Will Muschamp / Photo via @CoachWMuschamp Twitter
Yes, the loss at Florida this past Saturday was quite frustrating to watch unfold. Muschamp clearly relapsed to his old Florida habits by sticking his hand in the proverbial cookie jar that is the offense.
I don't have to go into great detail for anybody to understand what happened in that game. Muschamp thought 31 points with a 17 point lead would be enough to win so he decided not to take any more chances throwing the ball.
But you see coach, the guy with the hot hand on Saturday was your quarterback. And when you decided to run the ball seven straight times and play it safe you took away all of his momentum so that by the time you were down 35-31 and had to throw the ball to try and move down the field, you couldn't do it.
The Gamecocks went so conservative that the entire northern region of Florida turned left. Every liberal watching the game had to turn the channel to FOX News to get some relief.
The defense has to shoulder some of the blame as well. The Gator running backs were gaining yards liberally against the depleted Carolina defense.
The tackling was hit or miss, literally.
All that aside though, Muschamp has actually been good about keeping his nose out of the offense in his time at South Carolina; especially this year. What happened Saturday was just a standard 'bad day at the office.'
We're all entitled to bad days. Luckily though, most of us aren't under constant surveillance by hundreds of thousands of people who are ready to scrutinize and take apart every fiber of your being when that bad day comes along.
The Gamecocks do not need to fire Muschamp for one bad day. That's an absolutely ridiculous notion and anybody who thinks this program is entitled to better has clearly not studied up on their Gamecock football history.
What Spurrier accomplished in Columbia at the start of this decade are outliers on the USC football timeline. It is not the standard to judge a coach now.
What Muschamp has done in his short tenure in Cola is actually remarkable considering how Spurrier left it in 2015. Muschamp inherited a 3-9 team with little to no talent and got six wins out of them in year one and took them to a bowl game.
With a win against Chattanooga and/or Akron, he will have the Gamecocks bowl eligible for the third straight time - meaning Muschamp would become the first head coach in history to lead the Gamecocks to a bowl game in each of his first three seasons.
Even Spurrier didn't do that. In his third season (2007), Spurrier got the Gamecocks off to a hot 6-1 start and they were ranked as high as #6 in the country. They would go on to lose their last five games of the season and finish 6-6. They were not invited to a bowl game that year.
I decided to put together a Top Ten list from the numbers of former Gamecocks coaches and how they faired in their first three seasons at South Carolina. I did not include coaches who didn't coach for at least three years...obviously.
The list is in order from highest winning percentage in first three seasons to the lowest.
1) Warren Giese (1956-58): .633 (19-11)
2) Joe Morrison (1983-85): .588 (20-14) / 0-1 bowl record
3) Billy Laval (1928-30): .580 (18-11-2)
4) Will Muschamp (2016-18): .571* (20-15*) / 1-1* bowl record
5) Steve Spurrier (2005-07): . 567 (21-16) / 1-1 bowl record
6) Jim Carlen (1975-77): .514 (18-17) / 0-1 bowl record
7) Brad Scott (1994-96): .500 (17-16-1) / 1-0 bowl record
8) Lou Holtz (1999-2001): .485 (17-18) / 2-0 bowl record
9) Sparky Woods (1989-91): .454 (15-15-3)
10) Paul Dietzel (1966-68): .333 (10-20)
*still three games left in regular season for Muschamp + bowl game
Just be patient with Muschamp as he continues to try and build a program that was left in shambles before he got there. The 2019 season is important but let the 2020 season play out and then judge from there. By then all the players will ones that he recruited and we should have a sense of how well he is recruiting to the program and how well he and the staff are developing players.