The Gamecocks were among 10 Southeastern Conference teams with six victories this fall. However, the league had only eight bowl tie-ins and that left South Carolina and coach Steve Spurrier on the outside.
Spurrier had hoped to reach his third straight bowl game - never accomplished in school history - since taking over the Gamecocks after the 2004 season. That looked like a guarantee in mid-October when South Carolina stood 6-1 and No. 6 in the country.
However, the team saddled Spurrier with his longest-ever losing streak, dropping its last five games.