Josh Kendall

‘Our seniors deserve it,’ Gamecocks embracing bowl talk

USC players: Bowl game goal remains realistic

South Carolina football players are optimistic the Gamecocks can reach bowl eligibility despite a 2-4 record at the halfway point in the season.
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South Carolina football players are optimistic the Gamecocks can reach bowl eligibility despite a 2-4 record at the halfway point in the season.

For a group that rarely likes to talk about anything more than the next game, South Carolina’s football players and head coach have talked a lot about the future this week.

Specifically about what the end of the season will look like for the Gamecocks. South Carolina is 2-4 headed into Saturday’s game against UMass. That means the Gamecocks must win four of their final six games in order to qualify for a bowl game. (There are provisions that allow 5-7 teams to go to bowl games if enough teams don’t reach the six-win threshold, but the chances of that are so remote they are not worth discussing.)

“Yeah, I talk to our guys all the time (about going to a bowl game),” head coach Will Muschamp said. “Our seniors want to go to a bowl game. That's very important for our program. Most important thing is for our seniors.”

The Gamecocks missed a bowl game last season breaking a school-record streak of seven consecutive postseason appearances. South Carolina is favored by 21 points against the Minutemen this week and likely will be an equally big or even bigger favorite against Western Carolina in a month. However, it’s likely the Gamecocks will be underdogs in each of their three remaining SEC games (with Missouri being a possible exception) and against Clemson.

So that means this team will have to upset two opponents to make this particular goal a reality. The long odds haven’t deterred them from talking about it, though.

“We have some tough teams coming up but it doesn’t matter,” offensive lineman Zack Bailey said. “We are going to go out there and try our best every single game. The seniors deserve it. This is their last year and they deserve to go to a bowl. I think that is on everybody’s mind. That’s not the coaches’ goal, that’s our goal as a team.”

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