SDS Roundtable: South Carolina's over/under is 5.5 wins. How many games will the Gamecocks win in 2020?
Each SDS roundtable discussion involves the SDS staff providing individual answers and comments to questions covering a wide range of sports and non-sports topics. In this discussion, we ask the question: After making it to a bowl in back-to-back seasons, South Carolina regressed last season. As the heat turns up on Will Muschamp, can he win enough games to save his job?
A bit of background …
South Carolina’s over/under win projection of 5.5 screams mediocrity. It wasn’t all that long ago that the Gamecocks put together 3 consecutive 11-win seasons. But 11 wins equal their win total from the past 2 seasons combined. Fans are frustrated. Will Muschamp is back on the sideline, in large part because of a large buyout. Will that be enough to save him again, if the Gamecocks don’t reach a bowl game? Or will Ryan Hilinski take the next step and help the Gamecocks clear their modest preseason expectations? If so, by how much? Those are some of the topics we’ve been discussing for a while.
Jon Cooper, SDS co-founder
South Carolina has a tough schedule once again in 2020. Nonconference bouts against Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Wofford and Clemson should yield 3 wins. Along with the regular SEC East slate, the Gamecocks draw Texas A&M and LSU from the West. At this point, I’m taking the under 5.5 wins for South Carolina.
Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt are certainly all winnable, but I just don’t have the confidence in Will Muschamp’s offense to deliver 6 wins.
Connor O’Gara, Senior national columnist
I’ll go over and say 6, though I don’t feel great about it.
I say that because the conference schedule is just as brutal as it was last year. Sure, there’s 1 fewer Power 5 game overall, but there are 5 games against preseason top 15 teams. Just because South Carolina stunned Georgia last year doesn’t mean that’s in the cards.
A team that still cannot seem to establish a ground game is concerning, though the Mike Bobo hire was a step in the right direction. There’s a ton of pressure on Ryan Hilinski to make that next step. The game needs to slow down for him, and he needs to develop a rapport with South Carolina wideouts in the post-Bryan Edwards era. Despite the loss of Javon Kinlaw and D.J. Wonnum, there’s a belief that South Carolina should be able to hold up with its front 7 with underclassmen Zacch Pickens and Jordan Burch. I’d still question that.
So how does South Carolina get to 6 wins? Well, there should be 5 wins with Coastal Carolina, Eastern Carolina, Mizzou, at Vanderbilt and vs. Wofford. Between the trip to Kentucky and home games against Texas A&M and Tennessee, I think there’s 1 win there.
The Gamecocks hit 6 wins and get an extremely difficult decision to make about Will Muschamp’s future at season’s end.
Michael Bratton, News editor
This is tough. South Carolina could have used the entire spring to install Mike Bobo’s new system, but at least the Gamecocks got some time in their new system this spring, unlike many other SEC programs that had no opportunity to hit the practice field.
It’s going to be very interesting to see how the offense evolves. As more and more programs transition to the spread, South Carolina is shifting to a more I-formation, pro-style system. Considering so few teams are running this offense, it could prove to be a wise decision — or it could prove to be a disaster.
I’m not a fan of the constant shuffling of the coaching staff, as once the 10-man staff is set, someone new seems to leave. I’m not sure the chemistry is going to be right in Columbia this year.
Considering all that while trying to pick South Carolina’s over/under is even more difficult based on Muschamp’s history of losing games he shouldn’t and winning games as a massive underdog.
I don’t have a great feel for the Gamecocks heading into 2020, but I’m going to lean toward the under considering the staff turnover and the way 2019 ended. South Carolina’s November schedule is a murderer’s row of games, which makes the October schedule of at Florida, vs. Tennessee and vs. Texas A&M look easy.
Neil Blackmon, Florida columnist
I’m going over as I think they get to 6 wins.
The question for me is whether 6-6 and a bowl game would save Muschamp’s job. I’m not sure it does.
Still, the schedule here is brutal but two of the three biggest swing games are at Williams-Brice: Tennessee and Missouri. The trip to Kentucky is a loss but they should grab a win at Vanderbilt and then all they need is one more– maybe Texas A & M, who they always play tough??– to go bowling. WIth growth at the quarterback position and improved health defensively, I like Muschamp to at least make the administration’s decision complicated.
Chris Wright, Executive editor
You are what your record says you are, right? Muschamp is a .500 coach. (Technically, he’s a .510 coach, 26-25, after 4 seasons at South Carolina.)
I’m not even sure he’s that this season.
I think the tipping point comes early for the Gamecocks, in Week 4 at Kentucky. That is an absolute must-win game because if they lose, they are staring at a likely 4-game slide. Considering November practically promises a 1-3 finish, the math quickly stacks against them.
If they beat Kentucky, however, there’s a good chance they are 4-0 heading into Florida-Tennessee-Texas A&M. Even if they lose all 3, they only need to beat Vanderbilt and Wofford to get to 6 wins, clear the over and reach a bowl game.
Can they beat Kentucky? I think they fall short and stumble to a 5-7 season.
- LSU’s over/under is 9.5 wins. How many games will Tigers win?
- Alabama’s over/under is 10.5 wins. How many games will Tide win?
- Auburn’s over/under is 8.5 wins. How many games will Tigers win?
- Texas A&M’s over/under is 9.5 wins. How many games will Aggies win?
- Who wins more games in 2020: Ole Miss or Mississippi State?
- Florida’s over/under is 9.5 wins. How many games will Gators win?
- Georgia’s over/under is 10.5 wins. How many games will Dawgs win?
- Tennessee’s over/under is 7.5 wins. How many games will Vols win?
- Missouri’s over/under is 5.5 wins. How many games will Tigers win?
- Kentucky’s over/under is 6.5 wins. How many games will Cats win?