If one game is the measure of a season, of a team, of a coach, this week’s Palmetto Brawl 2013 is that for Clemson. The Tigers have accomplished a number of team and individual marks this season, but the mark against the resume of this senior class is an 0-4 record against the Gamecocks. That does not sit well with Tiger Nation and the coaches and players understand this.
Since being able to totally focus on the game after finishing off The Citadel last Saturday, the Tigers have talked with a definite edgy tone about the game. While offering up the proper respect to the Gamecocks because of the losing streak, the Tigers also have talked about desire and effort and execution, implying they will bring a great dose of each to Williams-Brice Stadium.
At his news conference Tuesday, Dado Swinney was direct and honest about the rivalry realizing that it’s gotten away from Clemson under his watch. While Swinney has taken the Tigers farther than his predecessor, Tommy Bowden, ever did, Bowden dominated the Gamecocks. Of course, USC of the past four seasons doesn’t resemble most of the teams Bowden had to face.
The Tigers will be without starting free safety Travis Blanks who tore an ACL last weekend. Running back Zac Brooks, who has a nagging shoulder problem, is expected to play. Otherwise the Tigers are healthy.
This will be the 111th meeting in the series with Clemson owning a 65-41-4 advantage and the first time both are ranked in the top 10 at the same time. USC has won the last four games, the first time they’ve won four straight in the series since 1951-54. USC has never won five in a row over the Tigers.
Dating to 1941, each time a team has tried to avoid a fifth straight loss in the series it has won that game. Clemson will be gunning for its 50th all time win in Columbia.
Clemson is 10-1 and USC 9-2. The Gamecocks have the nation’s longest home winning streak at 17 games.
USC is a 5.5 point favorite for the 7:06 PM kickoff on ESPN2.