SEC SCHEDULE BREAKDOWN: SOUTH CAROLINA
Counting down to kickoff, team by team in the SEC
This week continues our schedule breakdown and recorded predictions for each team in the SEC. I will breakdown each schools schedule and give his take on where they wind up finishing in the league and what their pre-bowl game record will be.
Welcome back everyone to the SEC schedule breakdown, we get things started off
this week with the team I think will finish No. 12 in the SEC this year.
The pick: South Carolina
League Finish: 12th
Division Finish: 6th
SEC Record: 1-7
Overall Record: 3-9
Bowl Game: none
Determining how good or bad the Gamecocks will be in 2016 is one of the more
difficult things to predict this season. Will Muschamp takes over for coaching
ledged Steve Spurrier and the cupboard is pretty bare in Columbia.
One of the first things Muschamp must do is pick a quarterback. Lorenzo Nunez
(SO) and Perry Orth (RS SR) should be two of the top choices for Muschamp, but
Brandon Mcllwain (FR) will get a shot.
The defense much like the offense will be interesting to watch early. Both sides of
the ball will be replacing starters and the Gamecocks will need to find a new
weapon to replace Pharoh Cooper.
The Gamecocks will be interesting to watch for several reasons. There is a ton of
mystery around the program this year and while that could help them get win or
two they shouldn’t.
I still think they miss a bowl game in year one of the Muschamp era.
Week one South Carolina @ Vanderbilt. Thu, Sept. 1st
The Gamecocks and Commodores square off in and SEC East showdown in week one.
This one is pretty simple to pick, there is a very good chance South
Carolina isn’t set at QB entering week one or could be using a two QB system.
This will play right into the hands of what will be one of the nation’s best
defensive units. Vandy wins thanks to its smothering defense.
Week two South Carolina @ Mississippi State. Sat, Sept. 10th
Things don’t get any easier for the Gamecocks in week two as they take on
the Bulldogs. While the State will take a step backwards in 2016, they still have the
better roster and coach. This one could be close late and that favors Miss St. and
Dan Mullen. He is not only the proven coach, but Mullen is just flat-out a better
coach than Muschamp. State wins this one thanks to better coaching.
Week three South Carolina vs. East Carolina. Sat, Sept. 17th
Finally, the Gamecocks get a home game and step away from SEC play. If
this was last year the pick would hands down be ECU, but this is 2016. Things
have changed and this should be a close one in week three. In a must win game the
crowed in Columbia could be the difference. The fact that this one is a home game
gives USC the win, in what could be a nail biter.
Week four South Carolina @ Kentucky. Sat, Sept. 24th
Two teams that will be braking in a new quarterback and looking for their
first SEC win of the season. This could be one of the most entertaining game of the
season, as the Gamecocks and Wildcats should be two of the closest matched
teams in the east division. I’m giving the Gamecocks the slight edge in this one
due to the mystery around USC this season.
Week five South Carolina vs. Texas A&M. Sat, Oct. 1st
The month of October doesn’t start easy for South Carolina. Texas A&M is
the better team and once again has the better coach. With four games to scout the
Gamecocks under Muschamp a lot of their mystery could be gone. With the
element of surprise gone for the Gamecocks, plus facing the best QB they will see
in the first half of the season spells trouble for USC. Trevor Knight and Kevin
Sumlin lead the Aggies to victory in week five. South Carolina starts SEC play
1-3 in the Muschamp era.
Week six South Carolina vs. Georgia. Sat, Oct. 8th
Once again this is a case where the Gamecocks just don’t have as much
talent as their opponents. The Dogs should have both Sony Michel and Nick
Chubb back at full health. That means we could see the debut of freshmen QB
Despite who is under center for the Dogs, their running backs will be too much for
South Carolina to handle. Dogs win by running all over the Gamecocks.
Week eight South Carolina vs. UMass. Sat, Oct. 22nd
South Carolina should be looking for its second win of the season and
something positive to build on going forward under first year coach Will
Muschamp. They should find several positives verse UMass and it should be one
of the few games all year USC has the better roster. The Gamecocks get a much
needed win heading in to the second half of the season.
Week nine South Carolina vs. Tennessee. Sat, Oct. 29th
Once again the Gamecocks end the month of October with a game verse the
Vols. While they had the better roster in the matchup with UMass that won’t be the
case when the Big Orange come to town. Butch Jones has owned the Gamecocks
since his arrival on Rocky Top. He has led the Vols to three straight wins verses
South Carolina and while his record against Muschamp may not be as good, the
Vols should get their fourth straight win over USC. Once again the South Carolina
defense will get run all over, but while the last three matchups between the two
have been close this one will be a blow out for the boys from Tennessee.
Week ten South Carolina vs. Missouri. Sat, Nov. 5th
This will be the last SEC home game for Muschamp in year one in
Columbia and he will still be looking for that first SEC home win. This one is a
tossup and a swing game for USC. However, this game is right before Florida
week and it should be filled with questions about the Gators. While this one is a
winnable game for USC, the week could be filled with distractions and that favors
the Tigers. In a matchup of two first year head coaches both trying to replace a
ledged only one can pick up the win in the Battle for Columbia. Barry Odom picks
up the win thanks to his defense.
Week eleven South Carolina @ Florida. Sat, Nov. 12th
The much anticipated return of Will Muschamp to ‘The Swamp’ finally has
arrived. While the distractions of this game could cost the Gamecocks a win over
Missouri, it won’t be distractions that beat South Carolina this week. Florida is
simply the better team and Muschamp losses his return to Gainesville.
Week twelve South Carolina vs. Western Carolina. Sat, Nov. 19th
The Gamecocks take on the Catamounts and just like with the game versus
save the season, but could help build the program back towards where it was at one
point under Spurrier. South Carolina should get a win and it will be one where we
could see a glance at the future for USC under Muschamp.
Week thirteen South Carolina @ Clemson. Sat, Nov. 26th
The Gamecocks won’t be going bowling in Muschamp’s first year and won’t
have a great record either. They should enter the season’s final week with a 4-7
record. A victory over your in state rival would make the season seem like a much
bigger success than a one win SEC season. While a win over the Tigers would do
wonders for Muschamp and the Gamecocks it won’t come this season. The Tigers
should be cruising towards a possible repeat run for the National Title and simply
just have to much talent for Muschamp to get his first win in the rivalry this year.
With a ceiling of 5-7 and a basement of 2-10 it could be a wild year for Will
Muschamp in year one. If the breaks go their way, it is not totally unrealistic to see
the Gamecocks going bowling as a 5-7 team. However, more than likely it will be
a struggle for the Gamecocks to start this new era.
They simply don’t have the talent to compete with most of the teams on their
schedule. Only time will tell if they can pull off an upset or two in year one of
Muschamp’s time in Columbia.
South Carolina should be able to get back to bowl trips every year under
Muschamp in the future. One thing that is for sure is that Muschamp can get
recruits to come to South Carolina, but he will need time to build the program back
Stay tuned for my choice to finish 11th in the SEC in 2016 later this week.