COLUMBIA -- Over the course of what he calls a frustrating year, South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp's response when asked about his team's struggles has been consistent and focuses not on this year but the body of work over the last three.
"We've had more success than any staff in its first three years at the University of South Carolina. We've won as many games in the Southeastern Conference as any staff at the University of South Carolina," he said Saturday. "And I'm not happy with that, but I'm saying there is positive progress for us to at least latch on to."
But Muschamp just finished up year four and year four finished 4-8, a low point of his time record-wise.
Muschamp has compared his program to other head coaches' tenures this year, so this is how his program stacks up with three other regimes since the Gamecocks joined the SEC.
In terms of just year four, Muschamp is 4-8 (3-5 SEC), which is the lowest win total of any of the last four coaches in their fourth year at South Carolina dating back to the Brad Scott era.
Scott finished year four at 5-6 with three SEC wins, while Lou Holtz was 5-7 (3-5 SEC). Steve Spurrier had the best year four of any of the coaches, going 7-6 (4-4 SEC) with a trip to the Outback Bowl.
After four seasons, Will Muschamp is 26-25 and 15-17 in the SEC, which are the second-highest total wins by a staff after four seasons and tied for the most SEC wins.
Spurrier finished his fourth year at 28-22 and 15-17 in conference as well. Both Scott and Holtz had either .500 or worse records through four seasons.
Scott was 22-22-1 (13-18-1 SEC) while Holtz was 22-25 and 13-19 in the SEC; Holtz started his career at South Carolina 0-11 before going 22-14 over his next three years.
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Through four seasons, Muschamp is 2-13 against ranked opponents — a .133 win percentage — with those two wins coming against No. 18 Tennessee in 2016 and at No. 3 Georgia this season.
Spurrier was 5-12 against ranked opponents (.294 win percentage) with his best ranked win coming against No. 8 Kentucky. Spurrier also had two other wins over top 15 programs in his first four years.
Holtz was 6-13 (.316) against ranked opponents while Scott finished year four at 1-10-1 against teams in the top 25.
Holtz's best win was against No. 9 Georgia, while Scott's only ranked win came in 1996 at No. 22 Clemson.
In terms of postseason play, Muschamp was right in saying he was the only Gamecock coach to take his team to a bowl game in his first three seasons at the helm, but the Gamecocks won't be going to the postseason this year.
That means he and Spurrier are the only two coaches to reach the postseason in three of their first four seasons.
Muschamp is currently 1-2 in bowl games with the lone win against Michigan in the Outback Bowl as part of a nine-win 2017 campaign.
Spurrier was also 1-2 in bowls, losing the Independence Bowl to Missouri and the Outback to Iowa but beating Houston in the Liberty Bowl his second year.
Holtz only made two bowl games in his first four seasons but won both of them — two wins over ranked Ohio State teams in the Outback Bowl — while Scott won the Carquest Bowl by beating West Virginia his first season and didn't make it back to the postseason after that.
Muschamp is 0-4 against arch rival Clemson, the only one of the last four coaches to not have a win over the Tigers in his first four years: Scott was 2-2 while Holtz and Spurrier were both 1-3.
The Gamecocks ended their 2019 season on a three-game losing streak, the longest winless stretch of the Muschamp era, and changes are coming to the program.
Muschamp said as much after Saturday's game, although he didn't specify what those changes would be.