Edgar McGee and Wayne Lorick are no strangers to the rivalry between the Clemson University Tigers and University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
McGee, who has been attending the Clemson-Carolina games since the mid-60s, said today's game is an important one in the history of the rivalry.
“There is more anticipation because of what it can do for you if you win. Normally you get bragging rights, but the dollars are on the line as well,” McGee said. The winner could also have a leg up in athlete recruitment.
“Both teams can come out of it with more prestige than they would any time in the past,” McGee said.
The 12th-ranked Tigers (10-1) and 13th-ranked Gamecocks (9-2) play at 7 p.m. at Death Valley. The game will be televised on ESPN.
It’s the first time since 1987 that both schools have been in the top 15 during the matchup, and only the second time ever.
The Gamecocks have won the past three contests. Clemson holds a 65-40-4 overall record.
Lorick, a Carolina fan since the 60s, has been a season ticket holder for about 30 years and has only missed two games in those years -- both due to a death in the family.
Despite all the “hoopla,” Lorick says Saturday’s matchup is just like any other game.
“We just need to play well and give it our best,” he said. “I am not much into predictions. I just take it one week at a time.”
He said, “If the defense plays as strong as they have played, it could keep the game real interesting. If we can slow them down, we are going to be fine.”
McGee was Tigers captain under the legendary Frank Howard and played tight end for the team from 1965 until 1967.
He later became affiliated with the university’s alumni association and served as Clemson’s IPTAY athletic booster club president.
McGee predicts the Tigers will win 28-17 in a battle pitting the Tigers’ high-powered offense against the Gamecocks’ defense.
“In tough games, defense sometimes prevails and their defense has more impact players than our defense has,” McGee said. “On the other side, we have a lot more impact players on offense. Our quarterback is playing at a higher level than their quarterback is.”
McGee said there is little doubt that Carolina’s defense is for real -- especially that Jadeveon Clowney guy.
“Clowney is the best in the country. ... He is everything as advertised,” McGee said.
Lifelong Carolina fan and 1974 University of South Carolina graduate Jimmy Hartzog says he would not miss the game for the world.
“I will be watching it,” he said. “There is always excitement on both sides but with both of them being ranked where they are, I think it will be a good ball game.”
Hartzog predicts Carolina winning 34-17.
“I feel like our defense will stand up to them,” he said. “That is the key.”
But if Carolina’s defense does not show up, Hartzog said it could be a long game.
“They will pick us apart,” he said. “I am worried about the pass defense.”
Die-hard Tiger fan Pat Black has not missed a Carolina and Clemson game since 1965.
“It is a South Carolina tradition,” he said. “Every Carolina game every year is special. This year it is a little more so.
“The stakes are a little bit higher. Clemson is looking at a BCS bowl and Carolina wants to win the fourth game in a row.”
Four wins in a row has not occurred since the late 1960s.
A Clemson graduate and season ticket holder, Black says he always makes the trek to the Upstate.
“It is well worth the ride,” he said. “It is something that comes along once every year and everybody looks forward to it. If you win, you are proud and brag for a year and if you lose you look forward to next year.”
Despite his excitement, Black offered no predictions.
“I know what I want it to be,” he said. “But this year it would be best if everybody waited for the outcome.”
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