Yeah, I know. I am well aware of the fact that the Outback Bowl is a lower-tiered bowl than last year's Capitol One Bowl against Nebraska. I am also aware that this will be South Carolina's fourth appearance in the Outback Bowl since 2001, and overkill may be starting to sink in.
I also am well aware that the Gamecocks looked like a team deserving of a BCS bowl bid, but due to BCS rules, only two SEC teams could actually qualify.
South Carolina finished the year 10-2. We all know the SEC is insanely competitive. Georgia went 11-2. Florida went 11-1. Alabama went 12-1. LSU and Texas A&M both went 10-2.
It's just straight-up impossible to give the SEC teams the bowl games they deserve... because they'd be in almost every BCS bowl game.
So the Gamecocks fall to the Outback bowl to compete against a good Michigan team who went 8-4 while playing a very tough Big Ten schedule.
In two seasons, South Carolina has the opportunity to beat Nebraska and Michigan, two historic and proud programs, all while going 22-4 and being a national contender for most of the year.
Can any Gamecock fan say they're truly disappointed? While I still think the Gamecocks have some growing to do, they've definitely become a force to reckon with.
This bowl game may not have the pizazz of a BCS bowl game. This is true. It isn't as big as last year's Capitol One Bowl. This is also true.
Make no mistake though... this is a big game. The series between South Carolina and Michigan is tied at one a piece. It would be pretty amazing to say that South Carolina leads the all-time series. South Carolina is rising at a breakneck pace.
To beat a team like the 8-4 Wolverines is still a great opportunity for the Gamecocks. If they can come away with a win, I believe that this bowl game will be a satisfying conclusion to the 2012 iteration of the Gamecocks, and will serve to set up for another incredible year of Gamecock football in 2013.