Palmetto Bowl

Tiger Paw or Heck Nah

Gamecock Parker White and Tiger Travis Etienne

Gamecock Parker White and Tiger Travis Etienne

Anyone who has lived in South Carolina long enough knows it well. Half will say “Carolina-Clemson” and the others will dub it “Clemson-South Carolina,’ but all will agree that the Palmetto Bowl is the pinnacle of college athletics in the state. The rivalry kicked off in 1896, just seven years after the founding of Clemson Agricultural College, and has continued to a now 109 consecutive years of football games. In the present day, the two school participate in the Palmetto Series, composed of over a dozen competitions throughout the school year. For the 2019-2020 school year, the standings are currently in Carolina’s favor four wins to three (SC: men’s golf, women’s golf, women’s basketball, volleyball and Clemson: men’s soccer, women’s soccer, and women’s cross country) with the next contests coming up on November 30th and December 15th with football as well as men’s basketball, respectively.

As South Carolina’s largest universities, South Carolina and Clemson boast a combined sixteen national championships, with Clemson earning titles in football two of the last three years while South Carolina registered back to back College World Series wins to start the decade. While Clemson has won the last five football meetings, Carolina won the five before that, putting them at even for the last decade.

As alumni go, both schools boast great representatives both in and out of sports. Darius Rucker, of Darius Rucker and Hootie and the Blowfish fame, as well as recently deceased Houston Texans owner Bob McNair both called Soda City home for four years. On the other hand, actor Dolph Lundgren and both 2010/2014 SC gubernatorial candidates (Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and State Senator Vincent Sheheen) all attended Clemson. On the fields and courts, Clemson’s most prominent alumni in sports is Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson while the Gamecocks are represented by Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Whit Merrifield in the MLB.

Regardless, this year’s football game is about to be crazy. South Carolina comes in at 4-7 while Clemson sits at 11-0 ranked third in the country. The Gamecocks have their worst record since 2015, when they came in 3-8 after Steve Spurrier resigned midseason. That game, however, ended 37-32 in Clemson’s favor, their third closest game in an undefeated regular season in route to a narrow championship game loss. More recently, the game has been a blowout.In 2016 and 2017, Clemson outscored Carolina 90-17 before a 56-35 shootout last year that saw SC’s Jake Bentley throw for 510 yards to Trevor Lawrence’s 393. The difference however was the Tigers’ 351 yards on the ground compared to just 91 for the visiting Gamecocks.

This year, South Carolina has moved to the QB duo of freshmen Dakereon Joyner and Ryan Hilinski while Clemson still has sophomore Trevor Lawrence, who is rounding back into form after leading his squad to a title last year. At the other offensive skill spots, Clemson boasts star RB Travis Etienne as well as WRs Justyn Ross, Tee Higgins, and Amari Rodgers. Carolina has RBs Rico Dowdle and Tavien Feaster, who transferred after backing up Etienne last year, as well as receivers Bryan Edwards and Shi Smith. Sadly, the matchup of brothers SC tight end Nick Muse and Clemson safety Tanner Muse wasn’t to be as Nick tore his ACL earlier this year. On the other side, the Gamecocks have defensive linemen Javon Kinlaw and DJ Wonnum as well as CB Israel Mukuamu while the Tigers also have LB Isaiah Simmons and DB AJ Terrell. The only spot that’s a clear win for Carolina is the kicker.

University of South Carolina boasts a great placekicker hailing from none other than Mount Pleasant, SC. Though Parker White went to Wando (shhh!), his younger sister is a proud AMHS student. While Clemson kicker BT Potter is just 9 for 15 this season with a miss at 24 yards and 1 for 4 between 40 and 49 yards, White is 17 for 21 overall and 6 for 6 from 40 to 49 yards. Additionally, Clemson is shunning their own Charleston product with freshman Jonathan Weitz, who became known for a 50 yard field goal in the playoffs while at Porter Gaud.

Prediction: SC wins when Clemson forgets to take the bus to Columbia