The last time South Carolina hosted Clemson, the Gamecocks were 9-2, ranked 10th in the country and seeking their 17th-straight home victory under senior quarterback Connor Shaw and fifth-straight win over the Tigers. Clemson, on the other hand, was ranked sixth and seeking a shot at the National Championship.
Now, the Gamecocks are 3-8, facing their worst season since 1999 and coming off a loss to the Citadel, South Carolina’s first loss to an FCS school in 25 years. Clemson is the No. 1 team in the country and will play in the College Football Playoff barring an unexpected loss.
Few Gamecock fans expected the season to turn out this way, but it was evident from the start that this would not be a bounce-back season for South Carolina. With a former walk-on at quarterback and a defense that never improved from last season, the Gamecocks never really had a chance of a winning season.
However, the Palmetto Bowl is a rivalry, and rivalries don't always turn out as expected. South Carolina fans are holding out hope that their team can somehow pull off the miraculous upset.
After last week's loss, this will likely be Shawn Elliott’s last game as South Carolina’s head coach. Obviously, Elliott would like to go out with an incredible win over the Tigers, and to do that the Gamecocks will have to play a nearly perfect game in all three phases.
Currently, the 11-0 Tigers are 18 point favorites on the road. Starting quarterback Deshaun Watson and starting running back Wayne Gallman have led the Tiger offense this season. However, with the exception of a 58-0 drubbing at Miami earlier this season, the Tigers have struggled on the road.
Though undefeated at Louisville, North Carolina State and Syracuse, the Tigers only won by a combined 28 points in those games, with all three coming down to the wire.
Under Elliott, the Gamecocks have gone 1-4, losing to Texas A&M, Tennessee, Florida and The Citadel by a combined 21 points. South Carolina has not led at halftime yet this season. For the Gamecocks to have a shot against Clemson this year, they will have to get off to a fast start and keep momentum throughout the game.