“I will not wear that gaudy orange. I will not. It is not in my color wheel and I’m not gonna wear it.” — Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), The Blind Side
More than a century ago, the Tennessee Volunteers first traveled from their university home in Knoxville to compete with the Gamecocks on their home turf in Columbia. The year was 1903, the same year when the morning newspaper in Columbia, called The State, had christened the South Carolina football team as the “Gamecocks,” making this the unofficial first season of “Gamecock Football.”
This was also the first year when South Carolina football fans were able to have an in-person look at the bright orange block “T” worn by the visiting team’s players. This first contest was held on the University of South Carolina’s campus, where the Gamecocks played all their home games prior to the inaugural game in Williams-Brice Stadium, referred to as Columbia Municipal Stadium at the time, in 1934. The first meetup between the Gamecocks and Vols in October of 1903 resulted in a 24-0 win for South Carolina.
The Gamecocks and Vols played each other an infrequent 10 times in the almost nine decades before the Gamecocks entered the Southeastern Conference in 1992. South Carolina entered the conference with a score to be settled with the orange team from Knoxville as they had lost or tied the nine consecutive games against the Vols following their initial contest in 1903. The first SEC in-conference game against the Vols in 1992 gave the Gamecocks their greatly anticipated first win in almost 90 years.
The teams have met up annually since the Gamecocks’ entrance into the SEC in 1992. Leading the series, the Vols were victorious in the last matchup in Columbia this past year, making Gamecock fans around the state anxious to see how this year’s competition between these SEC rivals will play out under the new HBC, Shane Beamer. Come the second weekend in October, South Carolina fans will attest to one thing for certain: fans will not wear that gaudy orange.