Looking at South Carolina's bowl scenario
Late Wednesday night, LSU self-imposed a one-year bowl ban, taking itself out of contention for any of the bowl games the Tigers may have been invited to this postseason.
Usually, the goings on in Baton Rouge don't have ripple effects in Columbia, South Carolina, but this one sure did.
With the Tigers now out of contention for one of the many bowl slots the SEC has, it almost assures the Gamecocks will be playing in a postseason game this year.
“There are a lot of different scenarios for us to be in a position to get the invite. I talked with the team yesterday prior to introducing coach Beamer to those guys and we talked about some different scenarios and opportunities," Ray Tanner said Monday.
"There isn’t anything definite at this point either way. Hopefully we’ll remain COVID free. Yesterday were negative in a positive way. We’ll decide going forward, but we don’t know for sure how it will unfold."
Now it's time to get into the nitty gritty on the bowl scenarios. First of all: the NCAA waived any bowl win requirements or the stipulation of a .500 this season to make sure bowl slots were filled across the country.
That means that, while unlikely, an undefeated team like Alabama (9-0) and a winless Vanderbilt (0-8) both have chances of bowling this year.
For the SEC, there are nine guaranteed bowl slots this year for teams: the Sugar, Citrus, Outback, Texas, Liberty, Music City, Gator Birmingham and Armed Forces bowls. The Gasparilla bowl could include teams from the ACC, American or SEC.
But things shift and chance if the league has a team go to the playoff and any number of teams get selected for one of the few at-large spots in the New Year's Six bowls.
This year, that's the case.
Based off the College Football Playoff rankings released this week, the SEC would send No. 1 Alabama to the playoff but No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 6 Florida and No. 9 Georgia would all go to New Year's Six Bowls with the Gators the SEC representatives and the other two teams at-larges.
That would take two teams out of any of the contracted bowls the SEC has.
If LSU were still eligible for the postseason, it would mean eight, or potentially nine, bowl slots for the remaining 10 teams. Now it's eight or nine spots for nine teams, and Vanderbilt is staring down the barrel of a potentially 0-10 or 1-9 season with Tennessee and Georgia up next.
In that scenario, the Gamecocks at 2-8 would likely get an invite to a bowl game.
If that's the case, it puts South Carolina in an interesting scenario with a few players already declaring for the draft with injuries and other potential COVID issues thinning numbers some.
South Carolina played its game against Kentucky with a very limited number of scholarship players.
What it would give the Gamecocks is a chance for more practice time after a coaching change.
New head coach Shane Beamer, who's finishing his duties out with Oklahoma, said he wouldn't coach in the game but would be able to watch his new team practice and get a sense of what he and his new staff will be working with.
“I know for me if South Carolina is playing in a bowl game it would be a great resource, a great opportunity, for me to be able to come over. I would not coach in the bowl game but would have a chance to be around here and watch our guys practice and see what we’re about on the field," Beamer said.
"Bowl games are always good because in a lot of ways it’s an extra spring practice. You get a chance to get out there and develop young guys and continue to move this program forward. If we’re able to do that, from my standpoint I think that would be great.”
Full list of South Carolina's bowl projections
Kyle Bonagura (ESPN): Gasparilla Bowl (Dec. 26, noon) vs. Pittsburgh
Mark Schlabach (ESPN): Gasparilla Bowl vs. Boston College
College Football News: Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 31, noon) vs. Washington
Athlon Sports: Birmingham Bowl (Jan. 1, noon) vs. Tulsa
Brett McMurphy (Stadium): Birmingham Bowl vs. Tulsa