South Carolina is headed back to a familiar destination but it will face a new opponent. The Gamecocks (10-2) will spend New Year's at the Outback Bowl and face Michigan on January 1, 2013.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier
This is the second time that head coach Steve Spurrier has brought his South Carolina team to the Outback Bowl and this will be the fourth trip for the Gamecocks in the last 13 years.
“We are fired up and elated to be going to the Outback Bowl,” Spurrier said on Sunday night. “It’s one of the best bowls in the country. It’s neat to be going back down there.”
South Carolina and Michigan have met twice in program history with the teams splitting games. The Gamecocks won 17-14 in Ann Arbor, Mich. in 1980 while the Wolverines won 34-3 in 1985 at Williams-Brice Stadium.
“They’re an outstanding team. They got better as the season went,” Spurrier said. “They lost a very close game to Ohio State. Denard Robinson, I don’t know if we’ve faced a guy quite like him who can throw and run. It will be a heck of a challenge for our team, but we’re looking forward to it.”
South Carolina’s last trip to the Outback Bowl wasn’t exactly a memorable one. The Gamecocks were manhandled by Iowa 31-10 behind Shonn Greene’s 121 yards and three touchdowns rushing.
“Four years ago when we went down there with a 7-5 record, we just got clobbered by Clemson, and we were sort of in disarray,” Spurrier said. “We sort of stunk it up and didn’t play very well. Hopefully we’re a different team. I really believe we’re a different team than we were four years ago.”
The previous two trips, however, were happy times for South Carolina football. Former head coach Lou Holtz led the Gamecocks to back-to-back victories over Ohio State to close the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
Michigan has played in the Outback Bowl four times previously and holds a 3-1 record with the only defeat being to Alabama in 1997. The Wolverines hold victories over Florida, Alabama, and N.C. State.
South Carolina has not yet released a bowl practice schedule for this week or next. According to bowl itinerary, the Gamecocks will practice either at Jesuit or Jefferson High School. The team is set to arrive on December 26 in Tampa, Fla.