USC Gamecocks Football

ESPN’s FPI projects South Carolina football’s win total for 2019

Muschamp offers spring assessment, shares his message to team for offseason

What South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp learned about the Gamecocks this spring.
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What South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp learned about the Gamecocks this spring.

ESPN’s FPI metric had South Carolina football in pretty high regard.

But it’s not bullish on if that will translate to a big season.

The efficiency number pegs the Gamecocks as the No. 18 team in the country, a jump from No. 35 at the end of last season. But that only shakes out to 6.1 projected wins.

So much has already been said about the Gamecocks’ schedule, but ESPN has it as the hardest in the country.

“Difficult slates abound across the SEC -- which boasts 10 of FPI’s top 20 teams -- and the Pac-12 due to aforementioned depth,” ESPN’s Seth Walder wrote. “The teams with the 10 most difficult schedules all play in one of the two conferences. At the top, South Carolina is followed by USC, Florida, Stanford and Georgia. The Crimson Tide rank 20th in strength of schedule.”

South Carolina’s schedule features three of the four most likely teams to make the playoff in Clemson, Alabama and Georgia. The latter two are notable since only one can take a conference title.

If USC were to win six games, it would mark the second season in a row in which South Carolina’s record slipped. Will Muschamp’s squad improved by three wins in each of his first two seasons.

The neighborhood for the Gamecocks has grown rougher in recent years, and the once-every-6-years meeting with the Crimson Tide makes that more challenging. Clemson grew into a national power, as did Georgia. Both Florida and Texas A&M showed enough promise to be in the conversation for preseason top-10. Kentucky and Missouri have likewise been strong in recent seasons.

According to an earlier version of the rankings, South Carolina is projected to have a top-15 quality offense and a defense in the top-35.