Emotions ran high in Columbia after Saturday night’s games had concluded. The South Carolina football team had just won a school-best fifth in a row against the Clemson Tigers, but South Carolina’s SEC title hopes were shattered later that night by another group of Tigers. Texas A&M, led by defending Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, fell to Missouri 28-21.
2013 marks the third season in a row that the Gamecocks will watch the SEC Championship from home after defeating the SEC East winner earlier in the season. Hopes to make a BCS bowl were dashed because of Mizzou making it to Atlanta and the result of the Iron Bowl. South Carolina is ranked eighth in the BCS standings, but rules limiting each conference to only two teams in BCS bowls will prevent the Gamecocks from reaching one. Alabama, Auburn and Missouri round out the top five in the BCS standings and all have precedence for a BCS bowl over the Gamecocks.
Being left out of the BCS leaves quite a few options open for South Carolina’s bowl location. Bowl invitations will be finalized Sunday, but there has been much anticipation in the week leading up to the decision. Bowl games are a special part of college football and take more into consideration than teams’ performances.
South Carolina, winner of their last two bowl games, are going to be a very attractive team for bowls to choose. South Carolina has proven to be one of the more exciting teams in the last few seasons with stellar play from quarterback Connor Shaw and plenty of big plays from a stellar defense led by Jadeveon Clowney. Head coach Steve Spurrier always creates headlines and is regarded as one of the best college football coaches in the country.
Likely bowl destinations include the Capital One Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Outback Bowl and Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Gamecocks have traveled to all of those in the past except for the Cotton Bowl. All four of these bowls choose an SEC team each season, with the Capital One Bowl getting first pick of SEC East teams.
The Capital One Bowl, located in Orlando, is a bowl South Carolina fans are very familiar with. The Gamecocks beat Nebraska 30-13 in the 2012 edition in Alshon Jeffery’s last game for the Garnet and Black. Representatives from this bowl would certainly welcome having the Gamecocks back after a stellar season. The only concern would be South Carolina’s fan base traveling back to Orlando. The Gamecock faithful have traveled to central Florida three times in the past few seasons and may be tired of making that particular trip.
The Outback Bowl, in Tampa, may also suffer from that as well. South Carolina traveled there last season to play against Michigan. The Gamecocks have also been in that bowl four times since 2001. The Outback Bowl may still choose the Gamecocks if they are available given to their No. 8 BCS ranking.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl would seem unlikely, seeing as it will choose after both the Capital One and Outback. The most intriguing option would be the Cotton Bowl. The Cotton Bowl is a prestigious postseason game that typically chooses an SEC West team, but that may change this year.
Representatives from the Cotton Bowl are really impressed with South Carolina’s interest in the game and absolutely love Steve Spurrier. The Head Ball Coach is one of the most exciting figures in college football, and bringing his Gamecocks would be an exciting finale for the Cotton Bowl before it enters as one of the semi finals for the new playoff system in college football.
While South Carolina didn’t reach a BCS bowl, the Gamecocks will definitely be fired up to be in whatever bowl they land up in. Fans and players are hoping to travel to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl, but any bowl that calls will be a great one. One more win and the Gamecocks will have their third 11 win season in a row, and the seniors will have the opportunity to end their stellar careers on a high note. Regardless of where they end up, look for the Gamecocks to go out with some flair.
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