After a year off no thanks to the coronavirus, the Palmetto Bowl resumes in earnest tonight when the South Carolina Gamecocks put their recent momentum to the test against the Clemson Tigers, who are on a recent surge themselves. It’ll be a chilly one under the lights at Williams-Brice, with a raucous crowd ready to see USC hang tough and pull a surprise against the Tigers. Here’s how the GABA gang is feeling about things.
Kody: I’ve said this about at least three other games this year, but I’m gonna repeat myself and say this game is a prime candidate for a moral victory. I know USC is riding high right now, but it unfortunately seems as though Clemson has started to put it all together as well, and I don’t trust that the Gamecocks can pull this off against a deeper and more talented team — especially that Tigers’ defense, which has remained one of the sport’s best despite their struggles. That being said, this remains the most beatable Clemson squad we’ve seen in several years, and I’ll be disappointed if South Carolina doesn’t bring a respectable effort. As long as the Gamecocks are competitive, I think the season can still end on a relative high note, and give Beamer some credibility on the recruiting trail. It’s been far, far too long since this game was anything but a laugher, so a little can go a long way here. I’ll take Clemson 28-17 in what I hope is a game that has some entertainment value and shows a little hope for the future.
Matt: Yes, it is the Palmetto Bowl and a game against an in-state rival, but there is much, much more on the line than just bragging rights. Six wins is usually the minimum for a respectable season, which is where the Cocks are now. Seven wins generally means the season was a success. If Beamer reaches that benchmark, he will have accomplished in his first year at South Carolina what Muschamp could only do twice in five years. Also, what’s something Muschamp never did? Beat Clemson. Placing that into consideration, South Carolina is playing with house money. No expectations. The Cocks *should* lose to the Tigers, right? We didn’t even think a bowl was possible this year, so as long as the game isn’t a blowout and the Cocks keep it somewhat competitive, confidence in the program won’t be diminished one bit. I think it will be a close game, though, with both offenses struggling to do much. The fans will keep the Clemson offense rattled for most of it, but I think they will slightly pull away at the end. I have Clemson winning, 17-10, but I really wouldn’t be shocked if South Carolina pulls off the upset.
Katie: I was the only one here at GABA to correctly predict a victory last week, and I’d love for a repeat against yet another squad of Tigers (imagine having a unique team name). The Gamecocks have already accomplished more this season than most people expected, so why not add one more thing to the list and end the regular season on a high note with an upset of that school in the Upstate? This will also be the final home game for the seniors who stuck around through the coaching change and have made their mark on the program this year, and it would be so great to be able to send them out with a thrilling rivalry game victory. I’m predicting a pre-Christmas miracle with a long-awaited win for USC in the Palmetto Bowl. (and think of the video of Beamer’s dad dance moves in the locker room that we could get if this happens, we need this victory for the post-game content possibilities alone!!!)