Game Time: 4 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Live Stream: WatchESPN
- 2-8 record
- 5-5 record; 3-5 in SEC play
- Ranked 90th in S&P+
- Ranked 120th in S&P+ Offense; Ranked 42nd in S&P+ Defense
- Top Performers: QB Jake Bentley; DL Darius English
The South Carolina Gamecocks need just one victory to become bowl eligible. In a season where the thought was that the Gamecocks were going to be the worst team in the SEC by a lengthy bit, they have more than superseded expectations to this point.
As they stand on the cusp of making a bowl game for the eighth time in nine years and the 12th time in the 21st century, they do so with a cupcake of an opponent in the form of Western Carolina. Western Carolina is an FCS team who checks in with a 2-8 record on the year and shouldn’t provide much of a test. Vegas oddsmakers haven’t even bothered to list a point spread for this game, which should tell you just about all that you need to know heading into it.
The game will provide for quarterback Jake Bentley to continue gaining confidence. Bentley has been solid under center for the Gamecocks so far, throwing for six touchdowns and just one interception through 107 pass attempts. He’s completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 835 yards, so you get the vibe that Will Muschamp has possibly found his quarterback of the future.
The Gamecocks defense has starred this year, especially Darius English. English has 8.5 sacks thus far this season which leads the team and is up near the top in the conference, falling just behind the likes of Derek Barnett, Carl Lawson and Arden Key. Good company to be in, no?
All told, this should again be a very winnable game for South Carolina. They’ll likely fall to Clemson next week barring something miraculous happen, so the opportunity to be bowl eligible likely has to come this week. Should they do it, Will Muschamp’s first season as head coach should be considered a success and nothing less especially with what their projection was set to be.