2013 Clemson vs. South Carolina: Why This Game Will Define Carolina's Season

Zach Gilliland@@ZachGilliland93Featured ColumnistNovember 18, 2013

Nov 16, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw (14) looks to throw downfield against the Florida Gators in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina has been one of the most successful programs in college football over the past few seasons. Steve Spurrier has done a really good job at coaching, making the program a contender in the SEC every year.

There’s also one other thing he has done that Carolina fans should love about the Ol’ Ball Coach. He has beaten Clemson four years in a row.

This season, he needs to do that again. The Gamecocks’ season will be defined by the Clemson game because a win against the Tigers could propel Carolina to a BCS bowl, their first in school history.

BCS Bowl Game on the Line

South Carolina had tremendous seasons in 2011 and 2012, but because they are in the SEC, teams such as Florida, Alabama and LSU have captured the BCS bids over the Gamecocks.

If they lose to Clemson, there is virtually no chance them making a BCS Bowl as an at-large, but with a win over their in-state rival, they could set themselves up nicely.

One thing to note here is that Carolina also needs Missouri to lose one of their final two games to make the BCS bid happen. Also, Carolina would need to play a close game against Alabama to stay ahead of the other two-loss teams in the BCS rankings.

Sure there would be other teams in the SEC that could have two losses as well, such as Texas A&M, Missouri and Auburn, but Carolina could be ahead of them in the BCS rankings come bowl selection time if they beat the Tigers.

Auburn could very easily lose to Alabama, probably dropping them below Carolina.

Texas A&M is already below them and probably wouldn’t jump them.

They have the head-to-head advantage over Missouri, so one would think they get the nod there, assuming Missouri loses one of their final two.

Beating Clemson—the number seven team in the BCS rankings—would give Carolina the respect and national platform needed to make the BCS bowl selection happen.

There is also the possibility that, if Missouri loses another game, Carolina could beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. If that happens, the Gamecocks will be guaranteed a BCS bid.

Beating Clemson is probably an easier task than beating Alabama, so that route would be the preferable one for South Carolina.

COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 26:  Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks looks on against  the Missouri Tigers during the second half on October 26, 2013 at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Ima
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

11-Win Seasons

South Carolina has put together 11-win seasons in 2011 and 2012, which set the Gamecock record for wins in a season.

With a win against Clemson they will have a good chance of tying that mark again. The Gamecocks are 8-2 right now and could be 10-2 after the Clemson game, assuming they beat Coastal Carolina next Saturday.

That would mean Carolina could reach that 11th win in the bowl game.

Also, it is notable that if Missouri loses again, South Carolina could play for the SEC Championship and reach 12 wins, which would break the record they set in 2011.

Three 11-win seasons in a row would undoubtedly make this a great decade of Carolina football. If the Gamecocks beat Clemson, the 2013 season will be defined as another step moving forward for this program.

Spurrier wants to make this program not just an SEC contender but a national contender. Getting to that 11-win mark could be important for Carolina to keep the momentum going for next season, and it might put them in the Preseason Top 10.

5 In a Row

If Carolina beats Clemson in two weeks, 2013 will be defined as the year they beat Clemson five years in a row. The Gamecocks have won four in a row before but never five, and winning their fifth in a row would keep that dominance rolling.

Having their 2013 season remembered as the one that set the new mark in the winning streak could be very memorable for the players on this year’s team.

Looking Ahead

This Clemson game will be very important to Carolina’s season and could possibly give them the opportunity for a BCS bowl and also a chance to beat Clemson five years in a row.

Moving forward, the Clemson game could provide Carolina with a lot of momentum if they were to play for the SEC Championship Game.

Looking back on it in the future, this Carolina team may be remembered for a lot of things, but getting to their first ever BCS Bowl would top them all.

Note: The stats about the series history came from mcubed.net.


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