South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp knows his team is headed into a dangerous opening game. Here’s how we know this: “Regardless of who you open up with, it’s a long season. You don’t ever judge your season by one game.”
That’s what Muschamp said last week on his first “Carolina Calls” radio program of the season. Muschamp starts his second season as the Gamecocks’ head coach as a 5-point underdog against N.C. State, and he knows it’s a big game for his team’s confidence.
If South Carolina starts the season with an upset of the Wolfpack it could change the complexion of the rest of the year, but what Muschamp seems to be worried about in that above quote is, “What happens if the Gamecocks lose?” And his preemptive answer to that would seem to be, “It’s a long season.”
That is absolutely true. In fact, the outcome of the game will have nothing to do with what Muschamp and his players have described as their top two goals every season – Beat the East (meaning the SEC’s Eastern Division) and Win the State (meaning beat Clemson). Whatever happens on Saturday in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium, the Gamecocks will be no closer to nor further from either of those goals.
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However, what Muschamp can’t have and what South Carolina fans could hardly stand to see is one loss against a quality ACC opponent with an excellent defensive line turning into a confidence-crusher that affects the next week’s game – which is on the road against maybe the SEC East’s top offenses in Missouri.
It is, in fact, a long season. And it could be longer if Saturday doesn’t go well.