CLEMSON — For the first time, Clemson and South Carolina met with a Bowl Championship Series at-large bid in play. But both teams must wait a week for official invitations.
No. 12 Clemson entered Saturday night’s game as a popular Sugar Bowl candidate, with some hope for the Fiesta Bowl.
A BCS standings jumble, pending conference championship game results and the unpredictable Sugar Bowl selection committee are factors.
“It would be exciting to have a school from South Carolina, an ACC top-tier school,” Jay Batt, the incoming Sugar Bowl president and a part-time Wild Dunes resident, said Saturday night at Clemson.
“Clemson has so many offensive weapons. Any bowl would be lucky to have them.”
Clemson without a BCS bid likely is headed for the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m.
The Tigers at the Georgia Dome would draw a Southeastern Conference opponent, perhaps Mississippi State.
No. 13 South Carolina also is in the Chick-fil-A Bowl mix, though not if Clemson is on the Atlantic Coast Conference side of the matchup.
The Gamecocks might land anywhere in the SEC bowl pecking order below the Sugar Bowl. Along with the Chick-fil-A Bowl, possibilities include the Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Gator Bowl.
South Carolina beat Nebraska, 30-13, in the Capital One Bowl last season. Clemson as ACC champions lost to West Virginia, 70-33, in the Orange Bowl.
Everything gets sorted out with the BCS Bowl Selection Show next Sunday night.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff.