"They've had an open date to get ready for us," said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney during his weekly Sunday teleconference with the media, "we'll have to kind of catch up and burn the oil pretty quick here the next couple of days to get our plan in place and get our guys ready."
Since beating South Carolina is one of the five goals Clemson set for 2009, winning the state championship is always important, and that's even if there's rematch with Georgia Tech a week later for the ACC Championship.
Swinney mentioned Georgia Tech's game versus Georgia- a game that he knows is important to the Peach State. The final week of the season would always be a rivalry game if he had a vote.
In fact, that's all he's ever known.
"Even when I was in high school we played our rivalry game the last game of the year and it was awesome," Swinney said. "When I was at Alabama for 13 years, we always played Auburn the last game of the year. That's the way I prefer it."
With an ACC team pitted versus its rival SEC team, a win or a loss won't keep Clemson from playing in the ACC Championship a week later. A win or a loss wouldn't keep South Carolina out of the SEC Championship had the Gamecocks won their SEC East.
Some might debate that it's for something more important.
He doesn't buy into the idea that this one game makes that big of a deal when it comes to gaining an upper-hand in recruiting. Though he admitted it does "in some instances," that's not the motivating factor in wanting to win.
"It's just important for this program (to beat South Carolina)," he said.
As Clemson continues to ride its six-game winning streak and celebrate its ACC Atlantic Division title, Swinney said there's "a lot of joy" in Tigertown.
Back in the lineup to help the Tigers wrap up the division was Da'Quan Bowers, who'd been out since the second play of the Coastal Carolina game on Halloween. Swinney said Bowers played "13 or 14" snaps. Bowers' should be back in a "full-blown role" for South Carolina.
"His confidence should be really high coming in Monday and getting ready for the Gamecocks," Swinney said.
Like Bowers, the rest of the state sets its sights on Columbia this weekend for the annual grudge match.
"All the Clemson people, they quickly turn the next page when you know you've got South Carolina coming up and you have to get ready for them," Swinney said.
TIGERS MOVE UP: Clemson is now ranked No. 15 in the latest Associated Press poll released Sunday afternoon. The Tigers are also No. 18 in the BCS standings and No. 16 in the USA Today/Coaches poll.
The No. 15 ranking is the highest Clemson has been in the AP poll since the week before the Alabama game to start the 2008 season.