A little over a week ago it was discovered the Palmetto bowl may not be played due to the ACC possibly going with a schedule that includes only playing conference games this season. Since then there has been some talk that the ACC and SEC were still looking at possibly having those end of season ACC/SEC rivalry matchups played if at all possible.
The thought of not playing that game caused quite the uproar from fans on both sides of the rivalry. They have a reason to gripe. That game needs to be played, and there are a lot of reasons why. Even when you take the money part out of the equation.
For starters, this is one of the oldest rivalry games out there and is currently the second longest running rivalry game in the country. The long tradition that goes with it does not need to be interrupted.
Despite the fact that Dabo Swinney and the Tigers will likely be favored to win their seventh straight over the Gamecocks this season, you won’t find many fans from either side that would honestly say that they want this game scratched from the schedule..
Then you have the history that is expected to be made by Clemson when these two instate rivals meet. The Tigers can tie the current longest win streak of seven wins in a row with a win this season. No Clemson fan wants to put that off for a year.
Then there is this senior class. They have the opportunity to leave Clemson a perfect 4-0 against their most hated rival. A cancellation ruins that.
Let’s not forget Trevor Lawrence, who can continue his personal undefeated record against the Gamecocks and become the third straight Tiger quarterback under Swinney and Tony Elliott to never lose to South Carolina (Deshaun Watson was 3-0 vs UofSC and Kelly Bryant was 1-0). Let’s face it, the chances of Lawrence coming back lie somewhere between slim and none.
You also have the fact that fans from both sides need it and the reason is really simple. Bragging rights. For Tiger Nation it is a chance to rub salt into a wound that seems to get reopened every November of late, and for the Gamecocks it is a chance to get a huge upset win and potentially knock the Tigers out of the playoffs.
Last but not least, football is king and this applies not only in South Carolina but across the entire southeast. Many fans are looking for any kind of normalcy during this pandemic. This game, which is gets top billing around here, being played on a field with an oblong leather ball, has served as an escape for many years now.
Even if there are no fans in attendance. Foe example, after the attacks on 9/11 when this game served as a way to unite and have a little fun during a time that seemed so dreary for so many.
The people of this state need the Palmetto Bowl to be played. It just means more is actually more than slogan when applied here. This game can be more than just two teams showing up to fill the spots on the sidelines. We need some unity right now, and nothing unites the people more than their favorite sporting event.