The University of South Carolina apparently wants back in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Last Thursday's shake-up was the tip-off. The school announced that Jim Carlen will lose his post as athletic director three years from now when his contract runs out -- though he may remain as football coach -- and that Frank McGuire, longtime basketball coach, will be out after this season.
Although McGuire has been urging the school to return to the conference for several years, his teams and his power at the university have waned. Carlen successfully fought him on the move, until now. The university administration apparently decided it was time for new blood and a new start, although Carlen will remain as football coach with no administrative powers.
Carlen did not want to share revenues from NCAA telecasts or bowl appearances with other ACC schools, nor did he want to add Maryland to his annual schedule; so he opposed the move.
A year ago, before Georgia Tech was accepted into the conference, South Carolina had enough votes to gain readmission. The league had had seven schools since the Gamecocks dropped out in 1971 and badly wanted eight since an even number is more convenient for tournaments, which are held in all sports except football.
But Carlen won out and South Carolina did not bid to rejoin the conference. Now, with the football team enjoying only mixed success and the basketball program suffering as an independent, the trustees have apparently changed their thinking.
It may be too late. With Georgia Tech giving the ACC an eight-school membership beginning this year -- except in football -- South Carolina will have difficulty getting votes.
"To have any chance at all they would probably have to find a 10th school," one athletic director said. "I don't think the league wants to deal in odd numbers again."
Beyond that, the Big Four schools are reluctant to give up any more tickets for the ACC basketball tournament.
"Georgia Tech almost didn't get in because of the ticket situation," one Big Four source said. "There's no way South Carolina will get in now. They blew their chance."
Contrary to popular belief, South Carolina didn't drop out of the league because of basketball. It quit because Paul Dietzel, then football coach and athletic director, wanted to recruit football players with scores of less than 800 on their college boards and couldn't while in the ACC.
Three years later, the ACC dropped the 800 rule and South Carolina dropped Dietzel.
Clemson's 21-0 win over Furman was the Tigers' 11th straight dating back, to the second game last season. That is the nation's longest winning streak. Clemson has won 11 straight ACC games dating back to the 1977 season opener, a 21-14 loss to Maryland . . . The longest losing streak in the nation belongs to Boston College -- 12, Northwestern is winless in 12 games and has won one game in its last 23. The win was in 1977, a 21-7 victory over Illinois to close out a 1-10 season. The tie, last year, was 0-0 against -- you guessed it -- Illinois . . . Wake Forest won its season opener Saturday for the third consecutive year, a 30-26 win over Applachian State. In 1977 and 1978 the Deacons followed those opening victories with 10 straight losses . . . Virginia Tech's 15-14 victory over Louisville Saturday was the Hokies' first opening-day victory since 1976. It was also their second opening-day win since 1967. Because of a scheduling quirk, Bill Dooley's team will play six consecutive home games.
All six ACC schools in action last weekend won -- all opening-day first for the conference. Duke was idle. In addition each of the six schools had a running back who rushed more than 100 yards. Maryland's Charlie Wysocki was tops with 161 yards. Greg Taylor of Virginia had 149, Amos Lawrence of North Carolina 139, Dwight Sullivan of N.C. State 130, James McDougald of Wake Forest 111 and Lester Brown of Clemson 101, but he played a little more than a quarter.