The South Carolina Gamecocks are bad at football.
This is not a hot take, I am well aware.
They beat #4 Georgia, sure, but at this point, that’s more of a black mark on Georgia’s schedule than anything else. They’ve lost to Sun Belt power App State, been boat-raced by Tennessee, and lost to a Kelly Bryant-led Mizzou. They looked wholly unimpressive versus Texas A&M to reach 7 losses, nixing any chance of making a bowl.
The Gamecocks are coached by former Florida and Texas coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp. And with a 26-24 record featuring zero wins versus Clemson in his four years at the helm in Columbia, many Gamecock fans are past ready for change.
When a team is thinking of firing a coach, it has to consider a lot of different factors: Have things improved from the last guy? What do the local rivals look like? How is recruiting going?
The answers to those questions for South Carolina are clearly: no, playoff-caliber, and decently well (but not compared to their rivals).
For a lot of schools, though, the most important question should be: what’s the contract buyout look like?
At the top of the buyout market is Jimbo, of course, with his Texas-sized $60 million buyout, plus it’s year two, so the buyout is a lot higher.
Dabo comes in second at $50 million, the man’s working on his third national title in four years, so yeah.
Nick Saban’s is third at $34.10 million, which is oddly specific.
Coming in at #15 in college football, a higher ranking than any of his South Carolina teams have ever had, is Will Muschamp’s buyout.
According to USA Today’s NCAA Salary database, Will Muschamp’s buyout sits at $19.4 million. That total is higher than the buyout for Ryan Day ($18.75 million), and Dan Mullen ($12 million), Chip Kelly ($9 million), and higher than the one Florida State paid to Willie Taggart earlier this year ($17.7 million).
So when I see takes, like this one from a fellow STS writer, I shake my head.
Clemson should throw the South Carolina game to secure Will Muschamp’s continued employment MY COLUMN— Alex (@NotAlexCraft) November 15, 2019
I see why one would think this way – more years of Muschamp means more hilariously optimistic quotes, incredible losses to strange teams, and generally mediocre football that won’t attract new players or fans. A few more years of Muschamp would be glorious for Clemson, and it would ensure South Carolina remains the little brother in the state for the foreseeable future.
But, if keeping Muschamp ensures years of middling records and fighting for bowls, firing him this year would send them closer to the late 90s, when the Cocks went 1-21 over two years to close out the millennium.
And the only way Clemson’s going to get South Carolina to even consider forking over that $20 million and firing Muschamp:
SALT THE EARTH, DABO.
Be cruel, don’t let up. Make them pay money to cry uncle. To be honest, if Clemson doesn’t top 50 points by halftime, I’ll be a little disappointed.
The added bonus to every score is that the worse Clemson beats South Carolina, the larger the dilemma grows for the Chickens:
Do you keep the coach that just lost by [obscene score] to their archrival? If you do it signals to recruits that football really doesn’t matter that much to South Carolina. That they’re perfectly happy letting a player’s career go to waste under a lame duck coach.
Do you fire him and pay the buyout? That’s $20 million that South Carolina won’t have in the race to out-recruit Georgia, that it won’t have to catch up to Clemson’s facilities, and that it won’t have to give to their next
sacrificial lamb head coach.
Clemson has set record after record under Dabo, but one obvious one still stands. The largest win in the series was Clemson winning 51-0 back in the year 1900 – that’s no typo. It was 119 years ago, when the series was only 5 games old and Hunter Renfrow was just a high school sophomore. A record which begs to be broken.
Leave no doubt.