COLUMBIA – Tailgate lots surrounding Williams-Brice Stadium slowly filled during the week. There are Gamecock flags and Tiger paws, smoky grills and corn holes. Fans began waking up early Saturday morning, and many more are still arriving, jamming the roadways.
Welcome to the rivalry.
Geographically, Columbia is the everyday center of South Carolina. On this day, this night, this city has become the state’s unquestioned football epicenter. From Charleston to Greenville, Myrtle Beach to Aiken, all eyes are fixated on Williams-Brice Stadium.
When No. 10 South Carolina hosts No. 6 Clemson for a 7:11 p.m. kickoff on ESPN2, it will be the 111th meeting between these two rivals. None have been bigger than this. For the first time, the Gamecocks and Tigers collide for a top-10 showdown. Representatives from the Sugar and Orange Bowls are among those in attendance, highlighting the potential BCS implications for both teams.
One hour to kickoff, the stakes are inescapable.
South Carolina (9-2) could capture its third straight 10-win season with its fifth consecutive victory over Clemson (10-1). It would be the first time the Gamecocks have won five straight games over their rival. Not since the Tigers won their fifth straight in 1941 has a streak extended this long.
Clemson surely knows what it can gain tonight. For a handful of Tigers – starting with senior quarterback Tajh Boyd – legacies are on the line. “Legendegacy” is the word Boyd used this week. Lose this game, and he will forever be winless against his rival. Win, and a glaring hole on his resume would be filled, a magnificent career complete.
As always, The Post and Courier has you covered from start to finish. We have four reporters on site tonight. Follow Gamecocks beat writer Ryan Wood (@rwood_SC), Tigers beat writer Aaron Brenner (@Aaron_Brenner), columnist Gene Sapakoff (@sapakoff) and reporter Andrew Miller (@APMiller_PandC) on Twitter for live updates. Make sure to check PostandCourier.com later tonight, and pick up Sunday’s edition of The Post and Courier for full coverage.
For four straight years, the Palmetto state has been garnet. Tonight, Clemson will try to paint it orange.