Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the South Carolina Gamecocks season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: South Carolina Gamecocks
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– South Carolina Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
If a team goes 9-4 and no one hears it, did the season really happen?
It’s hard for South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp to get a whole lot of national love – if any – partly because there’s no real star power, and partly because it’s hard to get fired up about a team that scored 17 points or fewer in six of its last 11 games.
The Muschamp no-flash, no-glitz style of aggressive defense, opportunistic offense, and good special teams is good enough to hang around and beat just about anyone, but it also manages to keep both teams in the game, and …
Whatever. The Gamecocks went 9-4.
South Carolina shouldn’t have lost at home to Kentucky, and there’s no real excuse for losing to last year’s Texas A&M team. There were too many fights, too many struggles, and too many rough performances in tight battles.
But good luck trying to figure out how the Gamecocks got by NC State in the opener, and you’re forgiven if you turned away from the Outback Bowl vs. Michigan before the late comeback.
South Carolina’s offense was one of the worst in the SEC, there wasn’t enough of a downfield passing game, the pass rush was mediocre, and the O was the third-worst in the conference when it came to third down conversions.
There weren’t enough first downs, there were too many first downs allowed, the rushing game didn’t work, there were a few too many interceptions, and …
Again, whatever. 9-4.
But now comes the interesting test for the Muschamp era. South Carolina benefitted from a down Florida, a miserable Tennessee, and not having to play Alabama, Auburn or LSU from the West. But this year, even with an improved SEC East, the Gamecocks should be far better, and maybe even more interesting and exciting.
The offense isn’t going to blow up and start cranking up a high-powered, hurry-up spread thing, but it’ll open it up a little more and come out of its shell.
And why not? Jake Bentley is a strong veteran quarterback, Deebo Samuel is back as part of a loaded receiving corps, and the ground game should be even stronger with a strong rotation to balance things out a bit.
There aren’t any superstars on the defensive side, but it’s a Will Muschamp team – it’ll be fine. The D that was so good at taking the ball away – it led the SEC – has to replace a few good defensive backs, and not having LB Skai Moore around is a problem, but the no-name group will get the job done.
So there might be more offense, and there might be more from the defense, and there might even be more shocking wins – watch out, Georgia, in that season-opener. And there will be a little more pizzazz.
But as long as the Gamecocks win at least nine games again, they’ll be loud enough.