Note: These posts were originally made last year but I think the sentiments in these in state rivals carry over each year.
From Garnet and Black Attack
This is the biggest game of the season for us. As in most big in-state rivalries, Carolina and Clemson people work together, go to school together, and sometimes are even part of the same family.
This dynamic is probably stronger in South Carolina than other states, as South Carolina is a small state in which the fan bases aren't really all that divided by region. All of this means that along with victories comes the right to gloat to your friends and colleagues for a year, and losing means a year of suffering and humiliation.
One of the great stories of this rivalry occurred back in 1902. That year, an underdog Carolina team handed John Heisman's powerhouse Tigers their only loss on the year.
After the game, a group of triumphant Carolina students marched through the streets with a large banner that depicted a gamecock whipping a beaten tiger. The students were assaulted by a group of Clemson students, and in fact there ended up being a showdown between the two student bodies on the Carolina campus that police had to intervene to stop. This incident apparently gave birth to the "Gamecocks" nickname.
As a Carolina fan, I should stress that because we've tended to struggle against Clemson--the Tigers own a 65-37-4 record against us and have absolutely dominated in the past 15 years or so--any win in this series is huge for us.
Victories are truly joyous occasions, and because Tigers fans think they're entitled to wins over us, it's fun to watch the utter meltdowns that ensure any time they lose to us. See 2006.
I'd argue that this one is as big as any in recent memory. This Carolina team needs a victory in this game to call this season a success; indeed, it needs it to erase the sting of the poor finishes of the past three two seasons. Steve Spurrier also needs a win here to win back the support of some of the more skeptical elements in the fan base.
Finally, all year our players have been talking about how this is a "New Carolina" that won't suffer the fate of teams past. If they want to prove that's true, they're going to have to beat Clemson.
A win would equal positives on all of these fronts. A loss would mean that this season would be deemed a complete failure, even if we go onto to win a lower-tier bowl game.
I don't think Spurrier would be fired or anyone would be ready to sell their season tickets if we lose, but the fan base would certainly be very unhappy with the way things are going.
The fact that this game is at home only adds to the gravity of the game; losing such a big game on our own turf would make matters all the worse. It's worth saying, though, that we've lost plenty of games to Clemson and suffered through many mediocre seasons, so a loss wouldn't be too surprising. Sad but true.
From Leftover Hot Dog
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.
Most in South Carolina like one or other, rarely do you see a person that likes both so it creates a love/hate arrangement in the state. 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.”
Clemson leads the football series 65-37-4, but approximately forty games have been decided by a touchdown or less. 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.
The University of South Carolina football team is in desperate need of a win to reverse another late season slide, and at the same time create a new chapter in the “Palmetto State Rivalry” that has been dominated by Clemson of late, winning seven of the last nine games.
Saturday’s game is huge for South Carolina – “must win!” If the Gamecocks were to win they would finish the season 7-5 and avoid another late season total collapse. USC would end a two-game losing streak to Clemson and give its fans a year’s worth of bragging rights.
Spurrier would take a fairly positive attitude into the final stages of recruiting and onto the speaking circuit with Gamecock Club meetings. Spurrier would improve his record to 2-3 against Clemson and 1-1 against Dabo [Swinney].
A loss for South Carolina Saturday would mean another 6-6 season. It would mean another late season slide by losing four in a row and five of their six games. It would mean Clemson would have beaten the Gamecocks 11 of the past 13 seasons.
Recruiting would be more difficult for the Class of 2011. The fan base would be depressed and I wonder what Spurrier could tell the faithful to inspire them to get excited about the 2010 season. South Carolina cannot afford another poor effort against the Tigers.