South Carolina Football’s pursuit of bowl eligibility:
A 6-6 season would not be acceptable for the 2023 version of the South Carolina football team, but considering the 2-6 start, it is the most fans can hope for at this point.
The team, especially the offense, has been significantly better at home this season. Carolina has played three games at home, and those three efforts have been the top-3 yardage outputs from the Gamecocks so far. The pass defense has been awful all season, but in three games at Willy B, the USC run D has allowed under 100 yards in each contest. The competition plays a role in these stats, no doubt, but the confidence of playing at home could be a factor.
South Carolina football has sold out its other three home games this season. That seems unlikely against Jacksonville State this weekend based on the team’s recent play, but if Beamer’s group knocks off JSU and Vandy (and they should), the fans will return for the Kentucky game. If Carolina wins that one, the Clemson game will be, undoubtedly, a sellout and a raucous environment.
Based on how the rest of the year has gone, no one should be predicting a four-game winning streak to end the year, but the path to a streak is clear: beat the two teams you should beat, give Spencer Rattler time to tear apart your first three opponents, and ride the momentum through to the Palmetto Bowl.
A bowl game invitation would mean a lot to the South Carolina football program. Not only would a winning streak spark some confidence (and potentially some recruiting momentum) into the program, but the additional weeks of bowl practice are a big deal for a team with as many freshmen and sophomores as the Gamecocks (68/115 players).
6-6 is very possible, but the most likely scenario is one in which the Gamecocks go 5-7, beating two overmatched teams in Jacksonville State and Vanderbilt and splitting with Kentucky and Clemson.
However, barring an unexpected loss against the first two, all four games down the stretch will have significance for the program. Bowl eligibility is still possible until the Gamecocks lose, and the rivalry game at the end of the year always matters.
The football hasn’t been pretty to watch for South Carolina football fans in 2023, but the finish to the year could be an exciting one.