By Willie T. Smith
The Greenville News
COLUMBIA - Steve Spurrier entered the press room following South Carolina's 31-17 win over in-state rival Clemson with an apology.
"Sorry I'm late, but I had to get that Gatorade out of my hair and clothes," he said. "You're not supposed to do that unless you win a bowl game."
With a 10-2 record and a ranking of seventh nationally in the USA Today Coaches poll, the Gamecocks are assured of a postseason game. Where that will be is anyone's guess.
Several upsets Saturday - the most noticeable being Auburn's wild win over Alabama - left many possibilities open for USC. About the only thing that appears safe to say is the Gamecocks will not be playing in a BCS Bowl.
The Southeastern Conference champion, either Auburn or Missouri, will represent the league in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama, which was ranked number one in the nation throughout the season prior to Saturday's loss to Auburn, is also virtually assured to garner a BCS bid.
The Crimson Tide could find themselves in Fort Lauderdale in the Orange Bowl, potentially against Clemson.
That leaves USC battling several other teams for the best of the remaining bowls. It appears The Chic-fil-A Bowl would love to have the Gamecocks, potentially pairing them against Duke. That would allow a storyline of Spurrier going against the team that revived his coaching career.
He still speaks fondly of his time coaching the Blue Devils.
USC might not make it that far, however. The Capital One and Outback Bowls will choose before the Chic-fil-A with the Capital One going first.
While the Gamecocks would make a good fit in the Capital One Bowl, it will probably select Auburn if it loses to Missouri in the SEC Championship Game.
An Auburn win in the game could result in USC travelling to Orlando.
Topping Nebraska in the 2012 edition of the game along with likely ending up being ranked eighth or higher would make the Gamecocks attractive to the bowl.
The same could be said of the Outback Bowl but with USC playing in it last season, the Outback might want to bring a different school to town.
An intriguing scenario could be The AT&T Cotton Bowl. While the bowl normally selects an SEC team from the Western Division, it may opt for the Gamecocks since Texas A&M now has four losses.
While representatives from the bowl are saying the right things, it will be interesting to see if they seriously consider an Eastern Division squad.
While South Carolina will not know for sure where they will spend the holidays until Sunday, it's a strong bet the Gamecocks will receive a lot of attention.