The metric USAToday’s Paul Myerberg used to grade every college football team’s season was simple:
“How each team in the Football Bowl Subdivision has performed relative to its preseason expectations.”
Yep, that’s one South Carolina was going to do well in.
USC received an A- along with 11 other schools. Ten schools earned an A+, while nine had A’s.
Only two SEC teams, national title game participants Alabama and Georgia, got higher grades, while Auburn, which went 10-4 with wins against those schools, also got an A-.
The Gamecocks came into the season projected by many in the 5-7 to 7-5 range, with optimists predicting eight or even nine wins if the offense really together (the bloc of Clemson, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee seemed imposing at the time).
But after topping N.C. State in the opener, things opened up. USC had some struggles in games three through five, but took care of business against the struggling Vols and Gators down the stretch. They won eight games for the first time since 2013 and capped the year with an upset of Michigan to win nine games for the seventh time in school history.