Six games in, and at the end of their buy week, Will Muschamp and his Gamecocks sit at 2-4. While yes, the 2016 Gamecocks share an identical record as the Gamecocks of last year, the look on the surface can be deceiving.
Sure, the Gamecocks are in a bit of slide, in a three game losing streak and still without a distinguished signal caller, but all hope can’t be lost. Let’s take a look at what the second half of the season could show us about the direction on this program.
October 22nd - vs. UMass
Sprinkled in between six losses for the Minuteman is a an eight point win over the FBS bottom dwelling Florida International Panthers. Other than a near upset victory over Mississippi St., there hasn’t been much positive movement for UMass in 2016.
The well-rested Gamecocks should be able to handle the Minuteman at home, but they may need to create their own energy in front of a lethargic high noon Willy B crowd.
October 29th - vs. Tennessee
Remember all that magic that seemed to be carrying the Vols? Yea, me either. Tennessee is a failed Hail Mary away from 4-3 overall and 1-3 conference record. The favorites to represent the East have some work left to capture that dream. Luckily for them, they’ll get the Bye week to regroup following a 49-10 shellacking from Saban’s Tide Saturday afternoon. The Gamecocks may just be their toughest conference test remaining. Maybe, it’s finally our chance to play spoiler to them.
November 5th - vs. Missouri
The most winnable conference game left on South Carolina’s schedule, this is about as much of a must win as their is on the Gamecocks schedule for Muschamp to give the fans something to believe in. A win, and the Gamecocks move back to the middle of the pack in the East. A loss, and well, welcome to the basement.
November 12th - @ Florida
This homecoming for Will Muschamp won’t have the same grandeur as the one’s the HBC enjoyed in his trips back to The Swamp, but don’t think there won’t be a little extra motivation for Muschamp this game week. I’d expect the Gamecocks to play inspired for their head coach, knowing nothing would please him more than a road victory over the program that fired him.
November 19th - vs. Western Carolina
Should the Gamecocks’ final home game be a given victory? Yes. But, the way we have lit up the scoreboard so far, I don’t think you can guarantee anything just yet. We’ll need to distinguish our size and physicality on both sides of the ball in this one to put it away.
November 26th - @ Clemson
After watching Clemson escape (And I mean, ESCAPE), against NC State Saturday, I’m thinking Dabo and his Tigers might be closer to a loss than a national championship at this point in the season. The fact is they haven’t played with the same dominating presence they exhibited in 2015 and in my opinion there’s a pretty big gap between the top two teams in the country and the third ranked Tigers. Whether Clemson will have a loss to its name before this one remains to be seen, but for the second year in a row, the Gamecocks will be playing spoiler against their in-state rival.