Palmetto Bowl Preview
KIckoff of the Palmetto Bowl, the biggest yearly sporting event in South Carolina is 48 hours away.
The Clemson Tigers seek to keep their playoff hopes alive as the regular season comes to an end. The Tigers welcome in (if you want to call it welcoming) their rivals from Columbia. Even though Clemson rides a two game win streak in the series, the Gamecocks kept the Tigers down for half a decade previously. An entire class of students came and went through Clemson without ever seeing a win over USC.
Objectively, Clemson has the edge here. The Tigers come into this game with a 10-1 record. Pittsburgh upset them at home in their single loss. On the other hand, South Carolina sits at 6-5 coming into the Palmetto Bowl. After a pitiful first half of the season, the Gamecocks revamped after a change under center. True freshman quarterback Jake Bentley practically single-handedly turned around what could easily have been another losing season. Rico Dowdle at tailback and Bryan Edwards downfield played a massive role as well that cannot be downplayed. Edwards helped Bentley transform five-yard slants into forty yard gains. Dowdle gave the team a running game when it previously had none.
All that being said, South Carolina is light years from where Clemson is as a program right now. In addition to the exceptionally broad talent gap, let us not forget that this is an away game for USC. Of course, if Williams-Brice the venue, I would probably favor the Gamecocks. Once again, the Cockpit is a feared destination for opposition. The SEC East runner-up Tennessee discovered that firsthand last month.
In no way does South Carolina have no shot at the upset in USC year’s edition to the Palmetto Bowl. On the other hand, the Gamecocks could very well shock the nation. It’s just not very likely. South Carolina is 1-3 on the road so far. The Gamecocks only road win all season came in the season opener in Nashville. More USC fans attended than Commodore fans. Don’t expect that this Saturday.
South Carolina has a defense this season as well. After a deplorable two seasons, Muschamp whipped that side of the ball into shape. The Gamecock defense is effective against quarterbacks and receivers now, even though they still struggle with the run at times. In this year’s edition of the Palmetto Bowl, expect Clemson to attack USC the same way most teams have: on the ground.
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