banner
Bob Holliday

Battle of the Carolinas recalls once-fierce rivalry

Posted August 28, 2013
Updated August 29, 2013

I’ll never forget the epiphany I experienced watching the closing credits of “Remember the Titans,” the moving story of Rocky Mount native Coach Herman Boone and his players “Blue,” “Rev” and “Sunshine,” who used football to help integrate schools in Northern Virginia in 1971. The film closed with an epilogue documenting what coach and players did after their days at T.C. Williams High School.

One line hit me like a ton of bricks. “Ronnie Sunshine Bass played football at the University of South Carolina.” RONNIE SUNSHINE BASS PLAYED FOOTBALL AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA! Who knew?

Veer surprises 70s squad

Long before Hollywood told the story of his high school days, Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass totally trashed the North Carolina Tar Heels one fall night in 1974.

I actually flew to Columbia to cover that game in a Learjet with my then-boss, longtime UNC broadcaster Jim Heavner, and Chapel Hill businessman Lee Shaffer.

Shaffer played basketball at UNC under Frank McGuire, and he showed on the trip down he knew something of football too.

“Holliday,” he said, “I’m concerned about South Carolina’s veer offense.”

I noted that the Tar Heels were favorites; that South Carolina’s starting quarterback was injured. Silly me.

Ron Bass, in his first collegiate game, lit up North Carolina for more than 200 yards on the ground. And when he wasn’t running, he was passing. Underdog South Carolina outscored a team that featured Chris Kupec and one of the best offenses in North Carolina school history, 31-23.

I can still hear Shaffer’s booming baritone on the flight home after I’d filed my postgame report: “What’d I tell ya Holliday – the veer, the veer. You can’t stop it. YOU CAN’T STOP IT!"

Long after I’d taken the Lear to see the veer, I found myself paired at a golf outing with the one-time coach of the Gamecocks, Paul Dietzel. Somewhere between the fourth and fifth holes at the Mount Mitchell Golf Club, Dietzel and I began to talk about Bass’ amazing night against the Tar Heels. In fact, coach and reporter were so fixated on Bass, neither could remember the name of the injured player Bass replaced.

“I’ll think of it,” Dietzel promised. Jeff Grantz was the guy. He gained more than 5,000 yards total offense in his South Carolina career. But it’s hard to imagine him being any better than Ronnie Bass was October 26, 1974.

Friendly skies for UNC foes

Of course, the veer and the Lear are not the only links to North Carolina’s diabolical past involving air travel. Back in the 70s, Bill Dooley’s pass defenses were so porous they became known as “The Friendly Skies” (a nod to a popular airline commercial in that era). So who was the first to “Fly the Friendly Skies" of Carolina? Why the other Carolina, of course.

Students in the late 60s often dressed in their Sunday best for football games, and I recall a sultry September day in 1968 when some among the faithful whipped out flasks from their suit coat pockets to toast the Tar Heels’ rolling to a 27-3 lead over the Gamecocks. Victories were rare in Bill Dooley’s second year, but this looked like a sure thing – until Tommy Suggs (now South Carolina’s radio analyst) and the Gamecock offense turned the big Chapel Hill celebration into a wake, with 29 unanswered points, most in the fourth quarter.

Two years later the Gamecocks again “flew the friendly skies.” A guy named Jackie Young passed over, around and through Dooley’s 4-4-3 defense, for a 35-21 victory over a North Carolina team which starred Don McCauley and later played in a bowl.

Conference realignment cut short Carolinas' rivalry

That 1970 trip marked South Carolina’s last visit to Kenan Stadium as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC, uniquely, required all prospective athletes to score at least 800 on the SAT college entrance exam. The braintrust in Columbia felt the ACC rule was too restrictive and voted to leave the conference.

At the same time, it is impossible to overstate the enmity between South Carolina and its ACC rivals on the basketball court in 1970 and 1971. When John Roche, Tom Owens and enforcer John Ribock entered the hall, there was a palpable feeling of hostility, unlike anything I’ve experienced covering ACC games since.

Frank McGuire would later try to engage in revisionist history and say the school’s departure from the ACC was all because of Dietzel and football. But make no mistake, in 1971, the basketball coach and his players also wanted out. I have it on tape.

South Carolina is now, of course, happily ensconced in the Southeastern Conference, and the ACC has gone its own way, becoming a league of 14, soon to be 15, teams. And so, the battle of the Carolinas, which 45 years ago was on its way to becoming one of the ACC’s fiercest rivalries, is now reduced to a mere non-conference tilt – the emotion of the past supplanted by the modern day preoccupation with qualifying for the national championship chase.

Thursday’s contest (UNC at South Carolina, 6 p.m. ESPN) is not so much a brawl to see who is the real Carolina, as it is a tactical match-up of trendy offensive and defensive philosophies.

Most focus on Jadeveon Clowney and the physical South Carolina defense going after Bryn Renner and the up-tempo North Carolina offense. But history suggests the other side of the equation will be even more important.

As we saw last year, the "friendly skies" have not yet been completely expunged from Tarheelia (almost 3,000 yards allowed passing and 15 touchdowns). To have a chance in Columbia, UNC’s 4-2-5 defensive alignment must contain the other Carolina. Put simply, North Carolina must force South Carolina to punt – much as South Carolina punted the ACC oh so many years ago.

33 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • VT1994Hokie Aug 30, 2013

    It's a foregone conclusion now isn't it? South Carolina looked tired early in this game. Spurrier was smart to keep it on the ground and run the clock. Those that have played and coached a little understand this.

  • VT1994Hokie Aug 29, 2013

    It looks pretty much like a battle right now. USC has let up.

  • Dean .776 > K .764 Aug 29, 2013

    Mustard goes on hot dogs, not barbeque.

  • jmcdow2792 Aug 29, 2013

    View quoted thread



    He certainly lived up to the mascot's name.

  • batcave Aug 29, 2013

    Intended to say "State vs South Carolina was a big deal."

    I was a big deal, when Holz was coaching. stan fritz, ralph stringer, willie burden , the buckeys. SC lost a heart breaker in raleigh, having all but won it. fights broke out gamers were so mad.people had started leaving.good times

  • StunGunn Aug 29, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Ha ha - good one:-)

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Aug 29, 2013

    Someone at the office asked me if I was excited to watch the Panthers. I said, "Who? Oh, they play tonight?" College football has started. That's REAL football. When the NFL starts their REAL season, I'll pay attention. But have MUCH more passion for the college game. Hey, I'm a Panthers fan. That's how it works. They usually suk.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again03 Aug 29, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Run up the score? LOL

    You better hope UN*C scores at all!

  • TB from WF Aug 29, 2013

    The love is quite strong in this article, yes. :)

  • rxhiller1 Aug 29, 2013

    A Tarheel win tonight would be stellar for the ACC! SOOOOOOOOOOO sick of the SEC stealing all the top talent!

More...

 

 

  • NASCAR: Folds of Honor 500 in Atlanta

    Today at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • AAC: SMU at UConn

    Today at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Big Ten: Michigan State at Wisconsin

    Today at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Wake Forest at Duke

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NBA: LA Clippers at Chicago

    Today at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • Big Ten: Michigan State at Wisconsin

    Today at 4:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL Hurricanes at Chicago

    Tomorrow at 8:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: NC State at Clemson

    Tuesday at 9:00 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
UCF 66
ECU 71
Final
BC 79
NCSU 63
Final
MIAMI 64
UNC 73
Final
NCCU 72
COOK 49
 
Final
NYI 3
CAR 5
Final
DUKE 73
SYR 54
6:00pm Tonight
ORL
CHA
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
UTA
 
Final
WAS 99
DET 95
Final
MIA 91
ATL 93
Final
NYK 103
TOR 98
Final
MIN 97
MEM 101
Final
DAL 94
BRK 104
Final
UTA 82
MIL 75
Final
PHO 74
SAN 101
1:00pm Today
CHI
LAC
 
3:30pm Today
HOU
CLE
 
6:00pm Tonight
ORL
CHA
 
6:00pm Tonight
BOS
GSW
 
6:00pm Tonight
IND
PHI
 
6:00pm Tonight
SAC
POR
 
6:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
 
8:00pm Tonight
DEN
NOP
 
Final
LIP 94
KNST 75
 
Final
GHND 47
NAVY 57
 
Final
LAF 74
ARMY 64
 
Final
AMER 69
BUCK 71
 
Final
UCF 66
ECU 71
Final
STJ 81
GEOR 70
Final
CLEM 70
GT 63
Final
COL 61
LEH 55
 
Final
FSU 59
LOU 81
Final
MD 66
MICH 56
Final
UGA 68
MIZZ 44
Final
BC 79
NCSU 63
Final
LAS 56
RIU 59
Final
UNH 65
MAINE 56
 
Final
IUPUI 80
NEOM 87
 
Final
WINT 80
PBY 53
 
Final
VMI 69
SAMF 80
 
Final
CITA 54
WCU 67
 
Final
DEP 53
BUT 67
Final
LONG 70
CAMP 65
 
Final
TULA 47
CIN 63
Final
VCU 55
DAY 59
Final
TOWS 60
DEL 65
 
Final
WMARY 66
DREX 80
 
Final
JVU 75
FLGC 67
 
Final
EVAN 67
ILLST 69
 
Final
BRAD 52
INDST 60
 
Final
MIAMI 64
UNC 73
Final
WICHS 74
NIOWA 60
Final
UWGB 83
OU 63
 
Final
LSU 73
MISS 63
Final
OKLA 67
TCU 60
Final
BING 76
UMBC 69
 
Final
AFA 60
UTST 74
Final
GTDNS 79
VERM 73
 
Final
XAV 66
VILL 78
Final
MNTER 74
WAGN 64
 
Final
ILLCH 61
WRST 46
 
Final
YALE 90
SARAHLAW 55
 
Final
UAB 100
MTST 95
Final
NDAK 65
SUTAH 71
 
Final
LIB 77
UNCA 95
 
Final
CHIST 65
WLVRN 44
 
Final
UMO 57
BGU 62
 
Final
SHU 84
LIU 73
 
Final
APP 66
LAMON 43
 
Final
VANDY 73
ALA 66
Final
KENT 84
ARK 67
Final
NCCU 72
COOK 49
 
Final
MRGST 77
COPST 88
 
Final
SHU 67
CREI 66
Final
BONA 92
DUQ 75
Final
MERC 69
ETST 64
 
Final
UMASS 82
FORD 74
Final
RAD 72
GWEBB 62
 
Final
JMU 82
HOF 73
 
Final
BU 70
HC 77
 
Final
KYST 70
ISU 69
Final
DELST 65
MDES 69
 
Final
LOYC 65
MIZST 51
 
Final
IDAHO 80
MNTST 73
 
Final
MCNST 83
NICST 78
 
Final
TTU 63
OKST 62
Final
PORT 66
SDU 78
 
Final
BRY 61
Terriers 51
 
Final
RMU 71
RFLSH 70
 
Final
UVA 69
VT 57
Final
BAY 78
WVU 66
Final
FUR 60
WOFF 62
 
Final
SILL 63
DRAK 57
 
Final
FD 73
CCST 66
 
Final
WMICH 80
EMICH 72
 
Final
CSOU 97
HIGH 93
 
Final
UNCG 58
CHAT 61
 
Final
SD 80
SDKST 64
 
Final
CARK 74
SELA 72
 
Final
KU 69
TEX 64
Final
EWASH 76
MONT 77
 
Final
TROY 64
UGST 75
 
Final
TXST 70
ARKST 60
 
Final
UNT 57
ODU 70
Final
CORN 45
DART 56
 
Final
NCAT 77
FAM 65
 
Final
PSU 77
IOWA 81
Final
MORE 87
JVST 55
 
Final
PEPP 65
LMU 49
 
Final
SCAR 81
MSST 68
Final
BRO 62
PRIN 80
 
Final
NEV 62
SJST 51
Final
SCST 57
SAV 68
 
Final
BEL 88
TENST 62
 
Final
UF 66
TENN 49
Final
ALAST 49
TXSOU 58
 
Final
SOUTH 71
ALCOR 63
 
Final
JST 73
MVSU 49
 
Final
SEMIZ 89
PEAY 65
 
Final
TOL 70
BST 59
 
Final
KSU 65
BUF 71
 
Final
LBSU 70
CSFU 47
 
Final
MARS 79
FATL 63
Final
STLU 50
GMAS 78
Final
DAVID 77
GWU 66
Final
CLMB 70
HARV 80
 
Final
LAM 79
INCWORD 66
 
Final
YOUNG 74
UWMIL 82
 
Final
ELON 74
UNCW 55
 
Final
ILL 86
NW 60
Final
YALE 55
PENN 50
 
Final
STJOE 57
RICH 63
Final
UNF 86
STET 71
 
Final
HART 59
USB 74
 
Final
DUKE 73
SYR 54
Final
EKENT 70
TENT 67
 
Final
LATU 76
TXSA 66
Final
NKENTUCKY 84
USCU 65
 
Final
MAST 84
WILL 64
 
Final
UMKC 70
GRCN 65
 
Final
NO 75
ABCHRIST 55
 
Final
TENNM 67
MURST 73
 
Final
HOW 67
HAMP 68
 
Final
ALAAM 72
PVU 75
 
Final
SDST 46
BSU 56
Final
NILL 73
CMICH 55
 
Final
RICE 76
CHAR 77
Final
ORU 60
DEN 57
 
Final
WKENT 77
FIU 61
8:00pm Saturday
TXPA 0
NMST 0
 
Final
COC 56
NE 65
 
Final
SCU 71
GAELS 70
 
Final
HOUB 87
STEPH 102
 
Final
SMISS 63
UTEP 60
Final
MEM 72
TULSA 74
Final
UNLV 69
WYO 57
Final
TXARL 82
ARKLR 73
 
Final
TEXAM 80
AUB 55
Final
LALAF 68
GSOUT 58
 
Final
ARKPB 66
GRAM 57
 
Final
TAMCC 61
SHSU 59
 
Final
UTAH 57
ARZ 63
Final
NCOL 76
NARZ 74
 
Final
GONZ 70
BYU 73
Final
WEBER 61
IDST 57
 
Final
FRES 59
NMU 55
Final
USF 65
PAC 55
 
Final
CPSL 56
UCD 66
 
Final
PORST 60
SACST 73
 
Final
SEAT 53
CALST 43
 
Final
CSNO 83
UCR 76
 
Final
USC 70
WASH 55
Final
UCSB 54
UCI 51
 
2:00pm Today
NIAG
FAIR
 
2:00pm Today
PETE
IONA
 
2:00pm Today
RIDE
MAR
 
2:00pm Today
MAN
QUIN
 
2:00pm Today
UCONN
SMU
 
3:00pm Today
CAL
ORST
 
3:00pm Today
HOU
SFLA
 
3:30pm Today
PROV
MARQ
 
4:00pm Today
WISC
MSU
 
4:30pm Today
MON
SIENA
 
6:30pm Tonight
WAKE
PITT
 
7:00pm Tonight
STAN
OREG
 
7:30pm Tonight
OSU
PURD
 
8:30pm Tonight
COL
ARST
 
9:30pm Tonight
UCLA
WASU
 
Final
FLA 5
BUF 3
Final
NAS 3
DET 4
Final
NYI 3
CAR 5
Final
CLB 0
NJD 2
Final
BOS 4
ARI 1
Final
MON 4
TOR 0
Final
PHI 4
NYR 2
Final
COL 1
MIN 3
Final
SJS 2
OTT 4
4:00pm Today
WIN
LOS
 
5:00pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
 
5:00pm Tonight
FLA
TAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
STL