Let the rivalry week begin!
Except don't look for any jabs thrown between South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney
Spurrier and Swinney have been waging a war of words in the past year that started with Swinney's infamous "rant" on South Carolina after Clemson's loss to South Carolina in 2011. It continued this year when Spurrier wondered aloud at a recent press conference about whether or not there was another stadium nicknamed "Death Valley" outside of LSU's home stadium.
Swinney responded back later by mentioning, "Our guys have never been to USC. Califorinia is a long way from here. I can see where there would be a little confusion, got two Death Valleys, two USCs, but only one real one."
The war of words came up again during the Marcus Lattimore celebration in late October. Only this time, it appeared to be a light-hearted jab that was blown out of proportion by the media.
"A lot of quotes came across the country and I read one today from the head coach at our upstate school," Spurrier said at the event. "You know, that school that used to beat us a lot that doesn't beat us much anymore, that one. Usually when that coach up there talks about South Carolina it's a bunch of garbage and a bunch of B.S. usually. But I have to agree with him – I have to agree with him on what he said the other day – he said, ‘Marcus Lattimore stands for what's right about college football.'"
In an around about way, Steve Spurrier paid Dabo Swinney a compliment.
Even Swinney himself took it that way and responded in his own light-hearted fashion to Spurrier's comments.
"Look. People need to back off the ledge. Personally I really think that he was trying to pay us a compliment, I think. I think? I know it was kind of around about way of getting there. It would be kinda like telling my wife I really think you should wear this dress cause this dress looks great and you doesn't look near as fat in that dress. But it's kinda around about way but I'll take it as a compliment. I think that is what he was trying to do. So, you know. I do take it as a compliment that he would use something that I said to compliment one of his players."
Fast forward to this weekend's rivalry game and Spurrier alluded to the fact that he expects this week to be all about football and there won't be the back-and-forth that he's had with Clemson's head coach.
"No, I don't think so," Spurrier said on Sunday during his weekly teleconference. "First of all, I like Dabo. I think he's a wonderful guy and an excellent coach and he's done a super job there at Clemson. He and I, and I think our wives, get along very well. Every now and then, just to keep the rivalry going, I think he and I probably need to say a little something to stir up emotions here and there, but it'll probably be all about football this week."
So, back to football.
Coach Spurrier knows he has his hands full with Clemson's high-powered offense. Clemson's offense is averaging 513.8 yards per game of total offense, along with scoring nearly 43 points per game. Quarterback Tajh Boyd is putting up record numbers as DeAndre Hopkins has established himself as one of the great wide receivers in the country. Spurrier wasn't sure on Sunday if they lead the nation in offense or not, but he knows this is likely the best offense they've faced all season long.
"Obviously, Clemson, I don't know if they lead the nation in offense, in scoring, yards, and all that kind of stuff, but without a doubt, they'll be the best offensive team we've played against, so it's a big challenge for us, but should be a heck of a game, a big crowd, loud, over in Death Valley. Hopefully we can play a little bit better than the last time we went to the other Death Valley in Louisiana. We'll see how it all plays out this week."
Notice the "other" Death Valley comment? Yeah, the focus is on the game of football this week.
The implications of this game are huge for both teams. Clemson is still hoping for an at-large BCS bid while the Gamecocks are trying to secure their second straight double-digit win season.
Whatever happens, this rivalry will be on center stage this weekend on ESPN at 7:00 p.m. ET. It seems that this is what both
"It's a huge game, Spurrier said. "Maybe one of the biggest games since I've been here anyway, of our rivalry series, the Clemson-South Carolina game. "
Spurrier: "All about football this week"
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