South Carolina football: 5 bold predictions for 2021 season

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5 predictions for South Carolina football.

The South Carolina football season will soon be upon us, with the home opener just three months away. Shane Beamer is leading the Gamecocks into his first campaign as a head coach, and he’s looking to improve on a disastrous 2-8 output from 2020.

The Gamecocks have some pieces in place to make some noise in the conference, though no one is predicting that they’ll win the SEC. Judgement on Beamer’s first year in Columbia will largely be based upon growth, and the possibility of sneaking into a bowl game for the first time since 2018.

Back is leading rusher Kevin Harris, starting quarterback Luke Doty, and a strong line across the offensive front. This group will be asked to produce, and produce quickly, as the Gamecocks are a bit thin on defense.

Coach Beamer brought in a handful of transfers to bolster that thin defensive unit, including the nation’s reigning sack leader in Jordan Strachan. Those newcomers will hope to improve a group that allowed more than 450 yards and 36 points a game last season.

Can the Gamecocks take a step forward in 2021? Here are five bold predictions for the upcoming season.

1. South Carolina will upset a top 15 team

The Gamecocks face one of the nation’s tougher schedules, and could see as many as five top 15 foes on the slate. Those teams include Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, and Texas A&M. South Carolina took down a ranked Auburn team in 2020, and a top five Georgia squad in 2019. Will the trend continue?

The opportunity will certainly be there, and our best bets for an upset are in home contests with Florida and Auburn. The Gators lost a ton of talent on offense, and will have to replace 4,000-yard passer Kyle Trask under center. South Carolina has played Florida tough in each of the last eight seasons, posting a 3-5 overall record. None of those outcomes have come by more than two scores, and the Gamecocks have held late leads in two of the last three meetings.

Auburn is going through a coaching transition, and could experience a letdown in Bryan Harsin’s first year. South Carolina picked up their first win over the Tigers since the 1930s last year, and five of the last six meetings have been decided by one score or less. A late season upset could be looming come November.

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