The Palmetto Bowl: Clemson Tigers Need to Defeat South Carolina


The annual Palmetto Bowl will take place at noon on Saturday. Can the Clemson Tigers finally snap their losing streak to the South Carolina Gamecocks?

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This is the game.  The game where I’ve heard Christians curse and seen many kids cry.

It’s that time of year again. Clemson kicks off at noon this Saturday in Memorial Stadium for the final time this regular season. As the tradition goes, the Tigers will conclude the regular season against their in-state rival, South Carolina.

The Gamecocks are a modest 6-5 while the Tigers rest comfortably at 8-3. The remaining hope for an Orange Bowl appointment for Clemson is still in the mix if they can shut down the Gamecocks on Saturday. Clemson hasn’t won in five years and every Clemson fan lives with this. The feeling is like owning an awesome car, but the wheels aren’t being made anymore deeming the car useless. Honestly, it’s demeaning to Clemson football. So many years of dominance and then the door just shuts.

There is good news though, if it even matters. The last time Clemson had a noon game in Death Valley against South Carolina, Clemson won. Of course all of the little stuff is ultimately useless information. Locations, uniforms, times, and colors have little to do with winning

The important thing here is football– something the Gamecocks have been good at the last couple of years. The Gamecock class that Clemson has encountered the last four years has been deeper than any they have ever had. Winning more games than South Carolina fans could handle was starting to become the norm around Columbia. However, The remnants of what once was great is left over with “What could have been”.

This season, South Carolina’s offense has been effective but its defense has continuously let them down. With five glaring losses in the SEC, this Spurrier-led team is more vulnerable than ever. South Carolina has to be prepared for either Cole Stoudt and a heavy dose of the the Tigers’ running backs, or Deshaun Watson and his dual-threat ability. It is a massive headache for Lorenzo Ward and his disappointing defense.

Another thing to look out for is quarterback pressure from Clemson. This will be the last home game for Vic Beasley, Corey Crawford, Grady Jarrett, Stephone Anthony, and Tony Steward. A couple of names were left out simply because there are too many talented defenders to go through the entire list, but quarterback pressure is the talk here and these guys get it done. They don’t want to lose to South Carolina. If the Tigers fall behind, South Carolina QB Dylan Thompson may find himself under more pressure than he has ever experienced.

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  • Clemson’s defense is ranked No. 1 in the nation but that won’t mean anything if the offense can’t put any points up. If Watson starts then the only thing Clemson has to worry about is a Georgia Tech re-run, followed by weeks of ‘Watson wasn’t ready” news.

    Not long ago, Clemson was celebrating a last second victory over Louisville, easily Clemson’s biggest victory this season. To put the rivalry game into perspective for Clemson fans, that Louisville game was a tougher match-up than what the Gamecocks will present.

    I know all of the six-year stuff is excruciatingly important and unavoidable. However, the Tigers can’t let any of that get into their heads. Defeating South Carolina is about getting to a good bowl game and heading into the off-season with momentum, to improve their chances at making a go at the College Football Playoff next year. Clemson can’t let the recruits watching this game fall under the spell either. These young guys don’t want to have to constantly defend themselves for something they have had no impact on. They want to see Clemson defeat this demon so they can join a program that has its head above this negative cloud that has loomed around the upstate.

    At this point in the rivalry, Clemson will take a goal post thump in triple overtime to win this thing. Bottom line is they hate losing to South Carolina. At home and favored by 4.5 points, Clemson isn’t in a terrible situation and they need to take advantage.