A paucity of marquee Week 3 games leaves us with just two matchups of ranked teams this weekend — No. 23 Tennessee at No. 24 Florida and No. 3 Clemson at No. 14 Louisville.
Obviously, the latter is the crème de la crème of this week’s wafer-thin slate — not to be mistaken for next week’s Big Apple-thin slate — with ESPN‘s College GameDay traveling circus setting up its tents on the U of L campus. Not only does this game, the ACC opener for the Atlantic Division rivals, feature the defending College Football Playoff champions, it also puts the defending Heisman Trophy winner in Lamar Jackson, surging in the minds of the wagering establishment as a back-to-back favorite, back on the primetime national stage.
With so much at stake in this early-season matchup, the mayors of both cities, Greg Fischer of Louisville and J.C. Cook III of Clemson, have once again decided to put their money where their mouths are. Or, more specifically, their liquor where their livers are.
Mayor Fischer is putting up a collection of small bottles from Louisville distilleries — Angel’s Envy, Old Forester, Evan Williams, Mitchter’s, Kentucky Peerless, Bulleit Bourbon, Rabbit Hole and Jim Beam — while Clemson’s wager is a bottle of Six & Twenty, from a South Carolina artisan distillery owned by Clemson graduates and former rugby teammates David (DR) Raad and Robert “Farmer” Redmond. Farmer comes from a legendary Carolina distilling pedigree in that his great-great uncle was the infamous moonshiner, Major Lewis Redmond.
“As mayor of Clemson, I am proud to say both our football team and our South Carolina bourbon will bring their A-game to the table,” Cook III was quoted as saying in a press release.
“I look forward to trying a sip of my Six & Twenty after the Cards win, although I still have my doubts about any bourbon that’s not made in Kentucky,” Fischer said in his provided quotes. “I may just save it to celebrate when our quarterback, Lamar Jackson, wins his second Heisman.”
Prior to last year’s game, Fischer put up a bottle of bourbon while Cook III countered with a wheel of Clemson blue cheese in their initial wager. In the end, it was the latter who enjoyed the spoils of victory as the Tigers escaped with a 42-36 home win en route to their first national title in over three decades.
Just one thing to keep in mind: while Clemson has beaten Louisville each of the past three seasons, they’ve only done so by a combined 15 points — and Deshaun Watson, quarterback for all three of those wins, is now in the NFL. So there’s that.