Josh Kendall

South Carolina hopes to make another deposit into program’s future in Outback Bowl

TAMPA, Fla. – South Carolina’s game against Michigan in the Outback Bowl on Monday is not the only game of the day that could have some impact on the Gamecocks football program.

After the Gamecocks finish their noon game in Raymond James Stadium, the two College Football Playoff semifinals will be played later in the day Monday. Those matchups – Georgia versus Oklahoma and Clemson versus Alabama – serve as a blueprint that Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp would like to see his team follow.

“If you look at the four teams in the playoff, they’ve invested in their programs,” Muschamp said this week as his team prepared to face the Wolverines. “That’s what we’re doing, and that’s what’s exciting at our place right now.”

The “investment” that Muschamp was talking about centered around the $50 million football operations building that is under construction and the upcoming raises for his assistant coaches. Monday will be the team’s turn to make an investment into the turnaround process.

South Carolina (8-4) has a chance to top eight wins for the seventh times in its 124 seasons of football. Standing in the way is college football’s winningest all-time program, a Michigan team that also is 8-4 this season.

“I think you see the progress we’ve made in year two and continue to move forward in the culture of our program,” Muschamp said. “In order to continue to get where we want to get, that’s winning a championship and that’s what we’re going to do, you’ve got to invest in that.”

The Gamecocks lost their last time out, 34-10 to archrival Clemson and would like to get that taste out of their mouths.

“I think it’s always important that you have a positive feel leaving the season, and the only way you can do that is by winning the game,” said Muschamp, who is 14-11 at South Carolina and facing Michigan for the first time in his career. “You get these nice bowl sweats and you wouldn’t even want to wear them if you didn’t win so you want to want to be able to wear your bowl sweats and that kind of deal. There’s no question it creates positive momentum for you in your season and you continue to progress in the right way. That’s what we’re looking forward to doing.”