Clemson coach Dabo Swinney's comments from last November about South Carolina are still a hot topic between Clemson and South Carolina fans some four months later, as profiled by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. You can hear those comments here:
Some of the zingers include:
"There's a lot of rivalries out there. This is more of a domination. And that's a fact. My kids' grandkids won't live long enough to ever see this really become a rivalry."
"They ain't Alabama. They ain't LSU. And they're certainly not Clemson. That's why Carolina's in Chapel Hill and USC's in California and the university in this state always has been, always will be Clemson."
There is no doubt that comments like these serve to embolden the fan bases. But what about the impact on recruits?
It's probably not what you think. As I've learned covering recruiting, prospects rarely get into all that stuff. They hear so much rhetoric from fans and coaches that, for the most part, they seem to tune it out.
In fact, where many fans would never miss a game in person on TV, many recruits don't even bother to watch the games on TV.
Additionally, perception is the name of the game. It's true that Clemson has more bowl wins than South Carolina has bowl appearances. But it's also true that Dabo Swinney has never defeated the Gamecocks as head coach of the Cemson Tigers (0-3), though he did defeat Spurrier as the interim head coach in 2008.
Does either team have a major edge in the eyes of recruits? Probably not. Clemson is the defensive conference champion and clearly has more tradition. South Carolina won 11 games for the first time in its history and plays in the almighty SEC, which means a lot to top recruits.
Compared to things like facilities, playing time, preparation for the NFL, winning and coaching, the comments of a coach about another school pale in comparison in the world of recruiting.
For more Tigers football, visit Clemson blog Shakin' The Southland.