Thanksgiving Week Means Rivalry Week for Tigers and Gamecocks

Zach Lentz

CLEMSON— It is Thanksgiving week and while many across the state are thinking about family obligations, travel and gathering the food that will be eaten Thursday, for the Clemson Tigers Thanksgiving week means one thing and one thing only—it’s rivalry week.

“There’s the season and then we have South Carolina,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “It stands alone—that’s why it’s a goal listed all by itself on our goal board. This is a fun week. It’s awesome to be a part of rivalry games, regardless of where you are. Whether it’s Florida-Florida State, Auburn-Alabama, Michigan-Ohio State, whatever—this is a special week, because this is one that you live with the entire year.

“We’re looking forward to competing with these guys. It’s the next goal for us. We’re really happy that we were able to achieve our second goal which was to win the division and this is the next goal. We know that we're facing a good team.”

While this year’s game no longer features Steve Spurrier walking the sidelines across from the Tiger’s bench, the task ahead of the No. 3 Clemson Tigers (11-0, 8-0 ACC) is as daunting as ever, as the South Carolina Gamecocks (4-7) will look to play the role of spoiler Saturday (noon, ESPN).

“Will’s done an excellent job, he really has,” Swinney said “They’re very well coached. Their staff has done a great job in building some positive momentum...They’re playing a lot of young guys, but they’ve done a heck of a job.”

With an ACC Championship awaiting the Tigers regardless of the outcome of this week’s game against the South Carolina Gamecocks, the Tigers' head coach is not looking forward. In fact, he is focused on having his Tigers play their best game of the season this week.

In part, simply due to the fact that it is South Carolina, but also this game represents a chance for the seniors to go out with a victory.

“For us our focus in just on trying to finish strong and trying to play the best four quarters of the season this week.,” Swinney said. “That’s really what we’re locked in on and focused on.

“So, we’re really excited about having that opportunity...I know it will be a great crowd, and everybody will have a chance to digest all that turkey that they’re going to eat on Thursday and get excited about coming in and having an opportunity to play a college football game on Saturday night.”