Why Clemson Vs. USC Is The Rivalry To End All Rivalries
In South Carolina, the football rivalry between the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and Clemson’s Tigers is ongoing. The rivalry dates back to the 1880s.
When Clemson began their football program in 1896, coached by Walter Riggs, they scheduled the rival South Carolina College for a Thursday morning game in conjunction with the State Fair. Carolina won that game 12–6 and a new tradition was born: Big Thursday.
Similar to the Alabama-Auburn rivalry and the North Carolina-Duke rivalry, the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry is an in-state collegiate one.
The game between the University of South Carolina and Clemson is typically known as the “Palmetto Bowl” or the “Battle of the Palmetto State.”
The two rivals are in different conferences. The University of South Carolina is in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) while Clemson is in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
Both universities maintain college football stadiums in excess of 80,000 seats each, which places both in the top 20 in the United States.
USC vs. Clemson: 2004 to Present
The South Carolina-Clemson brawl during the 2004 football game was incredibly heated. It was the last game Lou Holtz coached before retiring, and Clemson won the game 29-7.
At the end of that season, each team had won a total of six games that year and both were technically bowl eligible. However, both schools elected to forfeit their post-season because of the unsportsmanlike nature of the fight.
The following year, in 2005, the two teams showed an unusual gesture of sportsmanship by meeting at midfield before the game to shake hands, putting the drama of 2004 behind them.
Clemson won this game as well, leaving the Tiger’s quarterback, Charlie Whitehurst, undefeated against USC in his four years at Clemson.
The only Carolina quarterback to do so against the Tigers was Tommy Suggs, who led the Gamecocks to three victories in a row from 1968-1970.
In 2006, Clemson was leading 28-14 in the third quarter, but then the Gamecocks scored 17 unanswered points.
The 2006 game would also mark the moving of the rivalry game to the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day.
On November 24, 2007, Clemson kicker Mark Buchholz hit a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give Clemson a memorable 23-21 victory over Carolina.
Clemson won one last game against the Gamecocks in 2008 with the score being a brutal 31-14. From 2009 to 2013, the Carolina Gamecocks have defeated the Clemson Tigers.
In the past, the key to South Carolina’s success has been their impressive defense.
The Gamecocks have held Clemson’s offense to 163 yards below their average per game and forced 15 turnovers while only giving up the ball three times.
South Carolina’s defense hasn’t been as dominant this season, though; they are next-to-last in the SEC, allowing 429 yards a game.
Clemson’s quarterback situation isn’t clear for this year’s rivalry game. Record-breaking freshman Deshaun Watson is still day-to-day with an injured knee.
If he cannot play, the Tigers will have to depend on senior Cole Stoudt. Stoudt, who has struggled at times, may not have what it takes to beat the Gamecocks.
Anyone ready for USC/Clemson week? https://t.co/4NqhNExSjp
— The Bryan Bros (@bryanbrosgolf) November 24, 2014
This year, the game will be held at noon on Saturday November 29, 2014 at Clemson’s stadium. After giving thanks this week, South Carolinians will be tuning in on Saturday to see who will be the winner this year.
Clemson has been on a losing streak against Carolina, and they are determined to end that streak this year. This year hasn’t been phenomenal for either team. Both teams won’t be in the Atlantic Coast Conference or Southeastern Conference title games.
You don’t have to be from South Carolina in order to enjoy this rivalry. Who are you going to cheer on?