Paul Finebaum: South Carolina football on verge of “terrible year,” predicts no bowl game

South Carolina football head coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Syndication: Online Athens
South Carolina football head coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Syndication: Online Athens /

South Carolina football fans know that their team has not lived up to expectations this season. Sure, the Gamecocks have played the toughest schedule in the nation, but the returning talent on the roster and the strong finish to last season had expectations for the program higher than they had been in some time.

College football personality Paul Finebaum went on The Matt Barrie Show over the weekend, and he had some strong words for the South Carolina football coach and his program. Finebaum, who was a big fan of Beamer this offseason, told Barrie that the latest loss has the Gamecocks “on the brink of a terrible year.”

When talking about the underperforming Gamecocks, Finebaum shook his head over and over again as he talked about Saturday’s loss to the Florida Gators. “I really couldn’t believe it,” said Finebaum about the late-game collapse and defensive no-show on Saturday.

As if he wasn’t clear enough in his assessment of the 2023 campaign, the long-standing king of SEC media had a not-so-bold prediction about the South Carolina football season when he projected USC as “not even a bowl-eligible team” at season’s end.

Finebaum’s prediction seems the most likely outcome at the end of the Gamecock season as the schedule still has road trips to Missouri and Texas A&M before four-straight home games in November. Two of those home games could still have South Carolina football as an underdog as both Kentucky and rival Clemson have been better teams so far in 2023.

To reach bowl eligibility, Shane Beamer’s team will have to win four of their final six games, including at least two in which they are underdogs. The Gamecock headman’s postgame comments revealed his frustrations with his team and just how difficult it really will be for Carolina to bounce back this season.

Frankly, “PAAAWWWLLL” is right: a 4-8 or 5-7 record in year three of the Shane Beamer era would be nothing short of terrible, but that seems to be the most likely reality for the garnet and black.

The defensive shortcomings this season should cost defensive coordinator Clayton White his job, and South Carolina football fans would celebrate the dismissal of a couple of other assistant coaches, as well.

Year 4 will be a crucial measuring stick for Beamer and the Gamecocks. After likely replacing both coordinators over a two-year period, Beamer will be out of mulligans when it comes to coaching hires, and his solid recruiting efforts will have fully flipped the roster from Will Muschamp’s players to “his guys.”

Most agree that the fan support and money surrounding the team have the South Carolina football program just a few tweaks away from being a real player in the college football world, but other than a handful of years under Steve Spurrier and Joe Morrison, that level of success has never been found in Columbia.

Can Coach Beamer get it done? Or will a “terrible year” set the program back too far?

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