Many would hesitate to say that any rivalry compares to that of the Iron Bowl. However, both coaches who will participate in the Palmetto Bowl thinks it does.
On Tuesday, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney made the case bluntly and without hesitation. Swinney said, in part, that there is “zero difference in this state” and that “it’s just different logos.”
During the SEC coaches teleconference on Wednesday, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp echoed his take when asked if he felt the same way.
“Absolutely. There’s no question,” Muschamp said. “We don’t have any pro teams in our states. There’s a lot of similarities.”
The Tigers, who are pegged at No. 3 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings released on Tuesday night, visit the Gamecocks on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. South Carolina just entered the rankings at No. 24.
Clemson is a 14-point favorite to leave Williams-Brice Stadium with a victory.
“I had a good understanding of what a rivalry was all about, coming from Alabama. I lived in Alabama for 33 years. That’s all I knew,” Swinney told reporters on Tuesday. “Zero difference in this state. Zero. Year-round, that’s all people talk about. It’s just different logos. It’s the same type of intensity, emotion. No pro sports in here in this state, and so when I first got here, February of ’03, and when I went out recruiting that first spring, I didn’t have a clue. I didn’t know anything about the state of South Carolina. …
“I quickly figured it out because everywhere I went, people were either really happy to see me or they just kind of looked at me like I had a big wart on my nose or something.”