When you watch the University of South Carolina football games online, you’ll be getting a glimpse of a football tradition that started long before the school joined the Southeastern Conference (SEC). You may not know this, but the South Carolina Gamecocks first began SEC play in 1992. Once a strong member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, South Carolina actually quit this conference sometime in the 1970s, remaining independent until it joined the SEC.
South Carolina Gamecocks football history began long before it entered the Southeastern Conference (SEC). It was only in 1992 that the University of South Carolina began SEC play. However, during its years of independence, they did come up against notable opponents including schools such as Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia, Clemson, Florida State and even the University of Southern California, which the Gamecocks typically referr to as that “other USC.”
Many college teams share similar names if not the same. However the University of South Carolina is the only top college-level athletic program that officially goes by the nickname “Fighting Gamecocks.” Jacksonville State in Alabama simply goes by the name “Gamecocks.” Yet before the early 1900s, the team sported many different names but not one of them seemed to stick. In 1903, the Columbia, S.C. newspaper, The State, shortened the name to just “Gamecocks” which players, students and fans alike embraced.