The Ole Ball coach and the Gamecocks had a solid 2011 season, and are definitely looking forward to improving on that. It won’t be easy though because their schedule is one of the toughest in the SEC, even Steve Spurrier can recognize that. The Gamecocks had two quarterbacks last season, although Connor Shaw emerged as the leader after Stephen Garcia continued to Stephen Garcia. NO MORE STEPHEN GARCIA! I REPEAT, NO MORE STEPHEN GARCIA!
Gamecock fans are happy that Garcia isn’t around to possibly mess something up and Shaw seems like a potentially great SEC starter. Shaw was 123 for 188 last season for a total of 1448 yards and 14 TDs. Shaw is also a decent scrambling quarterback, rushing for 525 yards and 8 TDs, but Shaw won’t have to be the number one running threat for the Gamecocks. Junior running back Marcus Lattimore ran for 818 yards and 10 TDs last season before getting injured. Lattimore is a potential Heisman candidate, if he can stay healthy, and will be the feature in the Gamecock offense.
Why South Carolina should be ranked higher:
The Gamecocks were one game away from winning the SEC East and the SEC Championship. They return a very good quarterback in Connor Shaw, and one of the nations best running backs Marcus Lattimore.
Why South Carolina shouldn’t be ranked higher:
Lost number one wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, but that’s nothing compared to the schedule the Gamecocks face. Georgia, at LSU, at Florida, Tennessee, and Arkansas all back-to-back will be enough to keep the Gamecocks out of the SEC Championship game. South Carolina’s defense was the highest ranked defense you didn’t know about and returns six starters.
Returning Starters: 8 Offensive / 6 Defensive
Best games: Missouri, Georgia, at LSU, Tennessee, Arkansas
2011 Total Offense: 74th
2011 Total Defense: 3rd <- that’s right THIRD
2011 Turnover margin: 30th
Championship odds: 28/1
Projected record: 9 – 3