College Sports

Why South Carolina fans should buy into at least one more year of Will Muschamp as coach

It wasn’t exactly news worth stopping the presses for when it was revealed Tuesday that Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is the highest-paid coach in college football.

A far more interesting coaching situation lurks in the Palmetto State: What is the status of Will Muschamp’s future at the University of South Carolina?

For me — someone who is not a fan of either major Palmetto State team and can therefore make objective opinions on them — it’s been a roller coaster. Not just week to week, but at times play to play.

Let’s flash back to the Gamecocks’ win at Georgia two weeks ago. Entering the game I was under the impression that Muschamp would get one more season regardless of how South Carolina finishes this season. The reason? A loaded schedule this year — Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M and, yes, ranked Appalachian State — was an aberration, and who else would the Gamecocks turn to?

Yet, that game in Athens had me go from “let him go” to “give him three more years” in the course of an hour. If he lost the game in regulation — which he flirted with by trying ta deep field goal, leaving the Bulldogs with enough time on the clock to potentially win it with one of their own — I was thinking he blew it and there would be no one else to blame. That would have been enough to show me his coaching ability is flawed.

But, man, as luck would have it the Gamecocks found a way to knock off the third-ranked team in the nation — a victory some are calling the biggest ever for the program.

That left me in a bit of limbo heading into the next game against Florida. That being said, there was the thought in my brain that “what if they beat Florida and the Gators later beat Georgia and USC somehow takes the SEC East?”

Wow, how things can change quickly in college football.

However, USC lost 38-27 to Florida in a competitive game (I know, I know, blame the refs), leaving the big-picture talk irrelevant. That being said, beating Georgia and then playing the Gators tough showed me Muschamp has the Gamecocks showing fight.

USC sits at 3-4 heading into winnable games against Tennessee and Vanderbilt the next two weeks. With wins there, the Gamecocks would be 5-4 heading into a stretch of Appalachian State, Texas A&M and, after a bye, the rivalry game with Clemson. If South Carolina can win just one of those games they’ll likely wind up in a bowl game, assuming they do indeed beat the Vols and Commodores.

To me, going 6-6 and getting to a bowl this year would be a victory for Muschamp.

While the Gamecocks coach is a world away from becoming the top-paid coach in college football like Swinney, Muschamp at least proved he could beat the fifth-highest-paid one (Georgia’s Kirby Smart).

If I were a Gamecocks fan, that would be enough to buy into another year of Muschamp at the helm.

David Wetzel serves in both editor and reporter roles for The Sun News. An award-winning journalist, he has reported on all types of news, sports and features stories in over a decade as a member of the staff. Wetzel has won awards for sports column, feature and headline writing.