It's Time for the South Carolina Gamecocks to Put Up or Shut Up

By Phil Clark
Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports

For years, the South Carolina Gamecocks have been competitive in the SEC. Whether it was Lou Holtz or Steve Spurrier coaching them, the Gamecocks have solidified a recent winning tradition.

However, they still have yet to win the big one.

And that’s my only real problem with this team: for all of their consistency and positives, they are also consistent in losing the most important games of their seasons. This has prevented them from achieving more than they have over the last ten years or so.

Both Holtz and Spurrier have combined for one SEC East title (2010) and six New Year’s Day bowl games. Both men have coached teams to two Outback Bowls, and Spurrier also has a Capital One Bowl appearance as coach of the Gamecocks. The two have combined for a 5-0 record in these bowl games.

Some may call those big wins since they were in bowl games on New Year’s Day, but they’re not compared to BCS bowl games. They are great wins, and ones that can help a program create some real momentum; but, it doesn’t compare to winning the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, or the BCS Championship Game.

The Gamecocks have finished in the top-10 the last two seasons. Both seasons, they have finished one game behind the winner of the SEC East, but have won back-to-back New Year’s Day games. In other words, they’ve been knocking on the door, only to be left out in the cold.

Last year really looked like the Gamecocks’ year, especially after their destruction of the eventual SEC East champs, the Georgia Bulldogs. But then they went down to Gainesville and got destroyed by the Florida Gators, and that was that.

It’s always the story of the one that got away for the Gamecocks. But with their recent flirting with greatness, it just seems that now is the time for that greatness to show itself.

Both Holtz and Spurrier won one national title apiece in the college coaching job they had before coming to Columbia, South Carolina, so the Gamecocks have been coached by men who know how to win. Plus, since Spurrier is the current coach of the Gamecocks, that knowledge of winning the big one is there.

If the Gamecocks are ever going to win the SEC or appear in a BCS game or play for the national championship, now is the time to make it happen. History has shown that teams in the position the Gamecocks are in right now (consistently winning in a major conference) do one of two things: make that step up and start a dynasty, or never make the step up and become just another good college football team.

Phil Clark is a writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Or check out his blog.

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