President Clements on rivalry game: "We all want to preserve it"
|Thursday, July 23, 2020, 1:01 PM- -|
Clemson and South Carolina are working to ensure that this year’s rivalry game happens.
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.
Clemson announced that in-person instruction for fall classes will be delayed four weeks, putting further doubt on what a season will look like and whether the rivalry game will be played if the leagues play conference-only games.
Clemson President Jim Clements and Clemson Deputy Director of Athletics Graham Neff said on a Zoom video call Wednesday afternoon that South Carolina and Clemson are committed to making sure that game takes place this fall.
“We’re all going to say yes to that one,” Clements said. “We all want to preserve it. We all want to play it. It’s important and we’re going to do our best to make sure that happens.”
Neff said that both schools are working to ensure the game comes to fruition.
“I think a really important piece to Jim’s point to the work that we are doing, not only with the ACC where a lot of the scheduling updates may be born from but with USC,” Neff said. “(Athletic directors) Dan (Radakovich) and Ray Tanner are former colleagues. They’re really good friends, quite frankly, so they talk very frequently. ... That collaboration within the state is an important part of making that game in particular a reality.”
The ACC Board of Governors meet next week and will likely have a decision on the fate of the season.
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).