As college football season kicks off this week, fans get ready for tailgating and renewed rivalries. With the University of North Carolina playing at the University of South Carolina tonight (6:00 pm on ESPN), Neil White of The State newspaper in Columbia talked some smack not only about UNC fans but our whole state. Among his gripes – NC residents claim the term “Carolina” and brag about our barbeque and basketball. I admit it, he hit on some truth here, I am always confused when someone refers to USC or South Carolina as “Carolina”. But perhaps it goes both ways.
I will be cheering for UNC in this match up (USC is favored by 11 points), but am otherwise a big fan of the the Palmetto State. Below are 10 reasons to love South Carolina even if you will be watching the game in Tar Heel blue:
1) Charleston – we are lucky to live about three hours from the city ranked on top of many travel lists for its beauty, hotels and cuisine.
2) Pat Conroy – the SC native and author of classics such as Prince of Tides & Beach Music sets most of his heart-wrenching and beautifully written books in the low country.
3) Fireworks – SC sells them, NC doesn’t
4) Peaches – their real ones are delicious and the giant one in Gaffney, SC serves as our favorite landmark on I-85
5) Firefly Sweet Tea vodka – a must-have for a Southern liquor cabinet
6) Beaches – from Wild Dunes to Kiawah, Hilton Head to Fripp Island, SC boasts gorgeous places to escape for a coastal vacation.
7) Greenville – Set in upstate South Carolina near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville offers a scenic downtown, a thriving food scene (love The Cazbah for tapas and Soby’s for new southern cuisine), and cultural attractions from a comedy theater to Southern history museums.
8) Cruises – If you want to play bingo and sip fruity drinks on the open seas, you’ll have to depart from a port outside of NC. Carnival ships depart from Charleston, SC to the Caribbean.
9) Cheaper Gas/Taxes – When heading home on a road trip from points south, we always make sure to gas up in SC before crossing the state line.
10) NFL Comradery – Both NC and SC claim the Carolina Panthers as their home team. NIKE had South Carolina on its mind when designing this now infamous Panthers shirt placing Charlotte in the wrong Carolina.
So South Carolina, we may not be rooting for you on the field tonight or prefer your barbeque. But we love y’all just the same. Even though we’re better at basketball.