Palmetto Bowl between South Carolina and Clemson divides Aiken County state delegation

Nov. 24—When the annual Palmetto Bowl battle between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Clemson Tigers kicks off at noon Saturday, the Aiken County state legislative delegation will be divided between the Gamecocks and the Tigers.

S.C. Sen. Tom Young, R-Aiken, S.C. Rep. Bill Clyburn, D-Aiken, S.C. Rep. Bart Blackwell, R-Aiken, and S.C. Rep. Melissa Oremus, R-Graniteville, said they would be rooting for the Gamecocks. S.C. Rep. Bill Hixon, R-North Augusta, said he would be cheering for the Tigers.

Young said he was a lifelong Gamecock.

He is a 1993 (undergraduate) and 1996 (law school) graduate of USC. In school, he served as student body president and founded the Student Gamecock Club.

Clyburn said he liked both teams, but when they play his allegiance goes to the Gamecocks because he, his wife, former Aiken City Councilwoman Beverly Clyburn, and two of his children attended USC. He said he would wake up proud no matter who won.

Blackwell said both of his sons attended South Carolina so he would be rooting for the Gamecocks. He added that his wife and daughter-in-law are Clemson fans which adds a little extra fun to the game.

Oremus said she was Gamecocks all the way. She added she was a 2001 graduate of USC Aiken and her daughter is a 2017 graduate of USC.

Hixon said he did not attend college after graduating from North Augusta High School in 1976 because he wanted to go into the insurance and real estate business his parents founded in 1952.

He said not going to college offered him the opportunity to visit friends at several schools including Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia and Georgia Southern. Hixon said Clemson was the most welcoming and that he had a great time there.

Hixon added he would be attending the game with his wife, a Georgia fan, who will be attending her first game in Death Valley.

S.C. Rep. Bill Taylor said he will also be attending the game Saturday. He said he would be going with his son, Ryan, a diehard Gamecocks fan, and that they expected a spirited game.

Taylor said Ryan is always encouraging him to pick a favorite, but added that he often replies that he was chairman of the House Higher Education Subcommittee so he loves them both.

"Regardless of the final score, that puts me on the side of the winning team," Taylor said. "I'm proud of the achievements of both schools. Clemson remains a powerhouse and USC continues to build a strong SEC program."

The game will kick off at noon Saturday. It will be broadcast on ABC.

Clemson is favored by 14.5 points.