no offense taken, anyways, im not far from a n00b.
i think it definitely can be hard to pair, and certainly should not be a first or second or third.... SC, but it depends on the jacket and what you are wearing with it. also, i think that group think already knocks it down a peg and peoples knee jerk is to dislike it.
for example, the gray herringbone jacket i posted with chinos a few weeks ago, i think is superb for summer casual tan/beige/blue chinos, and i think its pretty easy to use. this jacket however, is not easy at all to use. its a shade of gray that is not really light but also not really dark, making it hard to contrast against other gray trousers. but with the right brown trousers, i think it really would be great.
a darker gray SC however, or one with a large POW, are not necessarily all that had to use.
lastly, in all the applications ive used it in, i dont think any were flat bad, just not optimal for what one might want in a contrast. however, not all fits can be perfect, and i like the jackets style, so if that means when i wear it it may not be juuuust right with the trousers, thats worth it for me.
Yeah, I definitely wasn't calling you a n00b, was just talking about the broader grey-SC topic
Black/white herringbone (i.e. Harris Tweed) is definitely the big exception here. It works well though because it is so obviously rustic that it pairs well with chinos or khaki-colored pents. A more refined grey SC is much harder.
FWIW, I like your SC, I just think it's pretty hard to pair. More refined grey is hard--you can't really get adequate contrast against grey pents unless it's very light or very dark, but against brown pents the formality levels can be off. Were I going to do a grey SC (other than the Harris tweed example, which I actually do want), I'd go with a large pattern PoW like you mentioned, it seems like the best option, so long as the scale is large enough and styling such that it is clearly not an orphan suit jacket. Maybe in a linen blend as a summer SC.