College football home cooking: 2013 provides an unprecedented schedule quirk for South Carolina, Clemson
Listen to the silence in and around Williams-Brice Stadium and Memorial Stadium this morning.
Aug. 29 (Thu.) N. Carolina
Sept. 7 at Georgia
Sept. 14 Vanderbilt
Sept. 21 Open
Sept. 28 at Central Florida
Oct. 5 Kentucky
Oct. 12 at Arkansas
Oct. 19 at Tennessee
Oct. 26 at Missouri
Nov. 2 Mississippi State
Nov. 9 Open
Nov. 16 Florida
Nov. 23 Coastal Carolina
Nov. 30 Clemson
The calm before the storm, as they say.
Aug. 31 Georgia
Sept. 7 South Carolina State
Sept. 14 Open
Sept. 19 (Thu.) at N.C. State
Sept. 28 Wake Forest
Oct. 5 at Syracuse
Oct. 12 Boston College
Oct. 19 Florida State
Oct. 26 at Maryland
Nov. 2 at Virginia
Nov. 9 Open
Nov. 14 (Thu.) Georgia Tech
Nov. 23 The Citadel
Nov. 30 at South Carolina
Starting next week, South Carolina or Clemson will welcome 80,000-plus through the gates to celebrate a day of college football on 11 of the next 14 Saturdays.
And only once this season will they both play home games on the same day. On Nov. 23, Coastal Carolina plays at South Carolina and the Citadel heads to Clemson, tune-up games for the Gamecocks and Tigers before they clash the following week in Columbia.
Because both programs host a midweek game — South Carolina welcomes North Carolina on Thursday, and Clemson brings in Georgia Tech on Nov. 14 — the Palmetto State features an unprecedented 13 separate home dates for its largest two schools.
The SEC and ACC certainly do not collaborate on scheduling, so the lack of overlaps is a coincidental gift given to the college football fans in South Carolina, not to mention traffic patrol, hotel chains, tourist attractions and the overall state economy.
Consider a few more statistical anomalies the 2013 schedule provides:
It’s a stark contrast to last year. The rivals shared five different dates hosting a football game: Sept. 8 and 15, Oct. 6, and Nov. 10 and 17. The middle date in there, Oct. 6, called for Georgia to visit the Gamecocks and Georgia Tech in Clemson, a double dose of Peach State-Palmetto State bragging rights.
It was the fifth year in state history that Memorial and Williams-Brice Stadiums double-dipped on five different dates the same season.
Among them was in 1987, when in October, Clemson and South Carolina were each home four consecutive weekends — and combined for a 7-1 record. Both squads finished in the AP top 15.
Just for comparison, North Carolina-Duke and Virginia-Virginia Tech are each at home the same day four different times in 2013. Florida- Florida State and Mississippi- Mississippi State share the host spotlight three times, while Georgia-Georgia Tech and Auburn-Alabama overlap just twice.
A nugget involving the Iron Bowl and Egg Bowl participants: there are never two SEC-only games on the same day in the state of Alabama or Mississippi all season.
For all four ACC games in Death Valley and all four SEC games at Williams-Brice Stadium, the home team gets the state all to itself when the other is either idle or on the road.
The last time Clemson and South Carolina played every home conference game when the other school was not hosting that same day: 1955, when they combined to host just three ACC games.
There are a couple of breaks from the madness. Both the Tigers and Gamecocks are idle on Sept. 21 (Clemson at N.C. State on Thursday, and a USC bye week) as well as Nov. 9 (bye weeks for both.)
If you’re a college football fanatic in this state and you’ve been roped into a fall Saturday wedding, here’s hoping it’s on one of those two days.