1. Goodbye, Pharoh
Sixteen USC seniors and several juniors – including wide receiver Pharoh Cooper – will be playing in their last football game as Gamecocks. Cooper is one of USC’s most dynamic players ever. In one game, he caught a TD pass, threw a TD pass and ran for a TD. He’ll be missed.
2. He guarantees it
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, among the top candidates for the Heisman Trophy – college football’s most prestigious award – has vowed he will never lose to South Carolina. So far, he’s 1-0, leading the Tigers to a 35-17 victory last season despite playing with an injury.
3. Winter in Arizona
The Tigers (11-0) are trying to finish the season undefeated for the first time since they won the national championship in 1981. They’ll have to beat UNC in the ACC Championship game, then win in the College Football Playoff semifinals to advance to the national championship game in Glendale, Ariz.
4. Goodbye, Shawn?
Interim head coach Shawn Elliott might be leading the Gamecocks for the final time. Elliott has done and said all the right things – except win. His lone victory was against Vanderbilt, and most recently USC was upset by The Citadel. He says he hopes to keep the job.
5. High noon
Yes, USC students will have to rise and shine early to make the kickoff – or watch the game on ESPN. A group of USC students had started a petition drive to get the game changed to a later kickoff – but to no avail.
Tigers vs. Gamecocks
Who: Clemson (11-0) at South Carolina (3-8)
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium