South Carolina football fans had a big Saturday. The Gamecocks knocked off Kentucky for the second year in a row (making them 2-0 against Mark Stoops’ team since his comments about Shane Beamer’s “stupid sunglasses” and dancing).
Adding to the night, Darude, the artist who created Sandstorm, was in town for a pregame concert and to begin the game as the celebrity starter. He ended up staying the entire game, guest DJing in spots, and interacting with fans all night.
Still less than 24 hours after that big victory, Gamecock fans are already shifting their focus. Why? Because it’s Clemson Hate Week.
South Carolina football is 5-6, and traditional bowl eligibility is one win away as the rival Clemson Tigers come to Williams-Brice Stadium for another night game next Saturday.
Both teams are playing their best football of the season and are riding three-game winning streaks. Clemson, now 7-4 after a kick in the rear from Tyler from Spartanburg, will be fighting for a better bowl game invitation, so the Tigers have something real that they are playing for, as well.
After the Kentucky victory, South Carolina football fans should be in rare form when Dabo Swinney and company make that 2 1/2-hour drive from the Upstate of South Carolina.
For those who somehow forgot, Beamer and the Gamecocks won last year’s matchup in Memorial Stadium, ending any hope of a College Football Playoff berth for their in-state rivals. Clemson looks very different this season from a personnel, coaching, and record standpoint, but USC won’t have any problems finding motivation heading into this one.
These two teams flat-out don’t like each other, and quarterback Spencer Rattler intimated early this season that he and some of his teammates had already purchased victory cigars for the postgame celebration.
That type of confidence will be needed to beat the Tigers as some of Clemson’s strengths line up directly with some of Carolina’s weaknesses.
Clemson will join Georgia and Texas A&M as the best defensive fronts that the South Carolina football offensive line will have had to deal with this season. The injuries and struggles of the Gamecock line have left the unit operating at less than full capacity, but there will not be much room for error up front next Saturday.
The Gamecocks will have to play one of their best games of the year to beat Clemson again.
Since becoming the head coach at Clemson, Dabo Swinney has more losses to South Carolina than any other program (6 losses; 2009-2013, 2022), and Shane Beamer is 1-1 against the in-state rival in his two seasons at the helm in Columbia.
A win for the Gamecocks will start their first win streak in the rivalry series since the dominant 5-game streak during the Steve Spurrier era. Those five victories were the most wins in a row in the series in South Carolina football history.
This Saturday at 7:30 in Williams-Brice Stadium (and broadcast on the SECNetwork and ESPN app), the rivalry game will begin. Until then, it’s Clemson Hate Week.
Gamecock fans, observe accordingly.