South Carolina is riding a six-game losing streak to Clemson, losing to their in-state rival by an average margin of 20 points since 2014, the largest average margin of victory for either team during a winning streak of at least four games in the series’ 124-year history. Despite a gigantic gap between the two programs, South Carolina wanted to play Clemson again in 2020…so much that they voted against the SEC’s conference-only schedule for 2020.
SEC presidents and chancellors on Thursday approved a 10-game, conference-only schedule, joining the ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12, in canceling dozens of non-conference games. The SEC will keep a divisional format and the eight currently scheduled opponents for each team while adding two more yet-to-be-announced opponents. ESPN’s Heather Dinich reported one “heavily discussed” proposal is adding each school’s cross-divisional rotating opponents for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
The SEC’s decision eliminated several in-state rivalry games, including Clemson-South Carolina, which the Gamecocks tried to keep by voting against the conference-only schedule.
“My understanding is the vote was 13-1 with our president, Bob Caslen, being the sole dissenting vote and part of the reason for his dissenting vote was the rivalry with Clemson,” South Carolina Board of Trustees member Chuck Allen told The Athletic’s Josh Kendall.
“I am pleased that football will return in the fall and that we will play our SEC competitors,” Caslen added in a statement. “Throughout discussions . . . I took the position that we should continue to play our in-state rival, but I support the ultimate decision.”
The decision means South Carolina and Clemson, the only two Power Five programs in the state, won’t play for the first time since 1908. They are scheduled to meet in Columbia next season, though it’s unclear if that game will be shifted to Clemson to make up for the lost 2020 game.