As it’s currently constructed, South Carolina is on the outside looking in when it comes to the college football bowl picture.
The Gamecocks (3-4, 1-4 SEC) beat Vanderbilt, their first victory in SEC play, but remain three wins shy of bowl eligibility. That’s a daunting task when considering the difficulty of schedule ahead of them.
South Carolina faces a Texas A&M team eager to right the ship in the aftermath of back-to-back losses to Alabama and Ole Miss, the latter a lopsided one that likely left a lasting impression. That puts South Carolina in the unfavorable position of making the trip to College Station, Texas on Halloween to square off against the Aggies, who will likely be playing for their season.
Securing a win as early would bode well for the Gamecocks’ chances of becoming bowl eligible, considering the difficult road ahead of them.
Both ‘Bama and Ole Miss exploited Texas A&M. South Carolina, coming off an open date, has had two weeks to prepare for the Aggies and just witnessed the Rebels’ pummeling.
A win over A&M would lift South Carolina to .500 on the season, which makes navigating the rest of its schedule a bit more manageable in terms of earning two wins as opposed to three.
A slip-up against Texas A&M would deflate the Gamecocks’ odds tremendously, making it up an uphill climb just to come close to that six-win plateau.
Adding salt to the wound, oddsmakers consider the Aggies about a two-touchdown favorite over South Carolina, despite the team’s recent struggles and given the fact that the Gamecocks had added time to prepare for this tilt.
After the trip to Texas A&M, the quest for bowl eligibility will continue as South Carolina travels to Tennessee to face a must feistier Vols team that’s beaten the Gamecocks in each of the last two years. South Carolina must also host Florida, which remains in the hunt for a College Football Playoff spot, before ending the regular season against rival Clemson.
As of today, South Carolina’s opponents own a combined 26-9 record. In other words, the Gamecocks’ streak of consecutive bowl game appearances could very likely end at seven.