Though second-ranked Clemson has a big date set with No. 3 Miami in next week’s ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, its focus does not turn on the Hurricanes until next week.
“People on the outside might think like that, but not us. We are only focused on what is front of us and right now that is South Carolina,” defensive end Clelin Ferrell said.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney backed up Ferrell on Tuesday, saying his squad is locked in on the task at hand, and that is going to Columbia and trying to win a fourth straight in the Palmetto Bowl against rival South Carolina.
“Very focused, locked in, excited, you know, just understand exactly where we are and embracing the moment,” he said.
What the Tigers (10-1) are embracing is a playoff-like game each and every week. To get into the College Football Playoff and have a chance to defend its national championship, Clemson has to beat the Gamecocks.
But that isn’t going to be an issue any way. The Gamecocks are Clemson’s most hated rival, a game that gives the winner bragging rights all year.
Clemson has won the last three and would love nothing more than to beat South Carolina for a fourth straight year.
“Oh, shoot, we ain’t talked one second about (the ACC Championship) game next week,” Swinney said. “It’s all about this week. We’re playing playoff football for us.
“I mean, they give a trophy out after this game. They give a trophy out after every game … every game we play from this point forward there’s a trophy on the line. So we’re dialed in and focused on just this week. That’s all we’re trying to do is be great this week.”