South Carolina's chances of earning a BCS bowl berth after Saturday's 23-21 loss at Tennessee are iffy at best, but under certain wild scenarios, it could happen.
First, the Gamecocks (5-2) are going to have to forget in a hurry about what might of been and concentrate on what's ahead of them.
South Carolina finished each of the last two years 11-2, and with some luck, the Gamecocks could still surpass that win total this season.
They need to win out, somehow win the SEC East and then win the SEC Championship. That would land them in a BCS bowl game.
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From multiple sources
Biggest Obstacles to a BCS Berth
South Carolina's toughest remaining game is likely to come next week at unbeaten Missouri, the team that now looms as the favorite in the SEC East race.
The good news for the Gamecocks is that if they can get past that one, their final four games are at home.
Florida will be a challenge, as will the season-ending rivalry game with nonconference foe Clemson.
There are enough mathematical possibilities out there to confuse Jeff Sagarin and Jerry Palm, but the simplest scenario for South Carolina calls for the Gamecocks to win out.
If South Carolina wins out, Missouri needs to lose at least one more game. The most likely possibility there is a season-ending home game with Texas A&M.
If there's a three-way tie between Missouri, Georgia and South Carolina, the Gamecocks would win on head-to-head record versus Missouri and would likely be ranked higher than Georgia, giving them the SEC East title.
The Gamecocks will need every bit of help they can get. They need to beat everyone they play while having every team they play win as many games as possible.
Central Florida helped out Friday with a big victory over Louisville that flatters South Carolina's earlier victory at UCF.
Elsewhere, it would help the Gamecocks' chances if a few of the higher-ranked teams outside the SEC like Oregon and Florida State stumbled along the way.
Courtesy of South Carolina Sports Information
The Big Picture
There are no remaining games that should prove insurmountable.
The Gamecocks simply need to win and patiently hope the remainder of the season becomes a war of attrition for the higher-ranked teams.
Winning out would include resume-enhancing victories over Missouri and Clemson.
Final Bowl Prediction
When all is said and done, the odds are strongly in favor of the Gamecocks falling short of a berth in a BCS bowl.
Look for South Carolina to finish 9-3 and wind up in the Outback Bowl.