Will the Pause of Sports Offer Muschamp a Free Pass for 2020?

Hot Seat Coaches Get a Reprieve

Offsides with Marc Ryan
May 04, 2020 - 2:08 pm


On "Offsides with Marc Ryan," anything everything is on the table, including topics some may not want to tackle due to sensitivy issues. This one of them, and it's a convenient truth for many a hot seat head coaches:

The Coronavirus Pandemic has granted a stay of execution, a welcome delay, a reprieve, a chance to breathe for hot seat coaches throughout the country. Our priorities have shifted from solving win/loss issues to matters of life and death. In truth, the only coaches relieved of their duties during this time seemingly had deep seated issues and personality conflicts with their athletic departments, Danny Manning and Dan Majerle serving as two examples of a very limited group. 

Channeling my inner Stephen A. Smith, "Allow me to make myself perfectly clear..."

The present societal situation should not offer Muschamp a free pass to 2021. To be granted five years to elevate a program in today's low patience, "What have you done for me lately?" workplace is a dream. At this point, Muschamp has to feel he's been given nine lives, but he's not gotten the job done. A record of 26-25 should be well expectations for even the most forgiving Gamecock fans, and the road forward appears unforgiving. South Carolina enters 2020 facing what many believe to be the nation's most difficult schedule (again), an inexperienced backfield, and in need of replacing four NFL draftees, a number that equals the most for the Gamecocks since 2013. 

He'll have to do all of that with new replacements for a significant number of staff defections; Bryan McClendon, Dan Werner, Coleman Hutzler, John Scott Jr., and Thomas Brown headlining the defectors. It's what you see when the perception is the ship is sinking, and it's a startling lack of loyalty to the program Muschamp has led. Yet in fairness, haven't we all done the same? How many times have you looked elsewhere for employment when you feel as though your days in your present position are numbered? This should be the clearest forecast and rendering of tea leaves for supporters of the program that trouble and uncertainty lies ahead. 

ESPN's Football Power Index says South Carolina has a 59% chance of becoming bowl eligible in 2020. Will that be enough to grandfather Muschamp in for 2021 in the current climate? 

My best guess is he needs a record of 7-5 or better to continue after this season. You begin to look at the schedule and attempt to discern where the wins may come. Granted, for this team and this program, nothing is a gimme, but the unexpected has worked both for and against this program. See most recently Appalachian State and Georgia. Here's how I view the Gamecocks win probabilities:

Sure wins: Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, and Wofford

Good Odds: Missouri at home, Vanderbilt away

50/50 Games: Kentucky away, Tennessee and Texas A&M at home

May the 4th be with you: Florida away, Georgia at home, LSU away, and Clemson away


Given the above, if South Caroina can simply win the games it should and find a way to come out on top in 2/3 50/50 contests, that gets Muschamp to seven wins. Easier said then done, of course. I can say this for the Gamecocks; unquestionably, there will be more compelling drama surrrounding this program in 2020 than any other. Buckle up. 




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