Paul Finebaum believes South Carolina fans on the verge of turning on Will Muschamp following 'unforgivable' loss
Will Muschamp likely owes Jeremy Pruitt a beer the next time the two coaches meet up because had Tennessee not stolen most of the Week 1 headlines after falling at home to Georgia State, the South Carolina program would likely be front and center when it comes to the most embarrassing SEC loss of the weekend.
While the nation may be piling on the Vols at the moment, that’s exactly what Gamecock Nation is doing to Muschamp right now after his program fell in the opener to North Carolina, which is being led by a first-year head coach in Mack Brown and a true freshman quarterback in Sam Howell. Muschamp, on the other hand, has had four years to build South Carolina and has four-year starting quarterback Jake Bentley to run his offense.
During his weekly Monday morning appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 FM radio program “The Roundtable,” SEC Network host Paul Finebaum was asked which former Nick Saban assistant had the worst weekend — Oregon’s Mario Cristobal, Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt, or Muschamp.
“The coach that has the biggest problem of those three is Will Muschamp,” Finebaum answered.
According to Finebaum, the South Carolina fans he is hearing from following the Gamecocks’ stunning 24-20 loss to North Carolina are on the verge of turning on Muschamp, especially considering the wild success Kirby Smart is having at Georgia in the same time their coach has had to build the program in Columbia.
“If you look back – [Muschamp] got that job because Kirby Smart ended up going to Georgia and that was a job that South Carolina thought they had Kirby for, so you start comparing the progress of the two programs,” Finebaum said on the show. “I’ve heard South Carolina fans for years talk about, ‘Well, Steve Spurrier left us in a dumpster fire.’ Well, that was an awfully long time ago. This is Muschamp’s program and I think he took a very, very sharp right turn into a troubled time because that was probably the one game on the schedule that everyone had as a W, and everyone should also felt like, there’s no way we can lose this game — I’m speaking of what South Carolina fans tell me. It’s against a bitter rival or recruiting rival.”
The hurt of starting the season with a loss is all the more painful considering many fans believed a turnaround was coming this season. Despite a tough schedule, all offseason Muschamp and his program refused to use that as an excuse and looked at the challenge as a measuring stick for the program. So far, the results aren’t good for the fourth-year coach.
“It’s just unforgivable. And I’ve already heard from South Carolina fans who are just irate,” Finebaum continued. “And, you know, this is a program that felt like maybe they had a shot at one of the big three on the schedule, whether it was Alabama, whether it was Clemson, whether it’s Georgia.
“They just felt like they were good enough because a year ago they were, they were ascending and now, you know, they’re trying to pick up the pieces and I don’t know how you do it, frankly,” Finebaum added. “Just keep your eye on the fan base. If this fan base doesn’t see something fairly soon, they will turn what was a fairly safe seat, and I mean by that, I think Will Muschamp had this year before he felt the heat, because there’s a lot of transition going on in the president’s position and he also had the full support of Ray Tanner. He will go from a safe seat to a scorching hot seat.”
South Carolina has a chance to pick up the pieces this weekend at home against Charleston Southern before hosting Alabama Week 3 of the season — which will be broadcast nationally by CBS.