At the beginning of the season, South Carolina expected to have control over the SEC East. Though midway through the season, hopes slipped away.
Now the Gamecocks have hope again and are determined to fight to the finish en route to an SEC East division title.
With a little help from the Missouri Tigers losing some games down a somewhat difficult backstretch of the regular season, South Carolina could find itself right where it wanted to be. It will just be an entirely different course, but then again, nothing comes easy in football, especially in the SEC.
Here are the best and worse-case scenarios for the final four games of South Carolina's season.
With four home games to finish out the season, South Carolina finds itself in prime position to hold its own in the SEC and make moves in the BCS standings.
First off, the Gamecocks have a showdown with Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have a decent defense and should not be taken lightly, though this is a very winnable game for the Gamecocks, as well as a good game to maintain course.
Florida follows and the Gators have an atrocious offense that South Carolina should be able to contain. The Gators only score 21.1 points per game, a dismal 103rd in the nation.
Luckily, South Carolina only has two SEC opponents remaining as opposed to Missouri's four games. This leaves more opportunities for the Tigers to slip up and an opening for the Gamecocks to jump to the top of the SEC East.
Assuming South Carolina can lock up the division in this best-case scenario, it gets an opponent to bully in Coastal Carolina before taking on in-state rival Clemson.
With the SEC East secure, a berth in the SEC championship game and a shot at a solid BCS bowl game, South Carolina will have plenty of motivation against Clemson on top of the already heated battle between South Carolina football powers.
Four wins to close out the season will put South Carolina back into the mix and give them a shot at Alabama in the SEC title game. The Gamecocks will have turned their season around 180 degrees from the early part of the year and could have a chance at another memorable season.
There is no way South Carolina loses its final four games since one of those opponents is Coastal Carolina. In fact, I think South Carolina's worst-case scenario would be two losses out of the final four games.
Mississippi State finds a way to play tough football and South Carolina could get ahead itself as the team recognizes the opportunity to win the division. South Carolina can make it past the Bulldogs, but if the offense goes stagnant in the following week, Florida can spoil the season.
The Gators' defense is stingy, so the Gamecocks' offense needs to maintain balance and produce.
Either of these teams are capable of coming into Williams-Brice Stadium and beating South Carolina, so tread carefully, Gamecocks. One loss could send the season into a downward spiral known as the worst-case scenario.
Then there is Coastal Carolina, a total pushover. But, Clemson is next to close out the season.
Clemson went from a team than handled Georgia during Week 1, struggled against Boston College in the first half and then got demolished at home by Florida State, a really, really good football team.
Which Clemson Tigers team will show up for the Palmetto Bowl?
If the well-oiled offensive machine led by Tajh Boyd that cruised during the first part of the season comes to play, South Carolina could be in for a long day.
South Carolina has the chance to win out, but if the Gamecocks lose focus and get ahead of themselves, they could be on the path to the worst-case scenario.