ACC and SEC working to ensure Tigers and Gamecocks play this season


by - Senior Writer -
There is hope that Travis Etienne gets one more shot at the Gamecocks.
There is hope that Travis Etienne gets one more shot at the Gamecocks.

Don’t give up hope on the rivalry game between Clemson and South Carolina. There is growing sentiment across the region that both the ACC and the SEC will do whatever it takes to make sure that rivalry weekend happens despite the change in scheduling that is likely to occur.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southeastern Conference, and the Big 12 have announced that they will wait until late July to make a decision on the season and how potential scheduling could look. Both the Pac-12 and the Big 10 made the decision a few weeks ago to play only conference games this season.

The ACC has been rumored to follow suit, with teams playing in a pod system, putting the annual rivalry game between the Tigers and Gamecocks in jeopardy. Clemson’s rivalry game against South Carolina is the post-Thanksgiving highlight in the state of South Carolina, played each Saturday after Thanksgiving. The series is also the longest continuous non-conference rivalry in the nation, with the teams playing each year since 1909. The only longer consecutive rivalry is Minnesota vs. Wisconsin (it’s a conference game), who played for the 113th consecutive year last season.

Longest Continued OOC Series in College Football

Clemson vs South Carolina, 1909-Present

Georgia vs Georgia Tech, 1925-Present

Notre Dame vs Navy, 1927-Present

Army vs Navy, 1930-Present

Miami (OH) vs Cincinnati, 1945-Present

USC vs Notre Dame, 1946-Present

However, one ESPN writer says the conferences are going to do whatever it takes to play those rivalry games.

“Particularly when it comes to the ACC and the SEC because there is so much crossover there,” Ryan McGee said on the Full Ride on SiriusXM Monday. “They desperately want to protect that last weekend of the season - Georgia and Georgia Tech, Florida and Florida State, Clemson and South Carolina, and Louisville and Kentucky. I was at the beach in North Carolina last week and this guy stopped me on the beach with big tears in his eyes and asked, 'Man, what are we going to do? What can we do to save Clemson and South Carolina?' But the point is that SEC and ACC have always worked together. Yes, there is a rivalry there and yes they compete for markets, but the reality is that when they have to work together, they do work together.”

McGee then said that ACC commissioner John Swofford is working behind the scenes with the SEC and Commissioner Greg Sankey.

“And John Swofford, who will be retiring a year from now, I have never believed he has received enough credit,” McGee said. “He is the silent assassin. He is working behind the scenes and has done that with the SEC for forever. And so a priority for them is to do everything they can to protect Louisville-Kentucky and to protect those cross-conference games and figure out a way to play those in addition to those non-conference games.”

McGee went on to say that he thinks the season will have a delayed start, which is the right decision for those conferences still waiting to announce plans.

“I have said all along that we would never start Labor Day weekend. I have always said that we will start the season on a delay and then probably not a 12-game schedule,” McGee said. “But they will save as many games as they can. But you use the phrase buying time and that is what they are doing. (SEC commissioner) Greg Sankey told us a few weeks ago that he has been told by multiple specialists at his universities that what you have to do right now is take as much time as you possibly can because the science changes and the numbers change. And hopefully there will be some sort of medicine at some point but you are only going to get there if you wait a little bit.”

The Tigers have won six in a row in the series and have outscored the Gamecocks 256-104 in that span. Last year’s 38-3 Clemson victory was the 117th game in the series, which Clemson leads 71-42-4.

Clemson would be going for a seventh consecutive win this season (and would more than likely be prohibitive favorites), which would tie for the longest such streak in the series (Clemson won seven in a row from 1934-1940).

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