COLUMBIA — Clemson and South Carolina will renew their rivalry Saturday as they face off for the 113th time. The series, which began in 1896, is one of the longest in college football. Clemson currently holds a 66-42-4 lead in the series.
While Clemson holds the advantage in the series, South Carolina has won six of the last 10 match-ups including three straight at Williams Brice Stadium. And don’t let Clemson’s #1 ranking and 11-0 record fool anyone. When these teams face off, statistics and records go out the window.
South Carolina comes into the game at 3-8 and will be looking to redeem themselves and put an end to Clemson’s ambitions for a berth into the College Football Playoffs. For the Tigers, they no longer need style points, so they will be looking just to get the win so they can prepare for North Carolina in next week’s ACC Championship.
At first glance, the Gamecocks have been mediocre at best in 2015. Look deeper, though, and you will see the only team to have beaten North Carolina, and you will see a team that has been in position to win most of their games. South Carolina has lost four games by a touchdown or less, and were within two touchdowns late to both LSU and Missouri.
Clemson, meanwhile, has seemingly strolled through much of their season. The Tigers have won by ten or more points in nine of their eleven games. Even when they looked bad, Clemson has been able to win without sweating too much.
With several players returning from injuries this week, the Tigers appear to be the overwhelming favorite. Many Clemson players are still looking for payback from several years of Gamecock domination. Dabo Swinney has tried to downplay the importance of this week’s game, but he knows all too well what the rivalry means.
Just a year ago, Clemson had clocks counting down to the kickoff against South Carolina. With that pressure gone, Swinney has set his sights higher, and he knows that the Tigers’ success has put a target on them.
“We’re going to get everybody’s best effort for each and every week but that’s not our focus,” he said. “It’s how we play, and our effort and preparation. That’s what we talk about, playing to a standard. All I know is South Carolina is going to play their tails off, but so are we.”
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.