The South Carolina Gamecocks have quietly put together a solid season in 2017. They can make some noise in the final week of the regular season by finding a way to defeat the in-state rival Clemson Tigers at home. The two teams meet for the 115th time Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on ESPN (live stream).
The defending national champions can’t afford to succumb to some quality in-state hate. Clemson burned its one acceptable loss this fall by losing a shocker at Syracuse in October. The Tigers have been undefeated since, but a loss to South Carolina could be a death blow — and at the very least, a confidence shaker one week before facing Miami for the ACC title.
The Gamecocks don’t have nearly as much at stake. Will Muschamp’s team snuck into the College Football Playoff’s top 25 last week, but the only real consequence from a win Saturday will be a massive uptick in pride. A South Carolina win likely puts the program in the top 15 — but derailing Clemson’s season may be even more meaningful.
Time, TV channel, and streaming info
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.
- TV: ESPN
- Streaming: Watch ESPN
- Odds: Clemson is favored by 14 points
Clemson at South Carolina news:
- The CFP rankings love the hell out of Clemson. Here’s why.
Every game matters. Beating Auburn in Week 2 counts as a win over No. 6 Auburn, regardless of how much War Eagle stock we all sold after Auburn hit two losses.
Miami and Oklahoma had top-10 wins by bigger margins, and OU’s was on the road, so the overall quality of these wins can be argued any way you like. But based just on who beat whom, Clemson’s got a point here.
This also gives Clemson a big leg up over Georgia, which got whooped by Auburn.
- Clemson smoked South Carolina last year — is there any chance of a repeat?
Clemson's offense is not as explosive this year and that type of victory usually requires a lot of things to go right for one team and wrong for the other. Dabo also hasn't shown much of an inclination to run up the score this year. We've seen a lot of rotating the backups in as soon as Clemson goes up 14-21 points. The playcalling also gets conservative pretty quickly which has led to a lot of grumbling from us.
- That game featured a curtain call for three Tiger stars -- something the Gamecocks haven’t forgotten.
- So how does South Carolina upset Clemson as a two-touchdown underdog? It’ll take a big effort at quarterback.
Bentley is going to have play extremely well this game. He can't throw an interception, and he has to get us in 2nd and 3rd and short. Sure, some of that is going to rely on the run game, but if we consistently put ourselves in 3rd and 10 or longer, this is going to be an extremely long game. I’d say Bentley’s stat line would have to be somewhere near 22-31 with 275 yards and two touchdowns for a Gamecock win.
Can Clemson’s SEC encore be as dominant as its first go-round?
The Tigers absolutely bullied Auburn back in September, sacking quarterback Jarrett Stidham 11 times and limiting their opponent to just six points in a statement-making win. South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley has been shaky in 2017, throwing five interceptions in his last two games against FBS competition. If Clemson can harass him like it did Stidham, the Gamecocks’ offense may wind up stuck in first gear.
Clemson at South Carolina prediction:
The Gamecocks are a good team. Clemson may very well be a great one. The Tigers should win this one — though South Carolina will keep things closer than bookmakers expect.