As South Carolina cruised to a victory over the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, it almost seemed like they were already competing against Clemson before next week's potential top-10 matchup.
When the Gamecocks kicked off against the Chanticleers, the Tigers were already up 35-0 over the Citadel in the second quarter.
Then South Carolina started scoring, too. By the end of the first quarter, the Gamecocks hung 28 unanswered points on the Chanticleers.
When it was all said and done, Clemson crushed the Citadel 52-6. Back in Columbia, the massacre was equally ugly as the Gamecocks easily defeated the Chanticleers 70-10, a scoring record at South Carolina under coach Steve Spurrier.
"We had Coastal Carolina outmanned and outsized," said Spurrier. "I'm really proud of our guys, they played well. I didn't know it was going to end up like this."
While South Carolina fans will definitely be playing the "my team scored more over a lower tier Division I team than your team did" game and waving four fingers in every Clemson fan's face until next Saturday night, the trash-talk game has already begun.
And junior cornerback Victor Hampton arguably fired the first shots in the 2013 Battle of the Palmetto State.
When asked about Clemson coach Dabo Swinney saying he wanted to beat South Carolina more than anyone, Hampton fired back.
"I think it's a problem when your coach wants to win more than the players do," said Hampton. "My squad? We're going out there ready to play."
Running back Brandon Wilds, who scored a touchdown and rushed for 52 yards, fired a shot of his own.
"I haven't lost to Clemson, and I don't really plan on losing to them," said Wilds.
Wilds and Hampton provided the reddest of meat to the Gamecock faithful following the victory over Coastal. Other South Carolina players were tamer in their discussion of the Tigers – downright respectful, even.
"I've got a lot of respect for Clemson, and we're going to prepare the best we can," said backup quarterback Dylan Thompson. "We'll be ready for a big, tough game."
"We take it one game at a time," said freshman running back Jamari Smith. "We stay focused during our practice and everything. Next week is a big game and we know that."
"It's going to be special for us," said quarterback Connor Shaw. "It's going to be Senior Night for me, so hopefully we can come out and play hard against them."
South Carolina will need every player in order to play hard next week. Luckily, coach Ward says Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles will be available next week since they both sat today.
"I need a healthy Jadeveon next week," said Ward. "That's not taking Coastal lightly."
While no one on the team appeared to take Coastal lightly, they can't take Clemson lightly either.
Hampton sure won't.
"We won four in a row, but the [total record between Carolina and Clemson] looks really bad, so we've still got a lot of motivation and stuff to do to catch up to them," said Hampton.