Extra week prepares Jake Bentley, Gamecocks for first road trip
Is it time to adjust our expectations for South Carolina’s football season?
Well, yes and no.
Yes, in the sense that if the Gamecocks don’t reschedule a 12th game, that probably shaves a win off the final total because most people, including me, were putting the Marshall game in the win column. No, in the sense that we haven’t learned anything of substantive about South Carolina.
The Gamecocks beat a team they were better than and lost to a team that was better than them. We were finally going to learn something about head coach Will Muschamp’s third team against the Thundering Herd. Instead, we and Muschamp will have to wait until Saturday against Vanderbilt to figure out more about what South Carolina is.
That’s not the best scenario for the Gamecocks. The next two games will do as much any in determining what kind of season South Carolina will have. After the Vanderbilt game, South Carolina goes to Kentucky. Frankly, if the Gamecocks (or anybody else) doesn’t finish ahead of the Commodores and Wildcats in the SEC East, then it’s impossible to talk much about progress.
The Gamecocks are 3-6 on the road in Muschamp’s first two seasons. The Commodores are 2-1 with that one loss coming to No. 8 Notre Dame on the road by a 22-17 score. Kentucky is 3-0 with a win over Florida.
In the preseason, I believed that South Carolina was the second-best team in the SEC East. Without enough evidence from the Gamecocks to change my mind, I’m sticking with that for now. By Sept. 16, we all may know that that’s wrong.