South Carolina almost blew a chance at BCS bowl berth against Wofford.
Although the 24-7 score says South Carolina thoroughly outplayed Wofford on Saturday, everybody who watched the game knows this contest was a lot closer than that.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Terriers remained tied with the Gamecocks. Wofford's rushing attack was lethal, and South Carolina had issues getting any offensive production without Marcus Lattimore in the lineup.
Not surprisingly, the Gamecocks eventually pulled out a victory. They have more talent on both sides of the ball than Wofford, not to mention one of the most legendary head coaches in all of college football on the sidelines.
This was not a fair fight, nor was it ever meant to be. This game was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Gamecocks, a chance for the seniors play their last home game in front of the fans.
However, Wofford refused to go away in this one. The Terriers ran the ball 60 times for 259 yards. Despite only putting up 71 yards of offense through the air, Wofford was able to stay in this game until the very end. The Terriers were eventually done in by their three turnovers, but mistakes are expected from a team that was thoroughly outclassed in terms of talent on the field.
Will the Gamecocks make it to a BCS bowl in 2012?
South Carolina's slim hopes for a BCS bowl berth in 2012 were almost eliminated in this one. The Gamecocks already have four SEC teams ahead of them in the BCS standings. Furthermore, both Florida and Georgia are ahead of South Carolina in the SEC East.
Losing this game, or even winning by a small margin, would have all but eliminated the Gamecocks' hopes of receiving an at-large bid to a BCS bowl game.
Despite their No.9 ranking, the Gamecocks have an extremely narrow path to the BCS. South Carolina must take care of business on the road against in-state rival Clemson next weekend. A win against Clemson would give Steve Spurrier's team two wins against top-15 programs to go along with six SEC victories.
Where it gets tricky is that South Carolina needs Georgia to lose at home against Georgia Tech to have any chance of going to a BCS game. However, if Georgia loses and Florida beats Florida State next weekend, the Gamecocks would still be on the outside looking in at a trip to a major bowl appearance.
South Carolina demolished Georgia 35-7 earlier in the year. If the Bulldogs were to fall at home against a Georgia Tech team with five losses, it would make South Carolina's most impressive win over Georgia look less impressive. Even if their main competition loses, the Gamecocks would still get hurt in the computer ratings.
To have a legitimate chance of making it to a BCS bowl game, the Gamecocks are going to have to win next weekend and hope both Florida and Georgia lose. Even then, they may still be the third highest-ranked SEC team in the BCS behind Alabama and LSU, and possibly even Florida. That would in no way guarantee them a BCS bowl berth.
However, South Carolina survived this week by a thread and has given itself a chance at squeaking into a prominent bowl game this season. It's a long-shot chance of making it to the BCS, but the beautiful thing about college football is that anything can happen in a given week.
The Gamecocks are a talented team that still has a chance to make noise in the national spotlight. They are just going to need a tremendous amount of help to do so.