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South Carolina Gamecocks 2014 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2014-15 Football Previews – (SEC) – Gamecocks

It took a while for the publicized move to pay dividends, but having head coach Steve Spurrier – formerly of Florida Gators fame – patrolling the sideline for South Carolina has been fruitful.

South Carolina Gamecocks

Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
2013 Record: 11-2
South Carolina Gambling Odds to win BCS Championship: 25/1
Futures from sportsbook.ag

Carolina has won 33 games in the past three seasons and it looks slated to once again be in the upper echelon of the SEC.

The Gamecocks will likely be battling Georgia for top spot in the SEC East division, but there’s also the big boys over in the West to contend with. We’ll see how the 2014 edition of Spurrier’s kids handle the task.

“The Ole Ball Coach” and his staff are waving goodbye to several key contributors from last year’s very successful squad, but Carolina has been recruiting in a way that it believes it will weather the change.

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Gone is last year’s starting QB Connor Shaw, who left SC as the winningest starter in school history. There are also some critical defensive players that have departed, least of all this year’s top overall pick in the NFL Draft, DE Jadeveon Clowney. For most programs that would spell a clear rebuild, but Spurrier took several years to cobble together a winning program in Columbia – a big part of that is depth.

Let’s examine the strengths and weaknesses of the 2014 South Carolina Gamecocks.

Team Strengths

The running game should be an absolute force. Junior RB Mike Davis is back after registering 1,183 yards and 11 TDs a year ago. He believes he can be a Heisman Trophy candidate, and with good reason when you look at the offensive line he’ll be running behind.

The O-line should be perhaps the premier unit on the Gamecocks, with four returning starters over 300 lbs and peppered with smart veterans like A.J. Cann and Brandon Shell. The only question mark is the positional battle at center between sophomores Clayton Stadnik (last season’s rather unsteady incumbent) and Cody Waldrop.

Either way, they should open massive holes for Davis.

Also, the offense should be somewhat multi-dimensional. Gone is Shaw, but senior QB Dylan Thompson is familiar with the system and should at least be functional, though he could stand to improve on his career 55% completion rate.

It’ll be made easier with a talented receiver corps led by junior Shaq Roland, senior Damiere Byrd and dynamic athlete Pharoh Cooper.

Defensively, the stars must shine from the LB corps, most notably with speedy sophomore Skai Moore.

Team Weaknesses

It’s impossible that the ‘Cocks won’t miss Clowney and veteran Kelcy Quarles on the defensive line. J.T. Surratt returns, and underclassman DE Gerald Dixon looks encouraging, but it’s going to be a drop-off.
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There’s also some head-scratching in Carolina’s defensive secondary. There will be two new starters at cornerback, with enough worry at that position that standout safety Brison Williams may have to flip over to corner. It should be a revolving door at free safety, which can be a good thing and a bad thing.

Spurrier brought in several exceptional freshmen in the offseason to populate the secondary, but it’s scary that a team looking to win a conference crown like SC is relying so much on green players – especially in an increasingly passing-centric league.

Senior punter Tyler Hull needs to get better; his total and net punting averages dropped in 2013.

Lastly, Thompson has been a great backup to Shaw over the past few seasons, but it won’t cut the mustard as a starter if he fails to make strides in his last year on campus.

2014-15 South Carolina Football Prediction: 10-3

Most college football programs in the country would be envious of South Carolina’s talent. You also can’t argue with averaging 11 wins over the past three years.

Yet, there are departures at some key spots in the modern game, and though you have to like the offensive line and the anticipated dominance of Davis, Carolina may not pass or defend the pass well enough to be considered an SEC champ.

At the very least, the Gamecocks won’t be a fun team for opponents to play in 2014.

2014 Gamecocks Schedule

  • 8/28/14 TEX. A&M
  • 9/6/14 E. CAROLINA
  • 9/13/14 UGA
  • 9/20/14 @ VANDY
  • 9/27/14 MIZZOU
  • 10/4/14 @ KENTUCKY
  • 10/18/14 FURMAN (FCS)
  • 10/25/14 @ AUBURN
  • 11/1/14 TENN
  • 11/15/14 @ FLA
  • 11/22/14 S. ‘BAMA
  • 11/29/14 @ CLEM (Battle for the Palmetto State)

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