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College Football Preview: #8 South Carolina Gamecocks

At # 8 in the college football pre-season countdown we have the South Carolina Gamecocks led by legendary Head Coach Steve Spurrier. The Gamecocks won a school record 11 games a year ago and look poised to do it again this season.

A big question mark is how will star running back Marcus Lattimore recover from ACL surgery. If he can be what he was pre-injury, the Gamecocks will be a force in the SEC East. With a stellar defense anchored by Jadaveon Clowney and a talented quarterback in Conner Shaw, the ‘Cocks are certainly one of the favorites in the SEC. And when you’re a favorite in the SEC, you’re also a favorite for the National Championship. 

One big question will be a wide receivers where South Carolina lost Alshon Jeffery to the NFL. Jeffery was a force on the outside for USC a year ago, demanding double teams for opposing defenses. Bruce Ellington, the point guard and probably the best player on the Gamecock basketball team, will be one of the starters at wide receiver this fall. He is a very good athlete, but probably a better basketball player than football.

Again the schedule will be rough. South Carolina lost the SEC East a year ago because of losing two games against the Western Division. They swept the East including Georgia. But UGA dodged the three national title contenders for the West during the regular season and won the East going 7-1 while USC went 6-2.

Now that East teams play only two teams from the West, the ‘Cocks couldn’t have done much worse than LSU and Arkansas for their two opponents. Georgia will play Ole Miss and Auburn. Auburn is tough, but Ole Miss is terrible. Florida will face Texas A&M and LSU. So advantage Bulldogs once again.

But South Carolina will also face a tough East schedule as well. They start the season with Vanderbilt, a much improved program over the last few seasons and a team that always seems to give the Gamecocks a fit. That game will be on August 30th on the road in Nashville. Then the Gamecocks face East Carolina and UAB at home before hosting new SEC East foe Missouri the following week.

After the Mizzou game, three of the next four will be on the road when they are at Kentucky, home vs. UGA and at LSU and at Florida on back to back weeks. Then they host Tennessee before finally getting a bye week. After the bye they have Arkansas to finish SEC play, then Wofford and are at Clemson to end the regular season.

Intertops has the over/under on South Carolina’s wins at 8.5. We like the over on this one. The only games they will have a shot to lose in our opinion are Georgia, LSU, Florida and Clemson. So that gives them eight wins already. All they would have to do is win one out of those four and the over wins. We like them to take at least two and maybe three of the four.

 

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Sunday, August 19th, 2012 College Football 2012

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