A football game will be played Saturday north of the only border that matters. The University of South Carolina versus the hated University of North Carolina isn't about bragging rights. North Carolinians look down on us anyway: They brag about having more pigs than us.
It is our chance in South Carolina to defeat the sweater-vest crowd that putters up to the UNC stadium in their electric hybrid vehicles at 17 mph.
Let us quickly compare the states:
Tailgating: North Carolina fans will drink state-made wines or Sun-drop and eat tiny crustless sandwiches of cucumber and watercress. USC fans will add ice, maybe, to brown liquor and eat a bag of pork skins bought along with a six-pack of beer at the Corner Mart. Advantage, us.
Scandal: We had our state treasurer plead guilty to cocaine possession. North Carolina had the speaker of the House plead guilty to taking cash bribes in a men's room. Tough call. Advantage, them.
Tourism: They have nature. Mountains and other things real people see on TV and that's enough. We have Myrtle Beach and South of The Border and our side of the York County border lined with lottery joints. You can get fireworks and beef jerky and win a million dollars at the same stop. Advantage, us.
State law: They require vehicle inspections that cover emissions. Apparently, they fret about things like the environment up there. All we require are tires. Tread is up to the driver. As are brakes. Advantage, us.
Thickness of skin: North Carolinians vow to get 'em next time. South Carolina doesn't get its way, it secedes. Advantage, them.
I was vilified last year for having the nerve to poke fun at UNC basketball's fans when that team played Winthrop. UNC won in basketball that time, like UNC always does. UNC fans gloated and called me names, but this is football.
Now, I hope UNC football fans take time away from their golf games to go watch their team get thumped at home. South Carolina has a rich football tradition. In more than 100 years of playing the sport, the Gamecocks have an overall winning record. Barely.
Some years back, somebody from the Raleigh newspaper, probably someone who wears a bow tie and owns all the James Taylor records, wrote he wanted his state to be the only Carolina. He thought South Carolina should be renamed "Myrtle." The sound of giggling at wine bars and editors meetings was overwhelming.
South Carolina, as it has before when taunted from the North, should rebel.
The time is right Saturday for that rebellion to reincarnate at the UNC stadium in the form of an armada of trucks, vans and Baptist church buses. Keep the driver-side window down and proudly put on a sleeveless T-shirt that allows the Gamecock tattoo to catch the glint of a noon sun. Guys, you can do the same.
The bet should be "all in," as broke gamblers like me say. I know that term because when I go "all in" gambling my wife says you are "all out" and changes the locks because I have again lost the money to pay the gas bill.
But there should be some real bets on this game. Not barbecue, like every other year. The bet should be the name "Carolina" on the line, winner take all.
Better yet: Land. Cities.
The bet around here should be Tega Cay and Pineville, N.C.
They lose, we get Pineville, just across the line from York County. We lose, they get Tega Cay. We give them Tega Cay's park for dogs and the shoreline park that is illegal for non-residents to park in without a fee, the city-owned golf course and the new Wal-Mart. They can keep Charlotte, either way.
Wait a minute. If USC wins, maybe North Carolina can have Tega Cay anyway.