|Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 10:11 AM- -|
I have seen a bunch of these games. In fact, I have seen every one since 1974. During that time I have seen orange pants, black outs, fire ants, and brawls. There have been legendary coaches. Some have been blowouts and some classic finishes. I think I have seen it all in this rivalry.
I have seen 28 Clemson wins, 14 South Carolina wins and one tie. They say you can throw out the record book in rivalry games, but that hasn’t been the case too often in this rivalry. In the 43 games I have seen, the team with the best record won 30 times. Clemson beat South Carolina in 1976,1980, 2004, 2005, and 2008 despite not having the best record. The Gamecocks upset Clemson in 1979, 1987,1992, 1996, 2006, 2009, 2012, and 2013 with a worse record.
In rivalry games, they say the home field advantage is even bigger. That has not been the case in the games I have seen in this rivalry. In Williams Brice Stadium, I have seen Clemson win 14 times and Carolina win seven times.
I would expect more of the same this week.
Don’t get me wrong; I see a path for South Carolina to win Saturday night. I am sure the pro-Gamecock crowd will be lathered up Saturday night. They seek revenge from the last three losses to Clemson including an embarrassing blowout last season. The Gamecocks would love to ruin Clemson’s chances at the College Football Playoff.
A.J. Turner has given the Gamecocks a little more running game than they had earlier in the year. Jake Bentley is good enough to beat you if given some time in the pocket. And the Gamecock defense has improved since giving up 56 in the rivalry game last year.
But this one looks fairly simple heading into the game. If Clemson can avoid the self-inflicted wounds, the Tigers should win. Clemson is the better team. Clemson is better along the lines of scrimmage. The Tigers have better skill players. They have the better staff and are more experienced in big games over the past few seasons.
Uniforms and words don’t matter. In the end I believe Clelin Ferell, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Austin Bryant, Tre Lamar, Dorian O’Daniel, Kendall Joseph, Trayvon Mullen, Mark Fields, Ryan Carter, Van Smith, Mitch Hyatt, Tyrone Crowder, Kelly Bryant, Travis Etienne, Tavien Feaster, Deon Cain, Ray Ray McCloud, Hunter Renfrow, Tee Higgins, Diondre Overton and several others will matter.
Simply stated, South Carolina shouldn’t beat Clemson Saturday, but Clemson can beat Clemson. Stay away from turnovers, and self-inflicted wounds and the Tigers will win Saturday night.
The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency
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