Sep 14, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw (14) celebrates a touchdown by a teammate against the Vanderbilt Commodores in the first quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Beating Good Teams, Part 3 of 3: Is South Carolina Still a Big Win?

If Mississippi State is able to knock off #14 South Carolina on the road it would certainly satisfy all those looking for a big win, right? Well, maybe, maybe not.

The Gamecocks are currently 6-2 after their big win over #5 Missouri last week. But if they lose it will be their 3rd loss with games against Florida and Clemson still left on the schedule, not to mention a bowl game. There is a very good likelihood South Carolina’s final record would include as many as 5 losses. If so, would that be the signature win many fans are clamoring for?

In 2009 MSU beat #20 Ole Miss. The Rebs finished the year 9-4 and also ended #20 as well. Still, many don’t qualify this as a signature win despite them beating #10 LSU the week prior. It can be kind of hard since they’re our rival to give them such significance, and with the dismissal of Houston Nutt by their fanbase, but his first two teams were pretty good. At any rate, this doesn’t qualify for many who at the very least are looking for a top 10 or top 15 win.

In 2010 MSU beat Georgia, Florida and Michigan. Ordinarily beating storied programs like that would give you a handful of signature wins but Georgia finished the year 6-7 and Michigan was 7-6 firing Rich Rodriguez after the 52-14 beat-down in the Gator Bowl. Florida is a bit more puzzling since the game was in the Swamp and the Gators were ranked #22 at the time. They had spent six weeks earlier in the year in the top 10, but just like OM who spent three weeks in the top 10 in ’09, their shortfalls on the back half of the schedule led to the view that this was not a signature win.

In 2011 State nearly beat Auburn on the road to end their 15 game winning streak and #15 South Carolina at home. Both ended in narrow defeats however, and the year ended with only mediocre wins.

In 2012, the Dawgs beat Auburn, Tennessee and Arkansas – another year that you would assume gave Mullen a handful of signature wins, however, each of those programs fired their coach at the end of the season as they all fell short of a bowl.

So is South Carolina still a big win? If MSU is able to walk away victorious, will the glory fade if they stumble down the stretch?

I have to say that it is a big win. No matter what South Carolina does from here on out it’s 100% a big win. Here’s what we know:

  • they just beat the #5 team in the BCS
  • they are in the thick of the SEC East race on the first week of November
  • it’s in Columbia, SC
  • we haven’t beaten them since 1999
  • Steve Spurrier is still the coach

Mississippi State has a chance in this game. If they’ll just play well for four quarters (which we haven’t seen in over a month) they can do it. If somehow we do end up with a W, bask in the victory and accept that Mullen has done what we are all looking for – compete and win against a good team. I’ve been as critical of Mullen as anyone, but I’m not going to dismiss this victory (if we are fortunate enough for it to happen) if South Carolina ends the season 8-5 or 7-6.

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