South Carolina's season is on the upswing, so it's time to look at some bowl projections.
After the losses to Georgia and Tennessee, the odds of making a BCS bowl game looked bleak for the Gamecocks. Then, the season took a turn upward with the huge victory against Missouri and the following win against Mississippi State this weekend.
South Carolina can see the finish line, but must take each game one at a time.
Florida. Coastal Carolina. Clemson.
Right now the Gamecocks need to stay focused on the Florida matchup to line up a shot at the division title and an SEC title game berth.
Stay focused and the rest will fall into place.
South Carolina could be headed to some impressive bowl games, and here are three of their potential opponents.
1. Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin is right behind Ohio State in the Leaders Division of the Big Ten, and this Badgers team were competitive with the Buckeyes earlier in the season.
The Badgers have a favorable schedule to finish the season, so they should win out. This will position Wisconsin to land the at-large bid from the Big Ten after Ohio State locks up a Rose Bowl trip.
Wisconsin pounds the football with Melvin Gordon, who is marching up and down the field with impressive rushing stats. A battle between Gordon and South Carolina's Mike Davis would be an entertaining showdown between elite running backs.
CBS Sports currently has Wisconsin playing South Carolina in the Sugar Bowl. Michigan State's impending loss in the Big Ten Championship Game to Ohio State must be hindering the Spartans' efforts at landing a spot in the Sugar Bowl.
South Carolina would present an even matchup for Wisconsin, though I would give the edge to South Carolina because its offense is now looking more complete and will be healthy with a long break between an SEC Championship Game and a BCS bowl in the new year.
2. Michigan State Spartans
Yes, I know...another Big Ten team. But, here's the situation.
Michigan State is positioned to be the No. 2 team out of the Big Ten, which would automatically send the Spartans to the Capital One Bowl, unless Ohio State makes the BCS National Championship, which is rather unlikely at this point. The Spartans would square off with the Gamecocks in the Capital One Bowl. South Carolina will have the chance to beat both major schools from the state of Michigan in back-to-back bowl games.
South Carolina winds up in the Capital One Bowl because...wait for it...Alabama loses a game. Can it be? An Alabama loss? Blasphemy! Well, it could happen. And if it does, Alabama will wind up in the Sugar Bowl, bumping South Carolina back to the Capital One Bowl.
It's a long shot, though the Gamecocks could get their shot at spoiling Alabama's run at a three-peat, if the Gamecocks get some help from Missouri and make the SEC title game.
Michigan State has an anemic offense, but an impressive defense. I'd give the edge to South Carolina in this matchup, too. The Gamecocks are just an overall better team.
3. Baylor Bears
Right now, Baylor is among the undefeateds, though the Bears have a tough three-game stretch coming up. I think Baylor loses one game out of the three against Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, most likely the Oklahoma State game on the road.
Baylor will wind up as the No. 2 team out of the Big 12 Conference and line up a battle with South Carolina. This scenario works if Missouri holds on to the SEC East and South Carolina finishes third or fourth overall in the SEC. A game between Baylor and South Carolina would more than likely be in the Cotton Bowl.
The Bears dominate their opponents with one of the deadliest, quick-hitting offenses to grace college football. Baylor, led by quarterback Bryce Petty and running back Lache Seastrunk, ranks first in passing offense, seventh in rushing offense, first in points per game with a whopping 63.9 ppg—and toss in the sixth-best defense in points allowed per game.
Baylor would be a daunting matchup for the Gamecocks. The South Carolina defense wouldn't give up 63 points. But, South Carolina would need to score and score in bunches to keep this game close. Baylor would be the toughest matchup among these three teams.