South Carolina beat writer lays out expectations for Will Muschamp's first season
The expectations for South Carolina’s season are fairly uncertain as the Gamecocks enter their first year without Steve Spurrier since 2004.
Defensive guru Will Muschamp has taken the reigns in Columbia of a program that finished 3-9 last season and hasn’t reached the double-digit win mark since the 2013 season. Muschamp, who spent last season as Auburn’s defensive coordinator, was 28-21 as head coach at Florida from 2011-2014.
So what is the realistic expectation for the Gamecocks this fall?
Thanks to an opportunistic schedule, Josh Kendall of The State believes that a .500 mark is an attainable goal.
Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Missouri and Georgia at home all are winnable games, and South Carolina will have a puncher’s chance against Tennessee and Florida if things fall their way. The Gamecocks divisional crossover opponents are Mississippi State minus Dak Prescott and a dysfunctional Texas A&M team that has to come play in Williams-Brice (granted, that wasn’t much of a problem for the Aggies the last time).
The non-conference schedule is well timed for a team on the rebound. Three of the four non-conference opponents (East Carolina, Massachusetts and Western Carolina) are in the FCS or ranked 99th or lower in ESPN’s FPI for FBS teams. (The fourth is Clemson in the season finale, a game ESPN’s rankings give South Carolina a 5.9 percent chance to win.)
South Carolina’s season kicks off on Sept. 1 when it travels to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt.
What are your expectations for Muschamp and the Gamecocks in 2016?