I’ve never been good with predictions.
In fact, I thought about not doing this for a second, but then decided to, because I thought it would be a little fun to take a look at the South Carolina Gamecocks’ schedule and take a stab at predicting which games would be wins and losses. You’re welcome to agree, disagree, make your own predictions or just make fun of mine in the comment box below.
August 28: Texas A&M: Win
The year 2014 will be different for Texas A&M in that someone other than Johnny Manziel will be calling the signals–and that someone will either be a true freshman or a little-used sophomore. On that alone, I’ll have to chalk this one up as a W for the Gamecocks, unless the Aggies have Johnny Football 2.0 under center–which they won’t.
September 6, East Carolina: Win
The Pirates, playing their first season as a member of The American, is traditionally a high-octane offensive team (38.5 ppg in 2013), but I doubt that they’ll be able to handle the environment Williams-Brice will present.
September 13, Georgia: Win
The frustrating thing for Bulldogs fans is that in their quest for a national championship, there’s always something that gets in the way. In 2012, it was Alabama in the SEC Championship; in 2013, it was, well, a season to forget at 8-5. The Dawgs beat the Gamecocks last year in Athens; I don’t think they’ll be as fortunate this season on the road.
September 20, @ Vanderbilt: Win
Vandy made some strides under James Franklin, but they never beat South Carolina during his tenure. I doubt Derek Mason will be able to end the Commodores’ five game losing streak to the Garnet and Black.
September 27, Mizzou: Win
I originally had this down as a loss, but with most of the team’s offensive weapons either drafted (Henry Josey) or kicked off (Dorial Green-Beckham), that gives Maty Mauk a little too much of a burden to carry on his own.
October 4, @ Kentucky: Win
October 18, Furman: Win
I have no statistical data to give you to make a case against the Gamecocks beating the Paladins, other than the fact that SC is 21-2 against FCS teams since the NCAA moved to the I-A/I-AA format in 1978.
October 25, @ Auburn: Loss
The Tigers are trending upward under Gus Malzahn, and that will continue in 2014. I’ll have to chalk this one up to Auburn, especially with an older, more experience Nick Marshall running the offense.
November 1, Tennessee: Win
Year two of the Butch Jones era will see Vols fans hoping for something better than the 5-7 mark they put up last season. While that’s still up in the air, I’m not sure they have the firepower yet to challenge for a division title.
November 15, @ Florida: Win
The Gators are going through a rough patch down in Gainesville. And while there may be an “o” in Florida and an “o” in Gators, there hasn’t been much “o” on the field when they suit up (18.8 ppt in 2013). Should be a Gamecocks win despite Will Muschamp coaching for his job in 2014.
November 22, South Alabama: Win
Again, no statistical data to give you to make a case for or against, except that the Jaguars play in the Sun Belt, which isn’t exactly in the upper echelon of FBS conferences.
November 29, @ Clemson: Win
This one is a tricky one especially given Clemson’s steady rise under Dabo Swinney. However, the Tigers haven’t beaten the Gamecocks in their last five match ups. Something tells me it will be six in a row by the end of this one.
Final Record–11-1, 8-1 SEC (7-0 SEC East): If things fall the way they’ve been predicted above, the Gamecocks will punch their ticket to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, where–depending on who’s on the other side–they may find themselves in the catbird’s seat for a spot in the College Football Playoff regardless of the outcome.
But I could be completely wrong.