Under most circumstances, today would be a big day for a coach who's looking to set the school mark for career victories.
In fact, it would usually be the top storyline heading into the final regular-season game.
These aren't normal circumstances.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier could pass Rex Enright atop the Gamecocks' list of all-time wins for the program, but it's something Spurrier had no desire to talk about this week.
That's because No. 13 Gamecocks (9-2) head to Death Valley today for a 7:15 p.m. kickoff with in-state rival and No. 12 Clemson (10-1).
"I hadn't thought about (the record) too much lately, really," Spurrier said." Us against them is big enough to talk about, probably. Those are one of those records where when your coaching days are over you look back and say, 'What was his record?' At the moment, I don't think it's that big a deal. The bigness of this game is who wins between us and them."
That's hardly a debatable topic.
For the last 1,095 days, South Carolina has been king of the Palmetto State. It's senior class has never lost to the Tigers. And a win today would mark only the second time in the series that the Gamecocks have won four consecutive meetings, tying the run from 1951-54.
"Obviously, our guys have played very well against them the last three years," Spurrier said. "We'll just have to wait and see if we can do it again this year."
It's been a bit of a turn in the tide of the rivalry: Clemson owns a nice overall advantage in the series, 65-40-4. USC taking control the last three years has sparked several jabs between Spurrier and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, heightening the rivalry. Both teams are also enjoying success on a bigger stage nationally and have ranked in the top 20 the entire season.
USC went 6-2 in SEC play this year and beat division-winner Georgia, so there's no trip to Atlanta to take the Gamecocks' attention away from the Tigers. Clemson isn't playing next week either in the ACC title game, so today is all about continuing or ending a streak.
"Obviously, we lost some close ones early and won a close one there early (in his tenure against the Tigers)," said Spurrier, who's 4-3 at USC against Clemson. "Obviously, better players helps, certainly, and maybe better coaches, and all that kind of stuff. Every year, you try your best to beat everybody you play. It works out that we've played well the last three years. If you ask those guys, I'm sure they'd say they have not played their best games. Very few turnovers, no crucial turnovers, that kind of stuff. Made a bunch of third downs, scored touchdowns, and things like that."
Spurrier heads into the game with a gimpy quarterback. Connor Shaw has been battling a sprained foot that kept him out of two practices earlier this week. USC will need him to be sharp today to take advantage of a Clemson defense ranked 69th nationally.
However, the Gamecocks know what the No. 1 key to victory is today.
To silent what will be a raucous night crowd at Memorial Stadium, the USC defense will have to find a way to stop Clemson's hurry-up, big-play offense that ranks among that nation's top scoring units.
"The offense they have is by far the best we've played against this year," Spurrier said. "The defense has been good when it needs to be. They've given up some yards here and there but, overall, offensively, they got all the positions covered. It will be a big challenge for us."
This season, Clemson's had it all: an accurate, mobile QB in Tajh Boyd, record-setting receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins, an experienced and healthy runner in Andre Ellington, and an offensive line that's played well despite injuries and youthfulness.
The Tigers average 535.6 yards, 44.6 points and 82.1 plays per game. It's hard to find an offense USC has faced this season that compares.
"They do a good job of getting their players in open space, just trying to get athletes in one-on-one positions where they can make plays, trying to get the ball in their hands fast with screens," USC linebacker Shaq Wilson said. "As a whole, we've just got to make sure we've got guys contained, with one guy inside, one guy outside, make sure we can bottle the guys up when they do get the ball."
The Gamecocks also hope to counter with one of the country's best defensive lines, led by Jadeveon Clowney, who's expected to play despite missing last week's game against Wofford.
"If (Clemson) is protecting us with four-man (rush), then we'll have to figure out a way to get to the quarterback," USC defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said. "If we don't affect the quarterback, it's going to be a long day for (South Carolina)."
Another advantage for the Gamecocks is that they faced this offense — and handled it — in last year's 34-13 victory.
USC held this unit to 153 total yards of offense in that game. The Tigers were dominated in time of possession, only ran 60 plays and turned the ball over once. However, in the second year under offensive coordinator Chad Morris' scheme, Clemson has been held to less than 300 yards just once in 2012.
"We played really well defensively last year," Spurrier said. "Hopefully that will give us some confidence we can hold those guys down. Certainly, I think they're a lot better offense than they were last year at this time."