal to Baby Boomers, who -- as far as I know -- don't derive irony-based enjoyment from bad football games like us ne'er-do-well millenials.
This will be the 21st time that SEC on CBS has televised a South Carolina game. With a record of 4-16, the Gamecocks haven't had much success on CBS, but that's starting to change. South Carolina had not ever won a game on CBS until it knocked off Alabama in 2010. That landmark victory was followed up with a win over Florida in 2011 and a pair of blowouts of Arkansas and Missouri in 2012.
In between, though, there have also been monumental embarrassments such as The Disaster in the Swamp and Stephen Garcia's Last Stand. Way back in 2001, South Carolina alighted for Little Rock, Ark. as a Top Ten Program® with an undefeated record only to be shut down by an unremarkable group of Arkansas Razorbacks. And let us not forgot the single play that perfectly captures the endless suffering that CBS has force-fed us for decades, yielding a cruel but admittedly delicious foie gras of misery.
Aside from the fact that getting selected as the SEC Game of the Week implies that you will be facing a difficult opponent and, therefore, have a greater chance of failure, there is obviously no causal relationship to be found here. But South Carolina fans could be forgiven if they feel conditioned to have a negative emotional reaction at the sound of the SEC on CBS theme song.
Of course, walloping Georgia on September 13 would go a long way toward accelerating reconditioning process.