By LARRY VAUGHT
What’s the mood like in Columbia, S.C., for tonight’s Kentucky-South Carolina football game?
That’s a question I posed to Chris Miller, South Carolina Network pregame and postgame host, on Friday.
“The mood is South Carolina better figure out a way to end that (losing) streak (to Kentucky),” Miller said.
Kentucky has five straight wins over the Gamecocks, including the last two in Columbia. South Carolina is a slight favorite tonight.
Speculation continues that a loss tonight could lead to the dismissal of South Carolina coach Will Muschamp.
“The feeling among fans is that Muschamp better win,” Miller said. “The (South Carolina) AD said on our flagship radio station that he is very happy with Muschamp and stands behind him and knows his best days are ahead.
“He does have a significant buyout (close to $20 million) if he is let go. People were calling for his job a couple of weeks ago when he lost to North Carolina and then again after the loss to Missouri.”
Muschamp is trying to send a message similar to what Mark Stoops did early in his tenure at UK.
“Coach is trying to sell where South Carolina is headed in the SEC and is aiming to be where Georgia and Alabama are,” Miller said. “But you can’t do that if you lose five in a row to Kentucky.
“Despite beating Tennessee three years in a row, they have not found a way to beat Kentucky. They have got to make the plays they have not done against Kentucky the last five years. Kentucky has made those plays, South Carolina has not.”
Miller noted that during Muschamp’s 9-4 year in 2017, South Carolina won six games by a touchdown or less. Since then the Gamecocks are 2-8 in those same type games. The Gamecocks also forced 34 turnovers in 2017 but Miller says “they are not getting those interceptions and fumble recoveries” the last two years.
“They also have got to rush the football. Last week the running backs were non-existent and you can’t expect a true freshman quarterback to put it all on his shoulder. Carolina has to be able to run and make plays to help him,” Miller said.