It's not the Governor's Cup (Georgia-Georgia Tech, 1893) or the Palmetto Bowl (Clemson-South Carolina, 1896), but the game for the Silver Shako, pitting the Citadel Bulldogs and the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Keydets is the Military Classic of the South, and dates to 1920. At one time the entire Corps of Cadets of the two state colleges would make the trip to the other for the game. Several times they played in the Oyster Bowl in Roanoke, Virginia. Today, with a realignment of football conferences and stretching of tight budgets, fewer cadets/keydets make the trip. But, it is still a keen rivalry, usually a good game, and a matter of bragging rights amoung the state supported military schools.
My first Corps trip was to Roanoke in 1967. The entire knob class and a few upper- class chaperons traveled us by train to support the Dogs in a 22-11 loss to the Keydets. We rode a train all night on Friday night, wandered around Roanoke till game time Saturday morning, went to the game, rode a train all night back to Charleston, and attended a sweat party in the fourth divisions showers Sunday evening. It was a full weekend. But, I did trade a VMI plebe for his shako brass. So, it was a success even in the loss.
So, the battle for the Slver Shako is today at Johnson Hagood Stadium just off The Citadel campus. The Citadel now leads the series 36-30 with two ties. Both schools are in a resurgence with larger Corps of Cadets than in previous years. VMI shrunk to around 1100 Keydets several years ago and de-emphasized football to some degree. But, the corps there has grown again and their sports programs are on the rise.
So, go Dogs. Let's kep the Silver Shako in Charleston another year.