COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -Steve Spurrier likes his teams to finish strong.
It counts even more with South Carolina fans, who end just about every season against in-state rival Clemson.
``It's always helpful to win your last game. It's always helpful. For whatever reason, people remember the last game you play a lot more than maybe you played five weeks, four weeks earlier,'' Spurrier said.
There haven't been a lot of good season-ending memories at South Carolina recently. Spurrier has lost two of three to the Tigers. The Gamecocks have lost nine of their last 11, and are 10-26-1 against Clemson since winning three in a row from 1968-70.
Spurrier's Clemson losses have lingered.
The Gamecocks followed the 2005 loss with an Independence Bowl defeat that soured a five-game Southeastern Conference win streak that included victories over Tennessee and Florida. In 2007, a loss to Clemson capped a five-game losing streak that kept South Carolina out of a bowl.
igers have other consequences, too. Fans hang their heads and have to hear from Clemson friends and co-workers for another year. One of the most quoted accomplishments of Tommy Bowden, fired by Clemson this year, was his 7-2 record against the Gamecocks. And the rivalry game also affects recruiting, Spurrier said, citing his only win in the series in 2006.
``We had our best recruiting year after winning our last three that year,'' Spurrier said. ``And certainly if we're fortunate enough to win our last two this year, it would really help.''
The defeats also appear to have had a subtle effect on Spurrier's outlook on the rivalry. When he arrived at South Carolina, he had all the ``Beat Clemson'' signs removed from the locker room. But when the Gamecocks won in 2006, he offered a game ball to the fans, then gave his blessing to the sale of footballs commemorating the win.
And this season?
``It's the biggest game of the year for us,'' Spurrier said. ``I always said your in-state rival game is your biggest game of the year unless you're playing for the conference championship. We're not doing that so, hey, it's the biggest game of the year.''
n could be a soothing balm to a a tough season, while a loss could send the program into more disarray.
But Spurrier said he isn't worried about that.
``We're just going to try to win the game,'' he said. ``We've got enough to worry about. To play the best we can - that's what we need to worry about.''
Swinney, who said the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry is similar to the Alabama-Auburn rivalry he grew up with, thinks the Tigers have dominated because they have usually been the better team, with a national championship, more bowl wins and more Top 25 finishes.
He also thinks the Gamecocks could be catching up.
``They've really improved their program. Coach Spurrier's done a tremendous job,'' Swinney said. ``They've won seven games this year already. There's been times that has been a struggle for them, just from a program standpoint over the years. Not any more. They're battling and competing with everybody.''
South Carolina players are familiar with the one-sidedness of the rivalry too, said senior linebacker Jasper Brinkley, who doesn't want to leave school with a losing record to Clemson.
ir year.
``Once I got here and played that '06 year we went down to Death Valley and won, I understood the rivalry then. I understood the passion,'' Brinkley said. ``I'm like the fans now. I want to beat Clemson every year.''

Recent NCAAF Discussions

Public buries sports books on Tue, Jan 2017 by Timmy1961
Pick Wiz Play 1/15 on Mon, Jan 2017 by Michael Cash
2nd half play ne/hou on Mon, Jan 2017 by Strakey
NFL Championship Betting News and Notes on Mon, Jan 2017 by Blade
NFL WKEND SIDES &OV/UN 8-0 on Mon, Jan 2017 by armyranger
Advertisement

NCAAF Headlines

  • MINNEAPOLIS (AP) New Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck has hired nine coaches for his staff, including offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca and defensive coordinator Robb Smith.
    The Golden Gophers a...
  • The University of Oregon has suspended football strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde one month without pay after three players were hospitalized following a series of intense workouts las...
  • (STATS) - Furman will open the Clay Hendrix coaching era with a Sept. 2 trip to its oldest rival, Wofford.
    The opener is part of an 11-game schedule announced Tuesday.
    Furman and fellow S...
  • (STATS) - Southeastern Louisiana will seek to build on a successful season in its 11-game 2017 schedule that was announced Tuesday.
    The Lions, under coach Ron Roberts, reversed a 4-7 record in...
  • (STATS) - Wyoming secondary coach Curt Mallory is expected to be named Indiana State's new coach, according to reports.
    Mallory, 47, has never been a head coach. He is the son of former Indian...

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail 2018 National Championship Odds Despite losing to Clemson on Monday night, Alabama has opened as the favorites to win the 2018 College Football National Championship.
Thumbnail Title Game Spread Holding Steady After some initial movement, tonight’s college football playoff national championship point spread is holding steady hours before kickoff.
Thumbnail Clemson vs. Alabama Prediction Will Alabama cover tonight against Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship or will the Tigers pull off the upset?
Thumbnail Watson/Hurts Championship Props Which impact player will step up tonight in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game? Here’s some notable player prop odds for Clemson and...
Thumbnail CFB Championship Injury Report Will No. 1 Alabamaand No. 2 Clemsoncome into tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championshiphealthy? Here is the latest on the injury report.

NCAAF Team Pages