Gridiron and Grits: Carolina-Clemson Rivalry would like to welcome our newest columnist, Ronda Templeton. Who says women don't know football? Ronda's 'Gridiron & Grits' is a sports column with a distinctly female — and Southern — flavor. She's a die-hard fan of the Gamecocks, and majored in journalism at USC at the same time as Anthem publisher Doug Jolley. Ronda is a columnist with the San Antonio Express-News.

When it comes to college football, there is no game like the rivalry game. The rivalry game is the ultimate determinant of whether a season is a success or a failure - and, often, whether a coach receives an invitation to stay or is summarily shown the (locker room) door.

The SEC is home to some of the greatest rivalries in sports. And, like lots of SEC fans, whether my team has a good or bad season hinges on whether we knock the crap out of our archenemies, the Clemson Tigers. To describe the Carolina-Clemson rivalry as acrimonious would be a huge understatement: You're either a Gamecock or a Tiger. Period. It's a devotion that's born, bred and nurtured over generations.

The Carolina-Clemson game, traditionally the last game of our season, is the longest uninterrupted rivalry series in the South. In fact, it's been played each year since 1909, making this fall's gridiron confrontation the 100th rancorous matchup. It's a battle that pits co-workers, family members and friends against each other with almost-unfathomable fierceness. (It's my personal cross to bear that my cousin, Chess, an otherwise intelligent and personable young man, is a Clemson graduate.)

As the 2009 football season gears up, I can say one thing with certainty: Even if my South Carolina Gamecocks lose every game - every game - save for our final outing against Clemson, I will consider the season a success. Beating Clemson is what 'Cocks fans live for. We may dream of SEC championships, of national rankings, of gridiron glory, but those dreams pale beside the thought of kicking Tiger tail.

For more of Ronda's unique Southern voice, go to Ronda Templeton

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