Southern Football Report Preseason Top 25 – Team #14




#14 – South Carolina GamecocksSouth Carolina Logo
Columbia, South Carolina
Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
2013 Record: 11-2 (6-2)

The Ole Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, looks to have one of his best teams this season at South Carolina despite losing some star players. The Gamecocks return fifty-eight lettermen from 2013, 2nd most in the SEC, which means they will be one of the most experienced teams in the league in 2014. Senior quarterback Conner Shaw has departed but rising senior Dylan Thompson has waited his turn and did get some significant playing time over the past two season when Shaw was banged up. Over the past three seasons Thompson has thrown for over 18oo yards, 14 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions with a 70% completion percentage. Needless to say, he is a very capable quarterback for Spurrier, with a chance to be the best that Spurrier has had since arriving in Columbia. With all that being said, we all know who the star of the offense will be in 2014; junior running back Mike Davis who rushed for 1183 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013. Davis rushed for over 100 yards seven times in 2013 and looks to build on that in 2014. I expect Davis to have a huge 2014 season. Also returning to Columbia in 2014 will be all of the top wide receivers except for Bruce Ellington (775 yds, 8 TDs). On defense, obviously, the Gamecocks lose their star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney but returning 6 of the 8 top tacklers from 2013 is a good way to keep the defense intact. The Gamecock defense held teams to just over 20 points per game in 2014 and this defense has leaders at every level in JT Surratt on the defensive line, Skai Moore at linebacker and Brison Williams at safety.

Dylan Thompson will be the full-time starter for South Carolina in 2014.
Dylan Thompson will be the full-time starter for South Carolina in 2014.

South Carolina opens the season with three straight home games but all three of the games are against quality opponents (combined record of 27-12) and two are SEC opponents. The Gamecocks look to win their 8th straight season opener versus the Aggies but South Carolina has not opened the season against a conference opponent at home since 1994. The next week, South Carolina welcomes the East Carolina Pirates to Williams-Brice Stadium which will not be a cakewalk as the Pirates won 10 games in 2013. Then in week three, Georgia comes to town in a game that has decided the SEC East division winner in 3 of the last 4 seasons. Steve Spurrier and South Carolina travel to reigning SEC Champion Auburn on October 25th which will be the first of three late season road games. The remaining two road games against Florida and Clemson will be possible pitfalls for the Gamecocks.

South Carolina lost star players from the 2013 squad like Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles and Conner Shaw but as a whole the 2014 team will be beetter. Usually when Steve Spurrier begins speaking louder than all other coaches, it means that he knows that he has a good team. This offseason, the Ole Ball Coach has been one of the loudest voices in the SEC. If the Gamecocks can navigate through their opening month and the tough road games late in the season, I expect South Carolina to be in contention for the SEC East and Spurrier’s first SEC Championship since 2000.

Williams-Brice Stadium
Williams-Brice Stadium

 

Stay logged on to Sowegalive.com for Team #13 on Wednesday and tune in to the Southern Football Report every Saturday from 10am-Noon starting on August 23rd! Here is a hint for Team #13:  This team was known as the Aggies and the ‘Staters’ until someone called them a ‘football factory’ to which is when they were given their current nickname. 

#13 – ?????????????????????
#14 – South Caroline Gamecocks
#15 – Ole Miss Rebels
#16 – Wisconsin Badgers
#17 – Stanford Cardinal
#18 – North Carolina Tar Heels
#19 – Florida Gators
#20 – Texas Longhorns
#21 – Iowa Hawkeyes
#22 – Arizona Wildcats
#23 – Boise State Broncos
#24 – Northwestern Wildcats
#25 – Michigan Wolverines




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