Gamecocks’ most-likely bowl possibilities are in Florida

When the 2017 college football season began, some prognosticators forecast the South Carolina football team to have a losing season. So the fact that the Gamecocks (8-4) won eight games is a surpassing of expectations, despite the demoralizing loss at the hands of Clemson Saturday.

Last year USC was able to get six wins, and a chance to play in the Birmingham Bowl versus a 10-win South Florida team. The 6-6 Gamecocks lost that bowl game to finish 6-7.

With the wins in 2017, USC will not only go to a bowl game, it will likely be a New Year’s Day Florida bowl game.

Bowl projections from ESPN to CBS Sports are mentioning the Gamecocks as candidates for the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on the high end and the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl in Jacksonville on the low end. While some predictions indicate USC will end up in Tampa at the Outback Bowl.

The bowl sections are scheduled to be announced Sunday, a day after the SEC Championship game. The Gamecocks are jockeying with LSU and Mississippi State for bowl position. LSU finished 9-3 and is more likely to get the Citrus Bowl pick in Orlando. Miss St. lost its starting quarterback Nick Fitzgerald in its last game, a loss to Ole Miss. And the Bulldogs’ head coach, Dan Mullen, has been hired at Florida. So that may make USC a more attractive pick than Miss. St.

Regardless, USC fans can be thankful for a better-than-expected finish and a January trip to Florida instead of Birmingham. The Gamecocks are a bit better off in 2017 than the team was in 2016.