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South Carolina Momentum Continues

By BJ Bennett
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Will Muschamp is building something special at South Carolina, above all else, a strong belief in the future

Pre-season expectations, from the outside-looking-in, were already modest for South Carolina. When star Deebo Samuel was lost for the year due to injury, many felt his omission was one the Gamecocks wouldn't be able to overcome. Following a stretch that included losses to Kentucky and Texas A&M and a narrow win over Louisiana Tech, critics were quick to point out South Carolina's struggles. A 6-2 finish, culminating with an Outback Bowl victory over Michigan, gives Will Muschamp and the Gamecocks the final word.

Muschamp's second season has now officially resulted in nine wins, just the seventh time in South Carolina history a squad has met that mark. These Gamecocks opened and closed the year in impressive fashion, defeating North Carolina State in Charlotte and the Wolverines in Tampa, respectively. Along the way, South Carolina finished second in the SEC East. The only teams to beat the Gamecocks after September, Georgia and Clemson, both made the College Football Playoff.

Through the chaos of the summer and the season, Muschamp's mission did not change. No stranger to the bright lights that come with the game's biggest stage, the former Florida head coach trusted in both his process and his players, a patience that also proved poignant on New Year's Day. Down 19-3 late in the third quarter, South Carolina rallied for 23-unanswered points over the game's final 17:25 for the win. The Gamecocks finish the year as one of the nation's hottest teams.

Clearly, South Carolina is a program on the rise. Fresh off nine wins, Muschamp has the Gamecocks outright sprinting into the off-season ahead. South Carolina returns star quarterback Jake Bentley, among other key pieces, for 2018 and is bringing an elite recruiting class to Columbia. The momentum the Gamecocks have in place is very real.

Muschamp is building something special at South Carolina, above all else, a strong belief in the future. Fittingly, he talked about winning a championship in the locker room post-game. Expectations are on the rise for Muschamp and company, regardless of what the rest of college football might think.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports