The South Carolina football team isn’t trekking very far this holiday season.
USC will play North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 30 to cap off the Gamecocks’ first season under Shane Beamer The game is played at Bank of America Stadium.
South Carolina has not played in a bowl game since hitting the six-win bowl eligibility threshold during a 7-6 2018 season — Will Muschamp’s third season in Columbia.
USC was slotted to play in the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa, Florida last year against UAB, but COVID-19 issues within the Gamecocks program forced the game to be canceled.
South Carolina has ample recent history playing games in Charlotte. USC lost the 2018 Belk Bowl to Virginia at Bank of America Stadium. It has also played neutral site games in Charlotte four times since 2010.
USC will play North Carolina in Charlotte to open the 2023 season.
South Carolina finished the 2021 campaign 6-6 with wins over Florida and Auburn. USC dropped its season finale last week to in-state rival Clemson 30-0. The loss marked Clemson’s seventh consecutive win in the series — the longest such stretch in the rivalry’s history.
Beamer was hired to replace Muschamp in December of 2020. He also becomes the third South Carolina coach in a row to reach bowl eligibility in his first season at the helm after both Muschamp and Spurrier did so in their first years in charge.
The last first-year head coach to miss a bowl game at South Carolina was Lou Holtz, who finished the 1999 campaign 0-11. Holtz then took the Gamecocks to back-to-back Outback bowls the following two seasons with a combined record of 17-7.
With a win, Beamer would become the first South Carolina coach to win a bowl game in his first year in charge since Brad Scott’s team went 7-5 and won the 1995 Carquest Bowl over West Virginia in Orlando, Florida.
North Carolina began the season ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press’ preseason poll before struggling to a 6-6 record.
South Carolina and North Carolina have played four times in the last 15 years. The Gamecocks own a 3-1 edge in the recent series, but dropped the last meeting in 2019 when the Tar Heels took home a 24-20 win.
South Carolina’s last 10 bowl trips
2018 Belk Bowl — Virginia 28, South Carolina 0
2017 Outback Bowl — South Carolina 26, Michigan 19
2016 Birmingham Bowl — South Florida 46, South Carolina 39, OT
2014 Independence Bowl — South Carolina 24, Miami (FL) 21
2013 Capitol One Bowl — South Carolina 34, Wisconsin 24
2012 Outback Bowl — South Carolina 33, Michigan 28
2011 Capitol One Bowl — South Carolina 30, Nebraska 13
2010 Chick-fil-a Bowl — Florida State 20, South Carolina 17
2009 PapaJohns.com Bowl — Connecticut 20, South Carolina 7
2008 Outback Bowl — Iowa 30, South Carolina 10