COLUMBIA -- When the SEC released its revamped schedule this week, one of the biggest things was cancellation of one of college football's longest-tenured rivalries.
South Carolina — because the SEC is playing a 10-game, conference-only schedule — won't play it's annual rivalry game with Clemson.
“Certainly none of us want to be in that situation. Everyone wants to talk about Clemson and the loss of that rivalry. It’s important. We tried diligently. Dan Radokovich were talking for weeks and doing our best to try and keep that game on the schedule. In the end we were unsuccessful," South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner said.
“We all wanted to play that game. There’s no question about that. We didn’t want to lose that game, but it was not decided by the presidents and chancellors that we would play that game.”
The Gamecocks have played Clemson every year since 1909 with nothing between wars and other national crisis affecting the game being played.
The ACC in its schedule allowed for teams to have 10 conference games and one additional non-conference game, but the SEC ended any hope of the rivalry with it's SEC-only schedule.
Tanner did say you "never say never," but right now it looks set in stone that the teams will have its first break in the rivalry since a six-year hiatus between 1903 and 1908.
“It’s probably completed at this point," Tanner said. "We have been meeting daily. I sometimes ask the same question more than once. I guess you never say never but I expect the schedule will remain intact,” “We came out with a 10-game schedule with the intent of trying to determine a conference champion.”
The SEC will start its season Sept. 26 with teams playing 10 games over a 12-week period to include two open dates where teams can make up games if coronavirus causes any postponements at some point during the season.
The way Tanner understands it is the Gamecocks' opponents and locations stay the same and they'll add two more teams to the schedule, although those haven't been settled on yet.
The SEC presidents and athletic directors met Friday to discuss scheduling.
The purpose of doing just conference only was to have enough games to crown a conference champion and 10 games does that, Tanner said, knowing there is a likelihood some games could potentially get canceled because of the virus.
That does, unfortunately for the Palmetto Bowl's case, mean a brief break in the rivalry.
“We might not be able to do based on the situation with COVID. We’re trying to get in position to name a conference champion. That’s first and foremost. No one wants to lose a rivalry game, and certainly we didn’t,” he said. “The football rivalry and the rivalry in other sports is a big deal. The fact we’re not going to play football is of great concern to me. I’m emotionally affected by that,” “We wanted to play that game and maintain that rivalry.”
The Gamecocks and Clemson haven't discussed where the 2021 game is scheduled to be. Clemson was set to host in 2020 and South Carolina in 2021.
Right now the Gamecocks will travel to Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt and LSU and host Georgia, Missouri, Texas A&M and Tennessee in 2020.
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