Schedule Breakdown: The Gamecocks can find themselves off to a great start with a week 2 victory at Georgia. Many prognosticators will start to pencil in a 9-0 start and tout South Carolina as the next in line of SEC powers to become National Champions. However, the Gamecocks have a tendency to play up and down to their competition. You can look no further than their game against Vanderbilt to find a potential loss. After playing UCF, there is a stretch of middle to lower tier opponents including Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri. This is what makes the SEC the SEC. The absence of Alabama, Texas A&M, and LSU from the SEC West is a blessing but that advantage is almost lost with their non-conference games against North Carolina and Clemson.
Summary: The Gamecock offense goes as Senior quarterback Connor Shaw takes them. Known for making big plays with both his arm and feet, Shaw is only limited by careless mistakes. But who can blame Shaw when he has “The Ole Ball Coach” playing QB shuffle yearly. With the losses of Ace Sanders and Marcus Lattimore on offense, South Carolina will have to play more ball control. Limiting mistakes will have to be a major emphasis for USC this year. Sanders presence will also be sorely missed on special teams where he was co-SEC Special Teams Player of the year in 2012. On defense, the Gamecocks lose hard hitting safety D.J. Searinger and reliable linebackers Shaq Wilson and Reginald Bowens. However, when you have the leading candidate to be the first pick off the board in the 2014 NFL draft, those losses on defense figure to have minimum impact. I must remind you South Carolina had the 11th ranked defense in 2012. Highlighted by Heisman candidate Jadeveon Clowney, Carolina’s defense will once again be in competition to lead the SEC in sacks. The Gamecocks are fortunate to have such a dominate defensive line that will keep them in most games. It is a real possibility that Spurrier, Clowney and Gamecock Nation could find themselves in a BSC bowl game. Maybe even go to sleep on Christmas Night with dreams of a National Title…if all goes PERFECT!.
Locked in wins: North Carolina, UCF, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Coastal Carolina, Miss State
Locked in losses: Clemson
Toss Up Games: Georgia, Vanderbilt, Florida
Worst case: 8-4
Best Case: 10-2
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- Alabama Crimson Tide
- Arkansas Razorbacks
- Auburn Tigers
- Georgia Bulldogs
- LSU Tigers
- Texas A&M Aggies
- Florida Gators
- Rest of the SEC (Kentucky, Ole Miss, Miss State, Vanderbilt, Missouri)