South Carolina Football: ESPN predicts the Gamecocks' 2024 record

South Carolina football has one of the highest "win variances" in college football records projections this offense, but ESPN predicts a 6-6 mark for USC.
South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer
South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer / ALEX HICKS JR./STAFF / USA TODAY NETWORK

The time between spring practice and fall camp is commonly referred to as "talking season" around college football. Former South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier is credited by many for coining the term (and even if he didn't come up with it, he might as well get credit for it as the greatest talker in the history of college football), but the idea of the phrase stems from the fact that there isn't much real football to discuss, so all fans and analysts of the sport can only spend this portion of the offseason talking.

Most of the talking comes in the form of offseason predictions. Picking which players will will compete for the Heisman Trophy, which teams will make the College Football Playoff, and how the next season will play out for all 134 Division-I FBS programs are routine talking points that fill the summer with more anticipation for games starting in the fall.

ESPN, the "worldwide leader in sports," releases an offseason FPI (Football Power Index) that predicts every team's record and ranks each unit 1-134 (Sorry, Kent State Golden Flashes). ESPN published their summer installment of the 2024 FPI this week, and the prediction for the Gamecocks sits about where one would expect.

With USC seeing their 2024 record projected anywhere between 4-8 or 8-4 by most outlets, ESPN split the difference and tabbed the Gamecocks for a 6-6 mark this fall. Even with that less-than-stellar record, ESPN ranks South Carolina football as the 33rd-best team in the country.

33rd nationally is only good for 12th in the SEC, though, as the Georgia Bulldogs (1), Texas Longhorns (3), Alabama Crimson Tide (5), Oklahoma Sooners (8), Tennessee Volunteers (9), Missouri Tigers (10), LSU Tigers (13), Texas A&M Aggies (14), Ole Miss Rebels (16), Auburn Tigers (19), and Florida Gators (20) all rank ahead of Carolina. The rival Clemson Tigers (15) also are ranked higher.

One opponent on the Gamecocks' 2024 schedule has a similar projection to Shane Beamer's team, and the matchup happens early in the year. In week 2, South Carolina will travel to Lexington, Kentucky to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Both teams are projected for 6-6 (6.0-6.0) records according to the model, and USC is ranked one spot ahead of UK. The week 2 meeting between the two teams will be tremendously important for the directions of each team's season.

FPI rankings can be hard to follow at times. For example, Florida is predicted to share a 6-6 record with the Gamecocks (actually, a little worse at 5.9-6.1 compared to USC's 6.0-6.0) and, according to the model, has a lower-percentage chance to reach the 6-win threshold. Yet, the Gators are ranked 13 spots higher.

Strength of schedule does play a factor in the rankings as evidenced by a projected 7.5-4.6 North Carolina Tar Heels squad being ranked in the 40s as the lowest-ranked team from a power program predicted to win that many games.

The 2024 Gamecocks will play against 7 teams in the regular season with a higher FPI ranking. They will play against 5 that are lower, but one (Kentucky) has the exact same projected record and is just one spot lower in the ranking.

The entire South Carolina football schedule and those teams' ESPN FPI predictions are listed below:

Old Dominion Monarchs: 4.2-7.8, ranked 108th
@ Kentucky Wildcats: 6.0-6.0, ranked 34th
LSU Tigers: 7.9-4.2, ranked 13th
Akron Zips: 4.5-7.6, ranked 128th
Ole Miss Rebels: 7.9-4.2, ranked 16th
@ Alabama Crimson Tide: 9.3-3.0, ranked 5th
@ Oklahoma Sooners: 8.2-3.9, ranked 8th
Texas A&M Aggies: 7.6-4.5, ranked 14th
@ Vanderbilt Commodores: 4.0-8.0, ranked 76th
Missouri Tigers: 9.0-3.2, ranked 10th
Wofford Terriers: FCS teams not included
@ Clemson Tigers: 8.5-3.8, ranked 15th

*Because of the nature of rounding and the added predictions of conference championships and the College Football Playoff, some win-loss numbers will add up to game totals other than 12.0

Next. South Carolina Football: Gamecocks' all-time record against every 2024 opponent. South Carolina Football: Gamecocks' all-time record against every 2024 opponent. dark