South Carolina Rivalry
Clemson, SC. - The Atlantic Coast Conference championship game can wait for Clemson.
It's South Carolina week, and that's too important for the 15th-ranked Tigers to overlook.
“For us, it's just the next game, next goal,'' coach Dabo Swinney said Tuesday.
The Tigers (8-3) have a done a good job so far in sticking to Swinney's philosophy.
They've been locked onto the five team goals permanently put on the wall of Clemson's main meeting room. The Tigers have already checked off the first two this season - “Win The Opener'' and “Win The Atlantic Division'' - and now they're ready to move on to No. 3, “Win The State Championship.''
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made Clemson -3 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 77% of bets for this game have been placed on Clemson -3 (View College Football bet percentages).
Still, wouldn't it be easy for the Tigers to brush aside the nonconference rivalry with the Gamecocks (6-5) and let their minds wander to the ACC championship game in
No, Clemson star C.J. Spiller said: “It'd mess up one of our team goals and that's winning this game.''
The Tigers have done that quite well since the two schools about 150 miles apart first kicked it off in 1896. Clemson holds the overall edge, 65-37-4. The Tigers have been particularly dominant the past three decades or so, winning 24 of 33 since 1976.
Clemson's won the past two, six of the last seven and 10 of 12.
Even if Clemson wanted to sneak a peak at the Yellow Jackets, the Tigers' fans wouldn't let them.
Just look at last Sunday. Less than 24 hours after Clemson wrapped up the ACC's Atlantic and won its sixth straight game, 34-21, over
“We quickly turned the page,'' Swinney said.
Tigers quarterback Kyle Parker heard from some around campus that they didn't care if Clemson won the ACC title game as long as it kept its winning ways against
“That just shows you how much they care,'' said Parker, a freshman from
A year ago, Clemson's 31-14 victory over
Swinney hasn't changed preparation or increased emphasis this week. It's just another game, albeit one that gives Tigers or Gamecocks fans the chance to stand a little taller the rest of the year.
“Of course, we want to go out there and win the game,'' Spiller said. “That's why we're going to prepare the best way we can this week.''
It's the way they've gone about things all year and particularly during the winning streak when questions mounted about when - not if - the Tigers would lose focus they had worked so hard to keep.
Spiller immediately shot down the chance he might rest his sore turf toe Saturday to be healthier for Georgia Tech. “It's the last regular season game,'' he said. “There's no need for rest.''
Right now for Clemson, its all about the Gamecocks.
“Nobody cares about next week or last week or whatever,'' Swinney said. “It's about four quarters on Saturday when you play your rival.''
Posted: 11/24/09 2:56PM ET