Breaking down the 2022 football schedule

Until the Palmetto Bowl is again competitive, you have to put the Clemson game in this category. Since 2016, it has indeed been a domination. The Tigers have not only been one of the best teams in the country most of those years, by the time the Thanksgiving weekend game rolls around, Carolina is usually struggling with players being out and on at least one side of the ball they are bringing a knife to a gunfight. It’s not that Clemson would not have a big advantage anyway.

In 2016, Carolina was completely overwhelmed on both sides of the ball. That was a young Gamecocks team that got ambushed. Clemson 56, South Carolina 7.
In 2017, an 8-3 South Carolina team was ranked No. 25. This was not the best of the Clemson playoff teams. Shi Smith and AJ Turner were out with injuries, though, and that took any speed Carolina had left off the field on offense. Then, what was a solid and opportunistic defense did not play well. Clemson 34, South Carolina 10.

In 2018, the Gamecocks rolled up 600 yards of total offense with Deebo Samuel, Shi Smith, Jake Bentley, etc., but on defense, Carolina was rolling walk-ons out there because of massive injuries. Even Jaycee Horn, who was not out for the season, was sidelined for this game. The result, Clemson had 744 yards of total offense. Clemson 56, Carolina 35

In 2019, Carolina had no shot on offense. Its defense was actually respectable but it ultimately did not matter. Clemson 38, South Carolina 3.

Most Gamecocks are thankful that the annual game was called off in 2020 due to the SEC’s COVID-19 mandate that all games are in-conference.

In 2021, Clemson brought the worst team since 2014 to town. The Gamecocks felt they had a chance to hang because the Tigers were an up-and-down bunch on offense last season and South Carolina’s defense had been solid most of the year. Instead of a hard-fought defense struggle that most anticipated, Clemson gashed the Gamecocks’ defense. Carolina had no chance on offense (especially after Josh Vann was hobbled during the week with a hamstring) and the game was essentially a replay of 2017 and 2019. Clemson 30, South Carolina 0.

The good news here is that the Gamecocks have improved their roster on offense enough to where they will not be bringing a knife to a gun fight this year as long as everyone is healthy. The bad news is that Clemson is expected to return to being a playoff contender this year and is loaded on defense. The game being in Death Valley is not as big of a deal when you consider that historically, South Carolina has snapped Clemson win streaks on the Tigers’ home field.

-Clemson won four in a row from 1980-83. Carolina snapped that streak with a 22-21 win at Clemson in 1984.

-Clemson won four in a row from 1988-91. Carolina snapped the streak with a 24-13 win at Clemson in 1992.

-Clemson won four in a row from 2002-05. Carolina snapped the streak with a 31-28 win at Clemson in 2006.

Only once in 40 years (2001) have the Gamecocks snapped a losing streak to the Tigers at Williams-Brice. That game was closer than it should have been, 20-15, and was the only time Lou Holtz defeated Clemson.

Who knows what these two teams will look like by that weekend. But the bottom line with the arch rival is that until things change on the field with the games, nothing has changed.

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