Bowl game is 'going to be huge' for Gamecocks
South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner has submitted a list of the Gamecocks top four preferred bowl destinations to the conference office, and now the team’s fans must sit back and wait to learn its postseason fate.
“It comes down to the SEC and the bowl sites, so we are kind of at the mercy of them,” Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said. “I’m just happy we’re playing in one.”
South Carolina finished Muschamp’s first season 6-6. It’ll learn its bowl fate Sunday afternoon.
The Belk Bowl (Charlotte, Dec. 29) is one of the four bowls Tanner turned into the SEC. He declined to name the other three. The Belk Bowl is one of a pool of six bowls with SEC affiliations that share selection priority. The group also includes the Outback, TaxSlayer, Music City, Liberty and Texas bowls. The conference office picks which teams go to which of that group.
“You have the opportunity to talk about the bowls you would like to go to and that conversation is a two-way street. The league is going to do the very best to accommodate you if possible,” Tanner said. “There’s constant conversation and dialogue with the leadership at the SEC.”
The Belk Bowl would be an easy drive for South Carolina’s fans, and it is also interested in the Gamecocks, a source told The State. However, a spot in Charlotte would mean South Carolina would have to jump a seven-win SEC team.
“That would be obvious for our fans to travel to come to see us,” Tanner said. “That certainly was on the list, but there were some other bowls on the list, too.”
After the pool of six bowls are filled, the Birmingham Bowl (Birmingham, Ala., Dec. 29) will get to select from the remaining bowl-eligible conference teams, and that game remains a logical landing spot for South Carolina.
“We were a 3-9 team last year. We are excited about getting an opportunity to go to a bowl,” Tanner said. “We will be excited when we find out the final destination.”
Tanner expects to know his bowl destination by 5 p.m. Sunday.
USC’s bowl history
Wake Forest 26, USC 14
West Virginia 14, USC 3
Miami (Ohio) 20, USC 7
Hall Of Fame
Missouri 24, USC 14
Pittsburgh 37, USC 9
Oklahoma State 21, USC 14
LSU 30, USC 13
Indiana 34, USC 10
USC 24, West Virginia 21
USC 24, Ohio State 7
USC 31, Ohio State 28
Missouri 38, USC 31
USC 44, Houston 36
Iowa 31, USC 10
Connecticut 20, USC 7
Florida State 26, USC 17
USC 30, Nebraska 13
USC 33, Michigan 28
USC 34, Wisconsin 24
USC 24, Miami (Fla.) 21