Clemson South Carolina Football

Lawmaker wants to ensure Clemson-USC rivalry continues


Thanks to conference expansion, the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry will go away for the foreseeable future.  The same will likely be the case for the Pittsburgh-West Virginia Backyard Brawl.

One South Carolina legislator, though, wants to take steps to ensure that his state’s biggest football rivalry doesn’t suffer the same fate.

With Pittsburgh and Syracuse joining the ACC no later than the 2014 season, the conference announced last week that it will go to a nine-game league schedule.  Such a move would leave ACC schools with just three non-conference games, leading some to surmise that rivalry games such as Clemson-South Carolina — not to mention Florida-Florida State and Georgia-Georgia Tech — could become victims of expansion.

According to The State newspaper, a proposal put forth by Republican state representative Nathan Ballentine that would compel Clemson and South Carolina to continue their rivalry game uninterrupted will be considered by a House panel Wednesday.

“I had a constituent bring it up to me, asking whether it was state law that these two teams play. It’s not,” said Ballentine. “With all the conference realignment, we just wanted to make sure this annual game continues. …

“You saw Texas and Texas A&M. That rivalry went by the wayside. … No one wants to see that happen here to our two universities where families enjoy the annual game, and it’s great for our economy.”

While Ballentine did not get the input he sought from Clemson and South Carolina before submitting his proposal for consideration, the schools did give a reaction to the newspaper.  And, suffice to say, both would prefer the legislature stay out of the business of football schedules.

“Athletic schedules need to be decided by athletic directors and coaches,” a USC spokesperson said.

“Clemson would prefer to not have to legislate this issue as I cannot conceive of a realistic scenario that would prohibit Clemson and South Carolina from continuing our football series,” Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips said in a statement.

Clemson and South Carolina have played 103 straight years, the second-longest consecutively played game at the Div. 1-A (FBS) level.  Ballentine noted that the legislator was forced to step in and require the two teams to meet during the 1952 season, so such intervention is not without precedent.

Behind Kyle Allen, A&M joins LSU atop SEC West with win. vs. Miss. St.

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 03: Kyle Allen #10 of the Texas A&M Aggies avoids the tackle of Beniquez Brown #42 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and throws a touchdown pass in the first quarter on October 3, 2015 at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
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Prior to the start of the 2015 season, most prognosticators had the SEC West coming down to either Alabama or Auburn.  Five weeks into the season, neither of those teams sit at the top of the divisional heap.

With Kyle Allen triggering the offense and John Chavis orchestrating a virtuoso defensive performance, No. 14 Texas A&M had little trouble dispatching No. 21 Mississippi State in a 30-17 win that, for whatever reason, seemed much easier than the score makes it look.  The 5-0 Aggies carried a 24-10 lead into halftime, and the 3-2 Bulldogs could only get as close as 10 points, 27-17, early in the fourth quarter on a Dak Prescott touchdown run.

As was the case in the first half, the true sophomore Allen was a big reason for the Aggies success.

Allen accounted for a career-high 385 yards of total offense, 322 passing and 63 rushing.  The passing yardage is second only to the 358 he put up in last Saturday’s win over Arkansas, while the rushing yards are the most of his young career.

Tra Carson added 109 yards rushing and a touchdown to supplement the passing game.

The Bulldogs were able to move the ball in the second half — 233 yards in the last two quarters, compared to 173 in the first two — but could never mount much of a scoring threat outside of Prescott’s run that capped a 10-play, 68-yard drive.  Prescott finished with more than 300 yards of offense, 210 passing and 96 rushing.

With the win. A&M moves to 2-0 in SEC play.  LSU, also at 2-0, is the only other undefeated team in league play in the West.  After a bye weekend, A&M will have its hands full the next two games as it hosts Alabama and travel to Oxford to face Ole Miss.

No. 25 Florida the new beast of SEC East after dismantling No. 3 Ole Miss

Kelvin Taylor, DeMarquis Gates, Trae Elston

It is typically unwise to go overboard with reactions based on any one week of the college football schedule, but something learned on Saturday in the SEC is the No. 25 Florida Gators (5-0, 3-0 SEC) just might be the team to beat in the SEC East Division. The Gators were not in need of last-minute heroics the way they were a week ago. With No. 3 Ole Miss rolling into Gainesville, the Gators stomped and drowned the Rebels in The Swamp the way Florida teams of years past used to do their opponents, 38-10.

The offense was locked in. Quarterback Will Grier, flu and all, completed 24 of his 29 passing attempts for 271 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Kelvin Taylor picked up 83 yards on the ground and Demarcus Robinson had eight catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. The Gators offense played the game without a single turnover and they had the edge in time of possession.

The defense incredible. There was nothing Ole Miss could do about the outcome of the game because for the first time in years it was the Florida Gators setting the tone from the start and following through until the clock expired in the fourth quarter. By the time the Rebels reached the end zone, which they had done plenty of times leading up to this game, the Gators were already ahead 38-3 in the fourth quarter. Chad Kelly had 259 passing yards and a touchdown and he was also the leading rusher for Ole Miss with 40 yards. Turnovers doomed Ole Miss, with four turnovers leading to 20 points for the Gators.

Jim McElwain has Florida heading in the right direction, and it’s been a long time coming for the program. Now we will see if McElwain can keep this momentum going. Next week Florida visits Missouri, who has represented the SEC East in the SEC Championship Game each of the past two seasons. After that is the annual rivalry game with Georgia in Jacksonville. These next two weeks will help Florida prove itself as the new top threat in the SEC East. Right now, at this point in time, there should be no arguing that is the case after Missouri has lost to Kentucky and Georgia went down in flames at home against Alabama.

Florida may not be back as a national title contender, but they are certainly more than capable of making a run back to the top of the SEC East and getting back to Atlanta. This division is Florida’s to lose.

Ole Miss will get a chance to regroup and put up 60 points next week at home against New Mexico State before a road game at Memphis.