South Carolina is currently on a bye week, but the Gamecocks have just three games remaining in the 2014 season as the year is quickly coming to a close.

This season for the Gamecocks has been marred by poor defensive performances and bad playcalling, leading to a disappointing 4-5 record. Despite the below .500 record, there are still some very intriguing storylines to watch over in Columbia, S.C., as the Gamecocks look to finish a rough season out on a positive note.

  • Coaching staff changes? — As with any disappointing season, the rumors of coaching changes aren’t too far behind. The Gamecocks’ defensive woes have certainly put defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward’s job into question once the season is over. However, he’ll likely get a break considering how dominant South Carolina’s defense has been in recent years and the talent he was forced to replace this season. And head coach Steve Spurrier has said he’s coming back, but the HBC ins’t getting any older and an unexpectedly rough year like this one may be what convinces him it’s time to hang up the visor.
  • Pharoh Cooper’s emergence — A few weeks ago, we wrote an article discussing Cooper’s rise as a playmaker in South Carolina’s offense. Like clockwork, the sophomore wide out racked up 11 receptions, 233 yards and three total touchdowns last week against Tennessee in a breakout performance. Early in the season, it seemed there wasn’t any reliable option in the receiving game or any guy that you thought could make the big plays when South Carolina needed it most. But Cooper’s turned into that guy for the Gamecocks and he’s definitely making the case to be the SEC’s top wide receiver next season with Amari Cooper likely leaving for the NFL. We’ll see if he can keep his production going in the last three games.
  • Can South Carolina reach a bowl game? — At the beginning of the season, this would have been considered a ridiculous question because of the Gamecocks’ preseason top-10 ranking. But now South Carolina must win two of its last three games in order to make the postseason. One of those wins will have to come on the road against either Florida or Clemson, so it’s far from a guarantee that South Carolina will make a bowl this season, which is incredible to think about considering where the Gamecocks started at the beginning of the season.

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