Maestro, if you will:
Football is getting closer and closer, and one of the best indicators of this is SB Nation's Bill Connelly's avalanche of college football previews. Today Bill dissects the South Carolina Gamecocks, and the results are intriguing. As Bill notes, the Sporting News has ranked South Carolina # 3 to start the year, which seems a bit high for a team replacing Marcus Lattimore (and 3 of its other 5 running backs), its top 5 linebackers, special teams weapon Ace Sanders, and defensive end Devin Taylor, the guy whose disruptive skills went a long way toward helping Jadeveon Clowney have the breakout year he enjoyed in 2012. They also still have to keep Connor Shaw healthy behind an offensive line that's short on experience behind the starting 5.
South Carolina, in other words, has about as many holes as Georgia, except with less experience on the offensive line, less proven depth at tailback, and plus a giant man eating defensive end. Bear in mind, the number of college football teams which have won national titles on the back of a singularly talented player is pretty small. Perhaps the 2005 Texas squad led by Vince Young. But I think the odds are way better of the Gamecocks' thin roster leading to some late season struggles.This will be a team likely to start 2 seniors on defense (DE Chaz Sutton and DT Kelcy Quarles) and 2 on offense (Connor Shaw and guard Ron Patrick). When you're that young to begin with you're really only 2-3 injuries away from watching a bunch of freshmen take their lumps during the meat of the SEC schedule. And if there's any team with a recent history of significant injuries, it's the Gamecocks.
All that being said, Spurrier's boys should be favored in every contest between their September 7 trip to Sanford Stadium and Florida's November 16 trip to Williams-Brice, and they might be favored in those match ups as well. I'm not as encyclopedic a football mind as Bill C. (hell, who is?) but I envision the Gamecocks going 9-3 with losses to either Georgia or Florida, one of the 3 teams (Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee) that they play on the road in October, and finally Clemson on November 30. If either Georgia or Florida slips up in the wrong contests, the tie breakers could fall the Palmetto State Poultry's way, and they could end up in Atlanta. But if that happens it won't be because Jadeveon Clowney carried them there. It will be because some of the less experienced 'Cocks rose to the occasion. Until later . . .