There are plenty of reasons to ignore the naysayers that will come out of the woodworks after South Carolina's narrow escape against Navy. The Midshipmen, despite their mid-major reputation, haven't been an easy win for a long time now. And South Carolina has always struggled against teams that run the triple-option or anything like it.
But it's also time to admit a simple fact: South Carolina has not yet played like the SEC East favorite it is supposed to be. Whether that will matter in a division like the SEC East, where every contender has a flaw that they've clearly displayed in the first three weeks of the season, is an open question. But if one of the remaining teams in the SEC East is ready to challenge for the division title, there are plenty of reasons to think that South Carolina might be a one-year wonder.
Sure, Marcus Lattimore ran for 246 yards, a career best and the most any Gamecock has rushed for in 20 years. And yes, Stephen Garcia's 18-of-25 performance was an encouraging sign for a quarterback who failed to complete half his passes in either of the first two games.
But South Carolina needed every one of Lattimore's yards, Garcia still threw a poorly-timed interception, and Alshon Jeffery continued to be a nonentity for an offense that badly needs him to step up (2 catches, 35 yards). Setting aside an Antonio Allen interception that ended the game, the secondary gave us no reason to believe that it has improved to a level that could slow down Tyler Bray or any of the talented quarterbacks still left on South Carolina's schedule.
They say you're never as bad as you look when you lose, and never as good as you look when you win. But what do you say about a team that keeps winning and looks bad doing it?