In addition to appearing on Finebaum to talk about the ‘Cocks, Seth Emerson ($$) also penned something about the state of the program in Columbia. It’s good stuff, although I don’t think there are any real surprising takes on Will Muschamp’s team right now. The talent level has slowly been rebuilt from the bare cupboard Spurrier left, although South Carolina isn’t recruiting at the same elite level Clemson and Georgia are, the offense and defense are far from the conference’s worst, and that schedule is absolutely brutal. All told, it’s easy to see why Seth is looking at a 7-5 season for them.
The thing is, seven wins is what Will Muschamp is basically good for as a head coach. He’s got seven seasons under his belt in the SEC. Five of those season have seen win totals ranging from four on the low side to seven; four of those, he’s tallied six or seven. It’s what he does.
Boom has had two breakout seasons, one at Florida and one at South Carolina. Not coincidentally, they’ve both come when his teams have notched their best turnover margins during his time in each place. Here’s the breakdown:
- 2011 (UF): 7-6; -12
- 2012 (UF): 11-2; +15
- 2013 (UF): 4-8; -2
- 2014 (UF): 6-5; +6
- 2016 (SC): 6-7; +7
- 2017 (SC): 9-4; +11
- 2018 (SC): 7-6; -5
In 2012 and 2017, turnover margin masked some real shortcomings with his teams’ offenses. In 2018, SC’s offense was actually pretty decent (as Seth notes, the ‘Cocks were sixth in the SEC in yards-per-play last season), but the negative turnover margin hurt. Jake Bentley threw 14 picks, tops in the conference.
Given the schedule, it’s hard to see how Muschamp’s team can expect much if it doesn’t get turnover margin into positive territory. If things stay in the hole, bowl eligibility may become a real question.