The Gamecocks are 4-2. It’s not yet bowl eligible, but beating Arkansas put them in a much better position at the halfway mark for a postseason invite than I expected they would be after losing Deebo. So while this may seem a little premature, let’s talk about where we want to go bowling.
Some assumptions have to be made here. Look, I want to be realistic. The top three spots in the SEC are pretty locked down at this point. Bama is clearly either the best or second best team in America. Georgia is a legit top 5 team. Auburn is a top 10 team, but their schedule is about to get a lot harder. After losses to UGA and Bama and A&M (Remember I called it when it happens), I can’t envision them getting a New Year’s Six invite. That would send them to the Citrus Bowl.
So here are the top three bowl projections for the SEC since Carolina can’t realistically be expected to be a part of any of these games.
SUGAR BOWL (CFP): (1) Bama vs (4) Penn State
PEACH BOWL: Georgia vs Ohio State
CITRUS BOWL: Auburn vs. NC State
That gets us to the third tier of SEC bowl games. This is a very likely landing spot for the Gamecocks.
They need two more wins to get bowl eligible and still have Vandy and Wofford on the schedule. Don’t tell me Florida and Tennessee aren’t also winnable games. Georgia and Clemson are...well, they're Georgia and Clemson. 2017 won’t be the year we take them down.
I would say 6-6 with a 3-5 conference mark is a virtual certainty. 8-4 with a 5-3 conference mark is the best case scenario. So let’s split the difference and say the Cocks go 7-5 with a 4-4 conference record.
That kind of season would land SC in a “pull it out of a hat” situation, because the conference takes the teams that finish 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 and then decides where they are going. That could mean a post-Christmas trip to either Charlotte, Houston, Jacksonville, Memphis, Nashville or Tampa. For some added fun, let’s throw Birmingham and Shreveport into the mix just in case the Gamecocks collapse down the stretch and squeak into a bowl.
Okay, now let’s rank the possibilities for a bowl destination.
8. CITY: Birmingham, AL
BOWL: Birmingham Bowl
POTENTIAL OPPONENT: Memphis
I lived in Birmingham for three years. It’s a fine place. My best friend still lives there, so I never have a problem going to Birmingham. Looking at it as a football destination though, it is just awful. Carolina was just there last year. Legion Field is a death trap and the area around it is terrifying.
7. CITY: Shreveport, LA
BOWL: Independence Bowl
POTENTIAL OPPONENT: Duke
Hey, at least they have a casino!
6. CITY: Charlotte, NC
BOWL: Belk Bowl
POTENTIAL OPPONENT: Georgia Tech
Yes, there is a large Gamecock population there. Yes, it would be kinda cool to bookend the season in the same place. But come on. Charlotte is kinda lame. It’s the banking capital of the US and has about as much charm as that distinction would suggest.
5. CITY: Jacksonville, FL
BOWL: Taxslayer Bowl
POTENTIAL OPPONENT: Florida State
Honest to God, I just learned this wasn’t still called the Gator Bowl. How long has this been the case? Anyway, Jacksonville smells like the kind of farts that come from loading your plate up with beef and broccoli at the Chinese buffet. They have a riverwalk that is nothing but hotels and banks. The only reason to visit this city is if you have to stop on your way down to Disney World, because the kids haven't peed since South of the Border.
4. CITY: Memphis, TN
BOWL: Liberty Bowl
POTENTIAL OPPONENT: Kansas State
Okay, Memphis isn’t bad for a party city. If you want history, there’s plenty of it. There’s that weird general store on Beale Street where you can buy size 70 pants. Plus, from a football perspective there’s a lot of history to the Liberty Bowl. Also, how much fun would it be to see Will Muschamp leading the ducks into the fountain of the Peabody hotel? Hey, it worked out well for Roy Williams this year!
3. CITY: Houston, TX
BOWL: Texas Bowl
POTENTIAL OPPONENT: West Virginia
Okay, here me out. Houston needs this. Am I a bleeding-heart libtard snowflake cuck for even suggesting such a thing? Maybe. But growing up on the Gulf Coast with a chef for a dad taught me that the hospitality industry in towns devastated by hurricanes will go above and beyond for guests that show up as soon as the city is ready to host them. I’m telling you, this could be a hell of a party!
2. CITY: Tampa, FL
BOWL: Outback Bowl
POTENTIAL OPPONENT: Michigan State
If Jimmy Buffett could have conceived of a bowl game completely on his own, this is what he would have come up with. In Tampa, which is like his music turned into a city, with a giant coconut shrimp dancing on the sidelines.
Break out the boat drinks and cigars!
1. CITY: Nashville, TN
BOWL: Music City
POTENTIAL OPPONENT: Purdue
From a football standpoint, this makes a lot of sense. From a travel standpoint, this makes a lot of sense for both teams. From a party standpoint Broadway on Nashville is tough to beat. Food wise, the town is really hard to beat. Plus, it would still be Christmas light season and Nashville is a short 30 minute drive away from Chad’s Winter Wonderland!
It’s total BS that Chad and his family didn’t win ABC’s Great Christmas Light Fight in 2014! Highway robbery! It’s enough to make me question everything about my second favorite reality show in the history of television.
The answer to the question currently in your head is 90 Day Fiancé, and if you ever want to talk about it, hit me up @DemetriRavanos. I have lots of thoughts about Jorge and Anfisa.