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Starting time likely takes any enjoyment from USC-Clemson game

By Dennis Brunson
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 11/26/19

The television schedule makers for college football suck. There's just no other way to put it.

After all of those games that both South Carolina and Clemson played in the evening this season to accommodate the SEC Network and the ACC Network, the …

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Starting time likely takes any enjoyment from USC-Clemson game

Posted

The television schedule makers for college football suck. There's just no other way to put it.

After all of those games that both South Carolina and Clemson played in the evening this season to accommodate the SEC Network and the ACC Network, the time setters drop a noon start on ESPN for the Palmetto Bowl. Any enjoyment that could come out of the game between No. 3 and undefeated Clemson and 4-7 South Carolina was pretty much taken away with that decision.

That's certainly the case for Gamecock fans. They don't even get to enjoy the pregame tailgating that would have come with an evening start or even a late afternoon start. While the Clemson faithful will be prepping for a sixth straight win over USC and then turning their attention to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game and then the College Football Playoff, they won't get to relish in it because it is expected to be over and done with in quick fashion. Plus, everyone will be trying to get to Williams-Brice Stadium at pretty much the same time due to the noon start. That's not a lot of fun.

The only thing that can overcome the stench of a noon start is a competitive game, and right now it's hard seeing that happen. The Tigers appear to be peaking as their season hits the home stretch, while Carolina looks to be going in the opposite direction.

If South Carolina is going to have any hope at all, it is going to have to play a near perfect game, and it will still need some help from the Tigers in order for that happen. Clemson is doing very little wrong right now after coming out of the gate a bit sluggish at the start of the season. With the exception of the 21-20 win over North Carolina, the Tigers have been stout on defense all season, and the offense is clicking on all cylinders.

USC is going to need its defense to play like it did against Georgia in its 20-17 overtime upset win. Clemson's offense though is a far different animal than the Georgia offense. The reason for that is Trevor Lawrence quarterbacks Clemson, not Jake Fromm. Lawrence is far more effective a passer than Fromm, and he has wide receivers like Justyn Ross, Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers.

All that being said, South Carolina needs to come after the Clemson offense. It needs to attack on defense, trying to shut down the run and making the Tigers beat it with the pass. Clemson is obviously more than capable of doing that, but the Gamecocks must try to throw different things at the Tigers defensively to throw them off their game.

USC needs it to be a low-scoring game to have any chance. When you're only posting 15 points against Appalachian State and six against Texas A&M, it's hard to imagine that much more than that is coming against Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables. It's just hard to see USC having a repeat offense performance against the Tigers.

All of that being said, there is a reason why you play the game. Even if it ends up being a competitive game though, the starting time still sucks.