School: Founded in 1801 as South Carolina College, the University of South Carolina is the flagship institution of the University of South Carolina System. The University of South Carolina has an enrollment of approximately 47,724 students, with 32,848 on the main Columbia campus as of fall 2013.
Mascot: Cocky (are you surprised?)
Location: Armpit of the South
Head Coach: See mascot
2014 record: 7-6
Celebrity Fans/Alumni: Darius Rucker, aka Hootie.
SBN Preview: From Bill C here
SBN Site: Garnett and Black Attack
This is when the fun begins. After getting a pair of should be wins out of the way, Georgia welcomes South Carolina on September 19th for a 6 p.m. ESPN kickoff. This is a rivalry game, at least to half of those involved, and Georgia has long had issues overcoming teams lead by Stephen Orr Spurrier. South Carolina has had the upper hand in this game of late, so getting a win at home is pretty critical for Georgia keeping their hopes for the season high in September.
And to be honest, we don't really know what to expect from the Gamecocks, except them to come out wanting to win badly, with a head coach willing to pull out whatever he can to get a W and with likely a very good offensive game plan. Whether Jeremy Pruitt can stop him, or we decide to give the ball to our best man with the ball when sitting with a chance to win close to our opponents' end zone, remains to be seen.
What will be seen is likely Pharoh Cooper with the ball in his hands. The dynamic playmaker for the Gamecocks will likely see action at running back, wide receiver, kick returner, and wildcat QB. As for who else sees the bulk of the ball, we can guess Connor Mitch at QB though he's yet to seal the job. A big pocket passer type, he'll hold off a pair of freshman for the job he's been groomed to take for the last three years.
The Gamecocks lost starting rusher Mike Davis, and while Brandon Wilds has had productive spot duty in the past, and David Williams has all the tools, it remains to be seen if Spurrier has the rushing attack we've come to know from our eastern border conference counterparts with recent stars Davis and Lattimore carrying the load. Wide receiver is also going to be filled with guys who have little experience in SEC action, aside from Cooper. So the playmakers Spurrier will rely on to run his always productive offense are unknown, but we can bank on Spurrier to make them known against us.
The offensive line also lost long time stalwarts in AJ Cann and Corey Robinson, but still have Brandon Shell, as a future NFL piece at one tackle spot, and return guys with starting experience at all the other OL jobs. If Spurrier is going to score, it is because these guys can hold the line of scrimmage to give Mitch time, and their rushers space.
But as said, this is Spurrier we're talking about, so we all assume the offense will be just fine. The problem last year though was their defense. They allowed over 30 points in seven games last year, including 45 to Kentucky and Tennessee. They generated no pass rush, and had poor pass coverage, which led to a lot of disaster.
Their LBs return some good quality, and their secondary returns mostly in tact to have improved with experience. But while the back 7 looks strong on paper, they'll only play strong on the field with a solid front four.
Several highly rated JUCO DL were brought in last February to provide immediate help, and after a year to get his academics in order, elite DE Dante Sawyer will be on campus. Shameik Blackshear gives them another elite prep pass rusher to add to the mix of new faces hoping to come up with more of a push into opposing backfields than last year saw once Clowney, Quarles, and Sutton left for the pros.
Special teams should be solid with Cooper returning kicks, and senior Landon Ard back to kick, and former Florida Atlantic punter Sean Kelly having transferred in to take over those duties. And if we're looking for a way Georgia might loose this game, this is the most obvious area to stare at.
Suffice it to say, this game could be a huge litmus test for Georgia. There are a lot of unknowns with South Carolina coming in to the year. And the one known is a head coach that has routinely handed us an L over the last 25 years. On paper, this looks like a game Georgia should not only win, but win easily. But games aren't played on paper, and Spurrier will have his boys ready to ruin another lovely fall day in Athens.
And you know Spurrier would love to have a W against the Dawgs in his final season before retiring.