AP NEWS

On to Rivalry Week for Gamecocks, Clemson

November 19, 2017

A newcomer asked Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables on Saturday about the difficulty of preparing for South Carolina “on a short Thanksgiving week.”

“It’s not a short week,” Venables shot back. “Never has been.”

Will Muschamp knows.

“Thanksgiving is a meal, not a day,” the Gamecocks head coach said last year.

Rivalry Week waiting is over.

And both teams are going into Saturday night in Columbia (7:30 p.m., ESPN) happy and hot.

Defending national champion Clemson, No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings and No. 4 in the AP poll, is 10-1 after a 61-3 rout of The Citadel on Saturday. The Tigers have won four games in a row.

Clemson clobbered the Gamecocks, 56-7, last year. But South Carolina is 8-3 after Saturday’s 31-10 victory over Wofford, two more wins than last year in Muschamp’s first season in Columbia.

Clemson has a date with Miami in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte on Dec. 3.

South Carolina already has assured itself of a nicer bowl than its Birmingham Bowl trip of 2017.

All of which might make the Thanksgiving meal (if not the whole day) taste better for both programs during the long week ahead.

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff