Muschamp Will Enter 2020 on Hottest Seat in the Country

At the onset of his arrival at the University of South Carolina did Will Muschamp face doubts.  Muschamp arrived as the proverbial “last person at the bar.”  South Carolina was looking to replace the retired Steve Spurrier after he quit in the middle of a 3-9 season in 2015.  While Spurrier led the Gamecocks to three consecutive 11-win seasons his tenure ended on empty.  And without quality players.  Muschamp arrived with damaged sports betting credibility as head coach of Florida.  To illuminate he was fired after losing 13 of his final 23 games with the Gators.

2020 South Carolina Gamecocks Football Futures

Odds to Win National Championship:  250/1

Date:  Season Opens September 5, 2020

2020 South Carolina Gamecocks Futures Betting Overview

Compared to other Southeastern Conference schools the Gamecocks are severely lacking.  Three of South Carolina’s last five seasons have ended with losing records.  In 2019 Muschamp’s program slipped to 4-8. In like manner the program lacks an identifiable strength after four years under Muschamp’s direction.  Gamblers at best online sportsbooks want nothing to do with an SEC bottom feeder.  Muschamp’s record is 26-25 at South Carolina.  But can USC turn the tide?

Assistant Coaching Shuffle

So far, a total of seven assistant coaches have either been fired or bailed on their own.  Those that left voluntarily are said to have escaped a sinking ship.  In like manner to Muschamp is new offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.  Colorado State fired Bobo as head coach after he went 28-35 in five seasons.  Worse yet the program was 3-9 in 2018 and 4-8 for 2019.  Bobo had a new stadium and facilities but couldn’t capitalize.  He arrives discredited but with SEC credentials.  Bobo was a quarterback and offensive coordinator at Georgia.

Where was the Muschamp Defense?

Of great concern to fans and gamblers is the decline of the South Carolina defense.  Muschamp was always heralded as a defensive guru and recruiter.  Even his failed head coaching tenure at Florida featured effective defense.  Muschamp’s recruiting at Florida and initially at South Carolina was rated well.  However, 2019 saw the South Carolina defense become a sportsbook online liability.  USC finished 69th nationally for total defense and 56th for points allowed.  South Carolina rated 85th against the pass and 67th against the rush.

Of course, some of that can be blamed on an offense that failed to sustain drives.  In fact, offense has always been the Achilles Heel of Muschamp coached teams.  USC ranked an abysmal 97th overall nationally and 104th for scoring in 2019.  As a result, the defense was on the field far too often.  At the same time the defensive unit was not impressive early in games when fresh.  That leads to the assessment that recruiting has been subpar.  Furthermore, it’s a stinging indictment on Muschamp’s inability to develop players.

Can it be Salvaged?

Due to the erosion of his own program Muschamp faces a win or else season.  But can he win?  South Carolina sits in a vastly improved SEC East Division compared to when Muschamp arrived.  Florida and Georgia are in the national conversation with plenty of upside.  Tennessee is turning the corner after a decade of irrelevancy.  Kentucky has gone from doormat to a perennial bowl program.  Owing to a coaching change could Missouri be vulnerable during transition.  And Vanderbilt is a clown show.  Fifth best could mean a minor bowl for the Gamecocks.  But so what?

A Brutal Schedule Won’t Help

In addition to games against their division rivals South Carolina has brutal crossover games.  SEC West Division opponents include Texas A&M (at home) and defending national champion LSU (away).  More emphatically the season finale at perennial playoff power Clemson is a near certain loss.  It’s not likely that cupcakes Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, and Wofford can balance out the sheet.

USC is What its Record and History Says It Is

South Carolina may be able to cobble together six or seven wins.  At that point does USC maintain Muschamp’s mediocrity or cut ties?  And if they go with a new coach will it actually matter?  Perhaps South Carolina is what it is.  A program that hasn’t won a conference title in over 50 years.  To be exact Spurrier’s three 11-win season are a stark exception to the historic rule.

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