South Carolina Eliminates Another Playoff Hopeful
In terms of the most surprising team in the SEC this season, from LSU recovering from being the only SEC team to lose its first game to making the SEC Championship game, to Alabama getting two losses and effectively being eliminated from playoff contention, and even to Georgia going undefeated for a second straight regular season, South Carolina's past two performances vaults them to the top of this list.
First, in Week 12, South Carolina found themselves in a home matchup against the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers, who were in a great position to get in the playoffs if they had won out and waited for someone in the top four to take a loss. Instead, the Gamecocks had a different idea, and decided to ruin Tennessee's playoff hopes in dominant fashion, with quarterback Spencer Rattler going 30-of-37 for 438 yards and six touchdowns to beat the Volunteers 63-38. This was the first time South Carolina beat Tennessee since 2018.
Then, in their regular season finale on the road against No. 8 Clemson, another playoff hopeful who just needed to win out and a bit of help, South Carolina again had other plans by recovering from a 23-14 halftime deficit to beat the Tigers 31-30, ending their 40-game home winning streak, the longest in the nation. While Rattler didn't display the same dominance he did a week earlier, matching his two passing touchdowns with two interceptions, he still outplayed Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, who only completed eight passes for 99 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Prior to the back-to-back wins against top 10 teams, the Gamecocks lost two of its last three games to Missouri and Florida, two of the bottom three teams in the SEC East with them only being ahead of Vanderbilt.
South Carolina finished its season 8-4, going 4-4 in conference play. With the final two wins coming against CFP top 10 teams, South Carolina has a good chance of being ranked going into championship weekend.
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