Thursday, November 26, 2009

For The Gamecocks, Clemson Game is a "Must Win"

This is something I penned the other day for another site I write on from time to time, thought it would be good for the LOHD blog....

For The Gamecocks, Clemson Game is a "Must Win"

In the eyes of many, the biggest game of the year is about to take place in South Carolina. The type of game that divides families or can ruin friendships; this is not just any old rivalry game but it is the “Battle of the Palmetto State.”

The USC/Clemson rivalry game is the longest uninterrupted series in the South and the third longest uninterrupted series overall, having been played every year since 1909. Clemson leads the football series 65-37-4, but approximately forty games have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Winning in the Clemson and USC rivalry is everything to these two schools that lie 129 miles apart. Folks in South Carolina will tell you one thing with certainty – beating the rival is a must. From creating story’s that pass on and never get old like “The Prank” or “The Catch” (one or two). To being part of CU/USC rivalry game events - South Carolina holds the "Tiger Burn", and Clemson holds a mock funeral for “Cocky.” Even if their team were to lose every game but beat either Carolina or Clemson, they would consider the season a success. To say this is a rivalry like any other is to say Lebron James is just a normal basketball player….a huge understatement.

Now, yet again the big game is upon us and the two teams are on two different paths. For Carolina, starting 6-2 yet now staring at 6-6….let’s just say a win is needed to right a sinking ship known as the 2009 season. For Clemson, a magical season is in process with a higher calling as ACC glory is around the corner.

On November 28th, the recently crowned ACC Atlantic Division Champs Clemson Tigers will enter Williams-Brice Stadium looking to continue their six game winning streak and place a dagger into the hearts of Gamecock Nation who have watched their Gamecocks lose three straight games. The University of South Carolina football team is in desperate need of a win to reverse another late season slide and at the same type create a new chapter in the “Palmetto State Rivalry” that has been dominated by Clemson of late winning seven of the last nine games.

For South Carolina, this game has all the elements of a “must win” scenario. Just like in most rivalries, winning the big game can either put icing on the cake and deem the season a success or add fuel to the fire to make for a disgruntle offseason. The Gamecocks need to get a win no matter how close or ugly to obtain an elusive seventh win which translates to a better post-season bowl game. Even USC qb Stephen Garcia has dubbed this game a “must win” when he stated after the Florida game to the media, "Being 7-5 as opposed to 6-6 would be huge for us." Garcia continued by saying "… this is a huge game for us. In my opinion, and I think the rest of the team, I think it's a must-win for us."

For the average fan of college football, who could care nothing of this game, it has the makings of one to watch to see how the big bad ACC division champs do against a middle of the pack SEC team. The same can be said for the Georgia Tech vs. Georgia game. At stake is the quick rebuttal from fans of SEC teams about how superior the SEC is when ACC fans talk about how good their respective teams are in the ACC. It will be interesting to see how Georgia and South Carolina do against these two teams that will meet in Tampa in two weeks.

With whispers growing, right or wrong, about Spurrier’s tenure at Carolina, a win versus Clemson would quickly silence the minority. It would also open up a chance to get an eight win season if a win in the bowl game could be achieved and that is something that has not been done but two other times this decade.

For THE University of South Carolina, a win needs to be achieved in this upcoming rivalry game to show glimmers of progression in the Spurrier lead program not to mention to make headway in the in-state recruiting battles. Spurrier and Gamecock fans across the world would love nothing less but to burst the orange bubble; to have the opportunity to relish in the notion of beating the rival, showing how much better the SEC is and to hold the coveted bragging rights for a year.

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