Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/25/13
The 2013 season may be the most anticipated in the history of South Carolina football. After going 11-2 including a bowl win over Michigan the Gamecocks seem to be a front runner in the SEC and national picture. The attention grabber for South Carolina is of course their star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney is up for every defensive award imaginable and even in the Heisman conversation. The Gamecocks are a team that could finally get over the hump in 2013 and finally win an SEC championship if everything falls into place.South Carolina is also led by one of the greatest coaches in SEC history Steve Spurrier. Spurrier has turned this South Carolina into a power and to heights never experienced before. His relationships with quarterbacks over the years have been well documented and his current one Connor Shaw has been no different. Shaw has had his ups and downs as starting quarterback at South Carolina, but this season is the year to take the next step. Shaw will have some weapons surrounding him to make the season easier. Wide outs Bruce Ellington and Damiere Bryd will be expected to have career years in 2013 to help out Shaw. Ellington was the Gamecocks top receiver in 2013 with 600 yards. The passing and receiving yards should go up dramatically now that star running back Marcus Lattimore is no longer in the back field. The Gamecocks based their game around Lattimore which meant less touches for wide receivers. Spurrier will be able to go to his more traditional "air it out" style of offense now that Lattimore is no longer at running back. This new role of offense will rely on how successful Shaw is at quarterback and how they adjust to life with Lattimore. The Gamecocks offense has the potential to be explosive at times and will need that to win some key games this season. South Carolina scored 30 or more points in eight of their 13 games last season. This offensive production will be needed once again in 2013 to win the SEC championship. South Carolina's schedule in 2013 seems pretty favorable. The Gamecocks open up the season on Thursday night with North Carolina. The Tar Heels will be a challenge to start the season off with, but a Gamecocks victory should be well in hand. The Gamecocks then travel to Athens, Georgia to face the Bulldogs. South Carolina has defeated Georgia the last three seasons. The game being in Georgia will be a challenge, but one that South Carolina has proven to be ready for in years' past. The Gamecocks then play a stretch of games that include Central Florida, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, and Mississippi State. South Carolina will be favorites in all six of these contests. South Carolina has the potential to start off at 8-0 if the can get past North Carolina and Georgia in wee one and two. The Gamecocks then finish up the season with Florida, Coastal Carolina and Clemson. The game against Florida for Spurrier always brings back memories of his run with the Gators in the 90's. This game being in Columbia, South Carolina will be a plus for Spurrier and the Gamecocks as they look to get revenge for a 44-11 loss to Florida last season. The Gamecocks then conclude with ACC favorite Clemson. The in-state rivalry of South Carolina is always one of the more heated rivalries in college football. This season with both have conference title hopes and even national championship hopes, this game will be sure to be full of emotion. South Carolina has a pretty favorable schedule if they are able to get past a couple hurdles along the way. The games against Georgia, Florida and Clemson will determine just how successful the 2013 season will be. The Gamecocks have a shot at finally winning an SEC title and contending for a national championship with some key wins. The challenge will be living up to the preseason hype and not listen to the praise too much. I believe the Gamecocks will have another great season and finish 10-2 with a possible BCS bowl berth. This South Carolina team has some incredible talent that seems ready to put it all together in 2013. The season that Shaw has in leading the offense will be the telling sign as to how far the Gamecocks go. The defense will be the safety net in 2013 with Clowney leading the way. South Carolina is at the highest point they have ever been in their program's history and a great 2013 would just add on to the legacy Spurrier is creating in Columbia, South Carolina. 
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