Music star Darius Rucker and University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides are trying to provide the USC football team with extra incentive to become bowl eligible.
It could come in the form of a concert on campus by the country star, who rose to fame as lead singer of the band Hootie and the Blowfish.
Last Wednesday, on Twitter, someone wrote that if the Gamecocks win six games this season, Rucker, a USC alum, should “have another concert on the horseshoe.”
The Grammy winner, who played the historic Horseshoe last September as part of a celebration of the opening of the new USC Journalism school, responded, “I’m dying to play the horseshoe. Start a petition tell them I’m in!!”
Pastides responded the next day, tweeting, “No need for a petition…consider it done! Darius in concert on the ’Shoe after we get to 6!”
Despite all the coordinating of logistics that would go into arranging a concert by the Grand Ole Opry member and USC superfan, the biggest challenge to the potential show is the prospect of the Gamecocks winning six games.
The football team is coming off a three-win season that was more notable for the midseason resignation of former coach Steve Spurrier than any accomplishments on the field. New coach Will Muschamp has taken over a team that has few established players and is evaluating a quarterback competition between a former walk-on (Perry Orth) and two true freshmen (Brandon McIlwain and Jake Bentley).
It’s a far cry from the recent success that included three consecutive 11-win seasons and produced NFL players such as Jadevon Clowney, Marcus Lattimore, Connor Shaw and Alshon Jeffrey among others.
Muschamp’s Gamecocks will open the 2016 season in Nashville on Sept. 1, when they take on Southeastern Conference rival Vanderbilt. That could be considered a winnable game, along with contests at Kentucky, and at home against East Carolina, Massachusetts and Western Carolina.
Nothing is guaranteed with this unproven team, especially considering USC lost at home to The Citadel last season. But should the Gamecocks prevail in those games, they’d need just one more win to become bowl eligible, and clinch the Rucker concert.
The rest of USC’s schedule includes games against Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Florida and Palmetto State rival Clemson in the regular-season finale.
Perhaps the only thing that could raise the stakes for that game would be if a five-win Gamecock squad headed to Clemson, with possibility of a bowl game and concert hanging in the balance for the South Carolina faithful.
South Carolina 2016 football schedule
at Mississippi State
vs. East Carolina
vs. Texas A&M
vs. Western Carolina