Looking at South Carolina’s bowl game options


With the regular season concluded and only conference games still to be played, the bowl game options for the South Carolina football team have narrowed considerably. Winning the final two games of the regular season, both over top 10 opponents, have the Gamecocks (8-4) and second-year head coach Shane Beamer wanted by multiple games.

There are three games that should be considered landing spots for South Carolina at this point, and all are in Florida with traditionally New Year’s Day time slots. Two of the games – the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl and ReliaQuest Bowl – seem to be the two most likely options. The ReliaQuest, formerly known as the Outback Bowl, would be the odds on favorite for where the Gamecocks will play their bowl game this season.

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ReliaQuest Bowl

DATE & TIME: Jan. 2, noon
LOCATION: Tampa, Fla. (Raymond James Stadium)
LAST YEAR’S MATCHUP: Arkansas beat Penn State 24-10

CBS has Carolina in the ReliaQuest Bowl  

SOUTH CAROLINA’S BOWL HISTORY: The Gamecocks have played in this game, formerly the Outback, more than any other bowl. Lou Holtz brought the team to back-to-back Outback Bowl victories over Ohio State to conclude the 2000 and 2001 seasons. Steve Spurrier had a 1-1 record in the Outback Bowl, getting throttled by Iowa to end the 2008 season and beating Michigan to end 2012. Will Muschamp also led the Gamecocks to a victory over Michigan to end the 2017 season.

SOUTH CAROLINA’S CHANCES: This seems like the most likely destination, if one were to put odds on what game that South Carolina will play in, as it stands prior to conference championships being played. If the Gamecocks slip past the Citrus, the ReliaQuest has a powerful voice among the Pool of Six bowl games. The folks in Tampa would love to have a red-hot Gamecocks team back in their city, and it could be against one of two very intriguing opponents – Florida State or Notre Dame.

Cheez-It Citrus Bowl

DATE & TIME: Jan. 2, 1 p.m.
LOCATION: Orlando, Fla. (Camping World Stadium)
LAST YEAR’S MATCHUP: Kentucky defeated Iowa 20-17

The Athletic has Carolina in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl

SOUTH CAROLINA’S BOWL HISTORY: The Gamecocks played twice in three years in the modern era version of this game, defeating Nebraska 30-13 to cap the 2011 season and Wisconsin 34-24 to end the 2013 season. … The Gamecocks also played in this game in December 1975 when it waws the Tangerine Bowl, losing to No. 12 Miami (OH) 20-7.

SOUTH CAROLINA’S CHANCES: It’s going to come down to the Gamecocks and LSU for the spot in this bowl game, which picks after the playoff and New Year’s Six but before the SEC’s Pool of Six. The Tigers are playing Georgia in the SEC Championship game and if the Bulldogs wallop the SEC West representative, it could send LSU down in the polls and be pretty comparable to where the Gamecocks stand. Would the Citrus pass on the SEC West champion? Probably not. But an LSU victory would put the Tigers in the New Year’s Six, but that would cause some changes in the bowl picture. This bowl does get to pick independent of the SEC.

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

DATE & TIME: Dec. 30, 3:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Jacksonville, Fla. (TIAA Bank Field)
LAST YEAR’S MATCHUP: Wake Forest defeated Rutgers 38-10

SOUTH CAROLINA’S BOWL HISTORY: The Gamecocks have played in the Gator Bowl on four occasions, including two appearances under. The first ever bowl game that South Carolina ever played in was the Gator Bowl to end the 1945 season, which resulted in a loss to Wake Forest. The Gamecocks also fell to Pittsburgh, Oklahoma State and LSU in 1980, 84 and 87, respectively.

SOUTH CAROLINA’S CHANCES: As of this writing, it doesn’t seem like South Carolina is going to slip past the ReliaQuest (even though it is technically at the same level as the Gator). With the way the team finished the season, and the fact that the Gator wants the Gamecocks and the Gator is also high on South Carolina’s list, this would be the landing spot should the Citrus and ReliaQuest want to do something different.

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