The South Carolina football team and coach Steve Spurrier have checked off so many “firsts” in the past four seasons that finding new ones is getting harder.
The Gamecocks have:
• Won a record 18 consecutive games at Williams-Brice Stadium, the longest current home winning streak in the country.
• Beaten Clemson for five consecutive seasons, USC’s longest winning streak in the 111-year history of the series.
• Won 41 games the past four seasons, breaking the record of 38 that was set by last year’s season class.
• Won at least 10 games for the third-straight season, a mark achieved only once (1984) in school history prior to 2011.
USC’s list of accomplishments could be even more impressive with a victory when the No. 8 Gamecocks face No. 19 Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl, including three consecutive bowl victories for the first time. USC also has a chance to finish ranked in the Top 10 of the polls for the third consecutive year – extending the current record.
Two huge goals remain for next season: Winning an SEC championship and earning a spot in the new four-team college football playoffs.
Is 2014 the season that Spurrier and the Gamecocks achieve those two brass rings?
Quarterback Connor Shaw is one of five scholarship seniors the Gamecocks will lose, along with the expected departures to the NFL of juniors Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles and Victor Hampton.
That leaves the bulk of the roster returning to take another shot at those two big “firsts.”
The 2014 season might be the ticket.