Clemson 37 @ South Carolina 32
Gamecock fans and alumni should actually be pleased by this result. Of course the Gamecock faithful would have loved to have the bragging rights of being the only team in the regular season to have knocked off Clemson, and to have been the team that (possibly) prevented the Tigers from a College Football Playoff birth.
But, let’s be honest here: The Gamecocks had arguably the worst season they have had since Lou Holtz’s first season as the Gamecock’s coach in 1999 in which they went winless at 0-11. Carolina’s only wins in 2015 were in the opening week against UNC in which the team that had the most players without leg cramps at the end would win (also, no one knew at that time that UNC would actually be a pretty good team), against Central Florida (winless at 0-12), and against a hapless 4-7 Vanderbilt team.
Clemson will go on to the ACC Championship Game, and then to the College Football Playoffs. Carolina will start looking for a new coach. If Carolina would have pulled out a victory today, the powers that be would spend the next two months relishing the victory against their cross-state rival instead of focusing on finding the best coach they can get. Wins in rivalry games by bad teams cloud the issues that made them a bad team in the first place. If an assistant led the Gamecocks to a victory, the players might rally and demand that assistant be given the head job based on one game. You may laugh, but it happened to West Virginia after Rich Rodriguez left after the 2007 season, and Bill Stewart led the team to a 48-28 Fiesta Bowl win versus #3 Oklahoma.
Clemson fans, congratulations. Gamecock fans, get ready for an actual search for Ballcoach’s successor. There certainly will be plenty of fine candidates.