The Game: South Carolina vs. Southern Miss
Date: September 2
The Setup: Agentgate this off season; South Carolina vs. Georgia, September 11
South Carolina is not as trendy of a team as Arkansas and Auburn are this year, as it has been left out of the two main polls. Even so, most folks believe that the Gamecocks will not get as good a chance at winning the SEC East as they have this season. Florida lost a lot of talent and turned over its defensive coordinator. Georgia is transitioning to a new defensive scheme and starts a freshman quarterback. Tennessee has fallen to pieces. Now is as good a time as any to make a move.
If South Carolina is to challenge for the divisional crown, the SEC opener against Georgia in Week 2 is crucial. The Gamecocks will want to be on the positive side of as many tie breakers as possible, and with Florida and Alabama both on the schedule, a loss to UGA would be a big blow early.
In other words, South Carolina has to be careful about looking past Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles possess a knack for knocking BCS conference teams off, and Larry Fedora is a sharp coach who has worked in the SEC before as a coordinator. Combine the look-ahead potential with distractions from Weslye Saunders and Agentgate, and you've got a dangerous game.
South Carolina looked terrible in its last season opener, and it hasn't yet put everything together for the first game on the schedule in Steve Spurrier's tenure. Nearly everything about this game shouts trouble for the Gamecocks, so they had better be ready come next Thursday.