Our South Carolina Gamecocks wrap up the 2019 season tomorrow afternoon with the annual Palmetto Bowl tilt against the Clemson Tigers, who are once again undefeated and in the thick of the playoff hunt. While our own Gamecocks are unfortunately not even in line for a bowl, rivalries are rivalries, and who knows what can happen, right? Here’s how the GABA gang is feeling about things.
Kody: I want to be optimistic. I really, really do. But even an “underwhelming” Clemson team like this one is still an overwhelming favorite against the Gamecocks as they’re currently built -- and that’s before you include variables like the fact Bryan Edwards may not play. In any event, no one thought USC would knock off a top-5 Georgia team in Athens and the Bulldogs are looking better than ever right now, so who knows. Maybe the Gamecocks have enough juice left in them to ruin Clemson’s season, but for the sake of my gentle heart, I’m keeping the bar a little low and just hoping for a competitive effort at home. The future of this coaching staff may well depend on the effort USC brings in this one.
Katie: Friends, Romans, fellow South Carolina fans, lend me your ears: I cannot stray from my role as our resident Eternal Sports Optimist, so I am predicting an upset for Saturday. Is this prediction likely to be right? Not really. Is this prediction smart, based on how the season has gone so far? Not really. Have either of those things ever stopped me before? Definitely not. While it would be very fitting for this absolutely cursed dumpster fire of a season to end with an embarrassing drubbing at home against Clemson, it would also be fitting for the Gamecocks to somehow pull off a shocking victory that means little in the grand scheme, since the season has effectively been over for weeks and all we can feel “good” about is that there are somehow multiple teams in the division/conference that are somehow worse than USC. As we go once more unto the breach, prepare to enjoy one final showing from the seniors and possibly being able to hold something over Clemson if the stars align. If things go catastrophically, break into the Thanksgiving leftovers and get yourself into a nice tryptophan-induced nap.
Matt: I can’t see things going well in this one. I let my emotions get the best of me in my prediction versus Texas A&M, but I won’t let the same thing happen here. I am hoping the bye week worked wonders for this offense and they at least put up some points, but I can’t see whatever they cooked up being enough. This Clemson team is good. Perhaps not as good as last year, but this game is still a mismatch. In order to be competitive, 24 points is required on offense, and I’m simply not sure if USC can do that. South Carolina beat Georgia by riding their defense. They only scored 13 points of offense in that one too thanks to Mukuamu’s pick 6. Emotions will be riding high because this one is at home, so I think the game will be competitive going into the second quarter. After that, all bets are off. In a game solely for state bragging rights, I’m not sure Bryan Edwards playing would even be the best thing for his career. Assuming he sits, the Gamecock offense will be abysmal, although having Feaster back is a plus. I have Clemson taking this year’s Palmetto Bowl 42-13.