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Predicting the 2013 SEC Football Season: South Carolina Gamecocks

With less than 55 days until the college football season begins, it's never too early to look at the 2013 football schedules and make wild blind predictions.

Al Messerschmidt

The ninth in a series leading up to fall camps brings us to the soap opera that is Columbia, SC (All My Clowneys, As the Visor Turns, The Young and the Lattimore-less):

South Carolina Gamecocks 11-2 (6-2) in 2012

Synopsis: Unless you are living under Howard's Rock, you have heard of this Clowney guy. He is an All-American defensive end but can he play all 11 spots on defense at once? The Gamecocks have lost four of their five top tacklers, including four proven linebackers with no clear successors in sight. ~ What will life be after Marcus Lattimore? Back-up Kenny Miles is gone as well, leaving the running duties to sophomores Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds (who sat out the 2012 season as a redshirt after suffering a high ankle sprain). ~ It wouldn't be a Steve Spurrier team if there wasn't a QB controversy. Senior Connor Shaw battles junior Dylan Thompson for time under center. Shaw seemingly has the edge but who knows with Coach Crazy at the helm. ~ FYI: According to the official SC roster, this team has exactly 4 seniors (Shaw, RG Ronald Patrick, CB Jimmy Legree, and WR David Wilkins who came over from the track team and is buried in the depth chart).

Key Losses: SS D.J. Swearinger, WR Ace Sanders, RB Marcus Lattimore, DE Devin Taylor, LB DeVonte Holloman, C T.J. Johnson, TE Justice Cunningham, LB Shaq Wilson

Key Returners: DL Jadeveon Clowney, OT Brandon Shell (nephew of former Raiders coach & Hall of Fame tackle Art Shell), 2-headed QB Monster Connor Shaw/Dylan Thompson, WR Bruce Ellington

Newcomers: LB Larenz Bryant, DT Kelsey Griffin, ATH Pharoh Cooper, QB Connor Mitch

The Schedule:

08/29/13 vs. North Carolina (Columbia, SC) - Win
09/07/13 at Georgia (Athens, GA) - Loss
09/14/13 vs. Vanderbilt (Columbia, SC) - Trap game? This could get interesting - Win
09/21/13 bye
09/28/13 at UCF (Orlando, FL) - The only reason I can figure Spurrier scheduled this road game is so he can play some golf – Win
10/05/13 vs. Kentucky (Columbia, SC) - Win
10/12/13 at Arkansas (Fayetteville, Ark) - Win
10/19/13 at Tennessee (Knoxville, TN) - Win
10/26/13 at Missouri (Columbia, MO) - Win
11/02/13 vs. Mississippi State (Columbia, SC) - possible trap game. If SC gets complacent and looks ahead, it could be trouble - Win
11/09/13 bye
11/16/13 vs. Florida (Columbia, SC) - Loss
11/23/13 vs. Coastal Carolina (Columbia, SC) - Win
11/30/13 vs. Clemson (Columbia, SC) - This could go either way. Gun to my head, I say - Win

Let's go Bowling! "EAT MOR CHIKIN" - Chick-fil-A Bowl

* This just does not feel like a 10-win team but there it is. No Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU, or Ole Miss. North Carolina, Clemson, and Mississippi State are all home games.