Despite a strong 10-2 record in 2013 and ranking No. 8 in the current BCS standings, Steve Spurrier is going to find it impossible to get the South Carolina Gamecocks into a BCS bowl this season. After they watched the Missouri Tigers clinch the SEC East on Saturday night, South Carolina is now helpless to improve their position as they sit idle during Championship Week. And no matter how the SEC title game ultimately plays out, South Carolina is not going to be invited to the big bowls this January.
As it stands right now, South Carolina is the fourth highest ranked team in the BCS out of the SEC. Two of the teams ranked ahead of them (Missouri and the Auburn Tigers) will face off in the conference title game in Atlanta this week which would still put the SEC champion and the Alabama Crimson Tide ranked ahead of South Carolina. By BCS rules, only two teams from a conference can participate in the BCS bowls, leaving the Gamecocks on the outside looking in.
But South Carolina’s strong play will still earn them a January bowl game, just not the ones that they were hoping for. They appear to be a strong contender to secure an invite to the Capital One Bowl, AT&T Cotton Bowl, or the Outback Bowl. They will likely end up in one of those three with the LSU Tigers and the loser of the SEC title game filling out the other two slots. While they are all excellent bowls, they are still second-tier contests that will ultimately be a bit of a letdown for South Carolina.
In a year where an upset loss to the Tennessee Volunteers will keep them out of the BCS conversation, South Carolina has plenty to be proud of from their 2013 season. While it didn’t end up where they wanted to, South Carolina can take some satisfaction in knowing they are among the very best teams in all of college football even if they don’t get the bowl game to prove it.