Clemson is looking to do something that has not been done in the Clemson-South Carolina series in 79 years … beat the Gamecocks six years in a row.
South Carolina is looking to do something that could shake up the College Football Playoff race … knockoff the undefeated Tigers and mess up their opportunity to defend their national championship.
Those are the things that will be at stake Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia when the two rivals battle for the 117th time at noon.
The emotions for a rivalry game are always high, but in rivalry games like Clemson-Carolina, the emotions are taken too another level, which is why Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is making sure his players are focused on executing the task at hand.
“I’m sure Coach (Will) Muschamp does the same thing with his guys. Nobody wants to have nonsense, and it is an emotional game. There is a lot of passion,” Swinney said. “These guys no each other and things like that, but you don’t want to do anything to cross the line.”
Swinney said he has talked to his players already and if something comes up, he asked them to walk away.
“You don’t want to get foolish penalties and you don’t want to be suspended and all of those things,” Swinney said. “More importantly, this is a great rivalry. Both sides need to have respect for that, play the game on the field and whoever is the best team that day wins. One team is happy, and one team is sad. Hey! You move on and come back and fight again next year.”
It will definitely be an emotional game for the Gamecocks (4-7, 3-5 SEC). There season will end after Saturday, win or lose, and then there is the situation with their head coach. Will Muschamp keep his job?
It has been a hot-button topic in Columbia the last few weeks as South Carolina president Robert Caslen threw Muschamp and athletic director Ray Tanner under the bus on a couple of occasions with the media and then tried to retract his statements.
It has made for some uneasiness in the capital city and makes some wonder how the Gamecocks will approach the game against the Tigers.
But Clemson (11-0, 8-0 ACC) is not worried about all the drama coming out of Columbia. Its focus is to go out and play its best football of the season.
“Our focus is really simple,” Swinney said. “It’s on finishing strong and playing our best four quarters of the season this week, and really nothing else.”
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