Is it just me or does USC always end up in the Outback Bowl. That is unless Florida decides it wants to go there and they are sent to the Independence Bowl (2005). Or unless Alabama wants to go to the Independence Bowl and the Gamecocks don’t get to go to a bowl at all (2008).
It looks pretty certain that short of a an automatic BCS bid, the Gamecocks are going back to Tampa.
Not that there is anything wrong with Tampa or the Outback Bowl, but two times in three years and four times in ten years and the trip gets a little stale. Then again, most bowl games these days are stale.
USC deserves no worse than the Capital One or the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but it will get neither. Bama, a team with the same record and one that lost head-to-head to USC will go instead. The Crimson Tide will go over the Gamecocks not because they are a better team, but a bigger name program.
It is reason number 2,938 why this system is a joke.
As for the Chick-fil-A Bowl, those folks always seem to go out of their way not to pick USC. This year will be no different. This year’s excuse will be they don’t want to take the SEC title game loser because fans won’t be willing to travel back to the same venue just a few weeks later.
One thing the good folks at the Chick-fil-A Bowl did do for USC was take North Carolina off the Gamecocks schedule this season.
That means Gamecocks fans should expect another eight to 10 hour drive to Tampa to face Penn State or maybe Michigan State.
Of course if USC pulls the upset against Auburn Saturday it will get its first bid to one of the premiere exhibition bowl games of the playoffs postseason, the Sugar Bowl.
The likely opponent? Ohio State. Again.
**Update, Scott Hood from GamecockCentral has pointed out that the Outback picks before the Chick-fil-A Bowl thus not giving the Chick-fil-A folks a shot at USC. I get the reasoning, but we all know these bowl reps work together to get the best matchups, AKA biggest names/money revenue games possible. They don’t worry about the quality of game or matchup. A big reason why USC never goes bowling in Atlanta is the fact the bowl reps know it’s a day or one night trip for most Gamecocks fans and that would mean they lose hotel and food revenue that week. The point is, if the Chick-fil-A bowl really wanted USC it could have them.***