COLUMBIA, S.C. — In 2008, Dabo Swinney had a six-game audition to be the permanent head football coach at Clemson.
His sixth game was against South Carolina and Swinney led the Tigers to a 31-14 victory. Swinney has mused over the years that had Clemson not won that game, he probably would not have been handed to keys to the program.
But after taking bragging rights in his first Carolina-Clemson game as head coach, Swinney was on the receiving end of five consecutive losses to South Carolina. Gamecock head football coach Steve Spurrier, in an effort to needle Swinney and the Tiger fan base, referred to Clemson as "that school in the upstate".
That fifth consecutive loss came in 2013 at Williams-Brice Stadium, courtesy of six Tiger turnovers. Clemson was ranked sixth nationally while the Gamecocks were 10th. That loss was the low point in the rivalry for Swinney because not only did it give the Gamecocks an unprecedented fifth straight win over Clemson, but Swinney felt his team gave the game away by not taking care of the football.
However, the momentum is now back in favor of that team from the Upstate as Clemson has won the last seven meetings with Carolina and a win would give the Tigers an unprecedented eighth consecutive victory in the rivalry.