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  1. Scouting South Carolina’s next opponent: Texas A&M Oct. 08, 2018 Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1 SEC) at South Carolina (3-2, 2-2) When: 3:30 p.m. Where: Williams-Brice Stadium TV: SEC Network Rankings: Texas A&M re-entered both the coaches poll and the AP poll at No. 22. South Carolina received votes in both. Three storylines ▪ Do the Gamecocks have a quarterback controversy on their hands? Junior starter Jake Bentley missed this past Saturday’s game against Missouri with a knee sprain, and senior Michael Scarnecchia excelled in his place, throwing for 249 yards and three touchdowns on 20-of-35 passing, with no interceptions. Bentley, meanwhile, wasn’t excellent when he was playing — 232 yards per game with seven touchdowns and six interceptions. Coach Will Muschamp hasn’t tipped his hand either way. ▪ Was the Missouri win for real? Saturday’s victory over Mizzou was desperately needed for South Carolina’s confidence (and bowl hopes). But it came in truly bizarre fashion — last-minute field goals, drenching rain, lightning delays, lots of penalties, technical difficulties with headsets and so on. And so while the Gamecocks are obviously happy to have the win, it’s difficult to decide what lessons to take from it. Texas A&M may provide more clarity. ▪ Texas A&M is still looking for its first road win in the Jimbo Fisher era. Not to mention, Fisher and Muschamp have history. Both are members of the Nick Saban coaching tree, and they squared off every year back when Fisher coached Florida State and Muschamp led Florida. Fisher came out ahead in those four matchups, 3-1, but Muschamp is more settled in his current job amd will have home field advantage. Three Texas A&M players to watch ▪ Junior running back Trayveon Williams leads the SEC in rushing yards and is second in the conference in touchdowns. The 5-foot-9, 200-pound back possess both impressive speed and a tough running style that could spell trouble given how both Missouri and Kentucky were able to impose their will at times along the line of scrimmage against USC. ▪ Junior tight end Jace Sternberger has a nose for the end zone — he has five touchdowns in six games for A&M. The 250-pounder also leads the Aggies in receiving yards and will likely be a matchup nightmare for a Gamecocks secondary that has struggled to find stability at the safety position. ▪ Senior defensive back Donovan Wilson has already twice been ejected for targeting this season, yet he is still one of the Aggies top tacklers, has one of A&M’s two interceptions on the year and can terrorize teams behind the line of scrimmage and in the open field. Were it not for an injury last season, he would likely be in the NFL right now. As it is, he is a volatile, explosive player who could hurt Carolina, or his own team.
  2. Gamecocks freshman, kicker named the best in the SEC for Week 6 Oct. 08, 2018 Michael Scarnecchia got to play the role of hero for South Carolina football in a 37-35 win on Saturday, but two other Gamecocks took home some honors. Gamecocks defensive back Jaycee Horn was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday, while kicker Parker White was named co-Special Teams Player of the Week. Against the Tigers, he had four pass break-ups and three tackles, at least one that prevented a long gain from becoming a touchdown. White went 3-for-3 on field goals, including the 33-yard game-winner with 2 seconds left. Horn, the son of NFL Pro Bowler Joe Horn, came to USC as a four-star prospect, one of the top players in the Gamecocks’ 2018 recruiting class. He was the No. 209 player in the country. This season, he’s been USC’s top nickel corner and had plenty of work outside. He’s likely at worst the team’s second-best defensive back. He has 19 tackles, two for loss, one sack and five pass break-ups on the season. White came through a rough 2017 season, his first as a starter, but has been mostly consistent through five games this season.
  3. South Carolina only a slight underdog vs Texas A&M despite QB questions Oct. 08, 2018 South Carolina football’s quarterback questions prevented the line from being released on Sunday. It dropped Monday, and USC won’t be an underdog by much against a seemingly good Texas A&M team. Coming off a tight win against Missouri, the Gamecocks are getting two points against the Aggies. That’s near what the line was against the Tigers after the news Michael Scarnecchia would start for Jake Bentley came out. South Carolina has never beaten A&M in four tries, though the past three have been competitive. Jimbo Fisher’s first Aggies squad has faced some tough competition on the way to a 4-2 record. They lost by two to Clemson, covered in a loss to Alabama and just topped a previously-undefeated Kentucky team in overtime. The Texas A&M defense is ahead of its offense, and while neither unit has been great, both have been solid. The Aggies are 5-1 against the spread this year, the lone blemish a close win against Arkansas. South Carolina is 3-2, covering in every win.
  4. South Carolina-Kentucky opens as a pick’em, but line starts shifting wildly Sept. 24, 2018 South Carolina’s opponent Saturday, Kentucky, is coming off a big win and just broke into the rankings for the first time since 2017. Despite that, the game opened as a pick’em with no favorite. And then a funny thing happened. In the minutes after the game was considered dead even, the line started to move. According to VegasInsider, South Carolina moved to being a two-point favorite within 10 minutes of it coming out. That meany money coming in on the Gamecocks’ side of things, but then things changed. Within minutes, the consensus line fell back below two, and by 7 p.m., it was back to a pick’em. USC was favored by 2 1/2 against Vanderbilt and covered with a 37-14 win. USC is 2-1 against the spread this year. Kickoff on Saturday is 7:30 p.m. at Kroger Field and will be broadcast on SEC Network.
  5. What Will Muschamp and Gamecocks learned watching Vanderbilt play Notre Dame Sept. 19, 2018 South Carolina’s football players found themselves doing something unexpected on Saturday – watching football. The Gamecocks were supposed to be playing football, but Hurricane Florence prompted the cancellation of their game with Marshall. That left South Carolina players to watch instead of play, and center Donell Stanley took in Vanderbilt’s game against No. 8 Notre Dame with interest. Stanley and guard Sadarius Hutcherson watched the game together, scouting the Commodores all the time. The Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1 SEC) play Vanderbilt (2-1) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Nashville, Tenn. “I definitely watched that game,” Stanley said. “Vandy plays hard. They always play hard. I figure they should have won that game. They outplayed Notre Dame I thought. We are just focused on us and what we have to do to win this game.” The Commodores opened the season with easy wins over Middle Tennessee State and Nevada, and Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp has pushed the notion on his team that Vanderbilt should be 3-0 now instead of 2-1. “He says he thinks they should have won that (Notre Dame) game,” running back Rico Dowdle said. Like Stanley, Muschamp watched the game live, a rare thing for football coaches used to scouting their opponents in video cut ups shot from the end zones rather than the live action shot from the sidelines. Watching a game live gives coaches a better feel of “the flow of the game,” Muschamp said. “Right now offensively with tempo and different things, what is the flow of the game? How is the game being administered?” he said. “You get a good feel that they play extremely hard. Sometimes you see that on the TV copy as opposed to the coaches’ copy that we see.” Muschamp watched the game with wife Carol and sons Jackson and Whit, he said. “We watched a lot of ball,” he said. “I got nervous before every game and we weren’t even playing.”
  6. Vanderbilt sees chance to ‘get into a street fight’ with South Carolina Sept. 19, 2018 Most college football coaches show up to their weekly news conference in a team-themed polo or, if they want to class it up a bit, a button-down shirt and blazer. Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason met with reporters in Nashville on Tuesday in attire reflective of none of the above. He actually looked more car mechanic than college football coach. His black shirt showed no Vandy logos. The only visible design was a nameplate on his right chest. It read “Derek.” “I’m sure you’re wondering why I have this shirt on,” Mason said. “But it’s Tuesday, it’s a work day. It’s about being blue collar, man. So we step into a meeting at 5:55 and we start talking exactly about what it is. This game’s going to be a street fight.” This “game” of course is against South Carolina. The Commodores (2-1) and Gamecocks (1-1) are scheduled for a 4 p.m. kickoff on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium. While USC is coming off an unexpected bye, Vandy spent last Saturday going toe-to-toe at eighth-ranked Notre Dame. The 22-17 loss was encouraging, sure, but now the ‘Dores begin SEC play. Hence Mason’s Tuesday outfit. “Some of you guys don’t know who Kimbo Slice is,” he said, referring to the late MMA star. “Hopefully you do. This isn’t a sanctioned fight. This a street fight. This is the SEC. It’s time to put on the hard hat, (grab) the lunch pail and get to work. “They’re going to be a tough football team when they come in here and we have to be just as tough, just as physical in this ballgame.” The Commodores started last season 3-0 before dropping their first seven SEC games. They haven’t beat USC in their last nine tries, including last year’s 34-27 result in Columbia. “(Against) South Carolina, we haven’t won since Bobby Johnson was here,” Mason said. “And I give him a lot of credit because he did it twice in his tenure. We’ve lost nine straight, OK? That’s gotta change at some point in time. Why not this week? “We got a football team. They got one too. Like I said, we got a chance to get into a street fight, so let’s go.” How does one quantify a “street fight” type game? By both teams pounding one another at the line of scrimmage? Both USC and Vandy rank in the bottom third of the SEC in rushing offense and defense. “We’re going to have to run the ball well,” Mason said. “We’re going to have to play well. Situational football is not going to escape us.” Mason, like Carolina’s Will Muschamp, comes from a defensive background. “We know who South Carolina is,” said the former Stanford defensive coordinator. “South Carolina plays a physical style of ball. That’s Coach Muschamp. That’s his mentality, that’s what it looks like. We are a physical team as well. We just have to be more consistent in what we do. “This is going to be a street fight because it’s an SEC game. I don’t see SEC games not being physical. This isn’t one of those sanctioned fights that’s out there. This is a straight street fight. This is a backyard, no gloves, you throw a punch, I throw a punch, you hit me, I hit you, for four quarters, 60 minutes, every play.” Vandy players seem sold on Mason’s message. “Everything he says is the law, it’s what we go by,” said Commodore receiver Kalija Lipscomb. “It’s going to be a blue collar week, it’s a street fight week. We’re going to pick up same chains and bats and go in the back alley and swing.”
  7. SEC Week 2 Preview: Hurricane Florence not stopping packed slate of SEC action Despite an incoming hurricane, week two in the #SEC features tons of intriguing match-ups, including a battle between two Tigers on the Plains. Sept. 14, 2018 armchairallamericans.com Another week is upon us. Even though a hurricane is trying to break up the party, the SEC is still playing football- mostly. Let’s breakdown what is happening in Week 3. Let’s start with who isn’t playing. The South Carolina Gamecocks will not be playing as a result of Hurricane Florence. They were only playing Marshall so it likely won’t be rescheduled, but South Carolina fans still aren’t happy with the cancellation. As it stands, that is the only cancellation in the SEC, so let’s get on with those who are actually playing. Before we get to the conference matchups, let’s talk about the teams who are playing what I like to call “record boosters” this week. Remember, all times listed are in Eastern Time. The noon slate isn’t exactly exciting, but here is the information for each game. The Georgia Bulldogsare taking on Middle Tennessee- a game that should be a cakewalk for them. It has been moved up due to the weather, but not cancelled. They will play on ESPNews. Kentucky is taking on Murray State and Tennessee is taking on UTEP- both on the SEC Network. With that, we move to the 2:30 slot- where Vanderbilt heads to South Bend to take on No. 8 Notre Dame. That game will be on NBC if anyone wants to watch what I think will be a slaughter of the Commodores. At 3:30 on CBS, the Game of the Week is LSU vs. Auburn. That game may be the only competitive one this week, so you may want to check in to watch LSU’s trip to the Plains. At 4 pm, Florida takes on a Colorado State team that “upset” Arkansas a week ago. If that “record booster” isn’t your cup of tea, you can watch the Razorbacks face off against North Texas. Both games will be on SEC Network. With that, we head into the night slots. At 7:00 PM on ESPN, the Alabama Crimson Tide heads to Vaught-Hemingway to take on the Ole Miss “Land Sharks.” Two games in and I still don’t know what a Land Shark is or if Ole Miss has a defense at all. If you are a Rebel fan, it may be best to just skip out on that one. Three teams kick off at 7:30. Mississippi State plays ULL, a game that should feature both of the Bulldogs talented quarterbacks on ESPN2. The Texas A&M Aggies also host a team from the Bayou in Louisiana-Monroe on SEC Network. Finally, Drew Lock and the Mizzou Tigers head to Purdue, live on BTN.
  8. This forum is for all SEC fans to talk about the latest happenings in SEC Sports. Enjoy
  9. 10 things Georgia said about South Carolina during rivalry week Sept. 05, 2018 THE STATE ATHENS, GA. Kirby Smart is a fan of the Will Muschamp-era South Carolina Gamecocks. The Georgia head coach – and former college teammate of Muschamp’s at UGA – has reiterated that fact for a while now, especially after last year’s hard-fought Bulldogs win over the Gamecocks at Sanford Stadium. The line then – “They will be a force to be reckoned with” – didn’t change much Monday when Smart had his latest opportunity to talk about USC ahead of Saturday’s showdown in Columbia. “They do a tremendous job over there,” Smart said during his weekly news conference. “Watching them progress their program over the last couple of years, they’ve gotten better with each season.“ South Carolina (1-0 in 2018) went 6-7 in Muschamp’s first season and followed with last season’s 9-4 mark. No. 3 Georgia (1-0) is 22-7 in two-plus years under Smart, including an SEC and Rose Bowl title in 2017. Before the two coaches battle each other at Williams-Brice Stadium, they’ll likely try to out-compliment one another in front of a microphone this week. Here are 10 noteworthy quotes from Georgia as its 71st all-time meeting with South Carolina looms: “Last year’s game was probably one of the most physical we played in. It was a really tough, physical game. A lot of breaking the wheels when it comes to running the ball, them and us.” – Smart The 2017 game came at a time when the Bulldogs were ranked No. 1. The Gamecocks were within a score at halftime before UGA’s star running back combination of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel helped the Bulldogs pull away for the 24-10 win. “Bryan (McClendon) was a player here and did a tremendous job for us. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him as a leader, really good recruiter. He did a great job with receivers when he was with those guys, and now he’s calling plays. He called it in the bowl game, and I thought for a guy that started off slow in the bowl game, he was very patient, committed, called a great game, especially the second half; kind of won that job by the job he did and got a great amount of respect.” – Smart South Carolina offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon was a senior receiver at Georgia when Smart was the Bulldogs’ running backs coach in 2005. Last January, after given a chance in the Outback Bowl, McClendon was promoted to full-time OC. He debuted last week in USC’s rout of Coastal Carolina. “He’s probably the most underrated player in all of college football, because I don’t know that everybody in the country knows what the SEC knows about Deebo Samuel. I mean the guy is phenomenal.” – Smart If he stays healthy, expect Deebo Samuel to get this kind of praise from opposing coaches all season. USC’s electric receiver/kick return man could be the difference-maker the Gamecocks need Saturday. “I don’t compare this to Notre Dame because our fan base felt like 50 percent of the fan base (at Notre Dame Stadium). It won’t be that way in Columbia, let me assure you. OK? Their fan base will be turned out and have a lot of people there. So that environment is probably not a good analogy for what we’re going into. Because I know, I’ve been there, I understand.” – Smart Saturday’s game marks a second straight season in which the Bulldogs are on the road in Week 2. They beat the Fighting Irish, 20-19, last September before a crowd of 77,622 in South Bend, Indiana. It was estimated afterward that nearly half of that crowd was clad in red and black. Chances are the Bulldogs won’t see that many friendly faces at Williams-Brice. UGA has dropped three of its last four games in Columbia. “It’s just a situation where there’s no plan. You know, we gotta go with how things go and how the flow of the game goes. I thought (Justin Fields) did a good job Saturday in the game, handled things well, but I don’t know what this game is going to dictate, what this game is going to bring. So we’ll see.” – Smart on UGA’s QB situation Georgia played two quarterbacks in its Week 1 win over Austin Peay. Jake Fromm started and got the Bulldogs out to a 10-0 lead before Fields, a freshman, made his debut. Fromm, a sophomore who played in the national title game last season, will likely start again, but Fields, a highly-touted recruit, could see significant time as well. “He reminds me of our Jake, Jake Fromm. He’s very smart, he’s very competitive and he’s going to play really hard out there for that team, put it all on the line.” – Georgia safety J.R. Reed on USC quarterback Jake Bentley Bentley, a 21-game starter, completed 21 of 35 passes for 227 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in last year’s loss to UGA, his lone career appearance against the Bulldogs. “I heard it’s one of the best, if not the best place to play in. I heard they have a great home fan section. I heard them and LSU are like the top places to be at.” – Reed on WBS South Carolina last hosted Georgia on a Saturday in 2014. A crowd of 84,232 showed up to see a 38-35 Carolina win. Two years earlier, over 85,000 were there for a 35-7 Gamecock rout of the Bulldogs. “I knew they blew out Coastal Carolina. You really couldn’t pick up anything. I know it’s similar, but we’ll definitely see when we get out there.” – Reed One expected difference between Carolina of 2017 (with Kurt Roper as OC) and Carolina now? A more sped-up attack. “It’s becoming that (a rivalry). It’s definitely one of the tougher, more physical games that we play. Especially coming over these past years and how the tables have been turned and we’ve been going back and forth. I think it’s a game that we take very seriously. They’re doing the same thing.” – Georgia defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter The Bulldogs lead the all-time series, 50-18-2. A win Saturday and they give one side four straight victories for the first time since UGA beat USC five straight times from 2002-06. “Muschamp, him and Kirby, those guys are boys.” – Reed
  10. More than a game, it’s an arms race More than a game, it’s an arms race It's only week two of the new college football season. However, the Georgia/South Carolina game holds more weight than just the SEC East race. Sept. 05, 2018 armchairallamericans.com The #24 South Carolina Gamecocks play host to the #3 Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday. This is one of the biggest games for South Carolina this decade. This series has maintained a fairly competitive balance the past ten years. Since 2010, the two teams have split the series winning four games a piece. Georgia has totaled 235 points (29.4 ppg) while South Carolina has amassed 209 points (26.1 ppg) over the eight year stretch. Georgia is anywhere from a 9 to 10 point favorite in Columbia on Saturday. The Bulldogs haven’t won in Columbia on a Saturday since the 2008 season. There will be multiple recruits attending the game, including five-star athlete Quavaris Crouch. The implications of this game extend far beyond the 2018 season for South Carolina. A win for the Gamecocks would give them a two-game advantage over the Bulldogs in the SEC East but it would also, at least for the moment, seemingly minimize the gap between themselves and the fast-rising Georgia team. Georgia has obviously recruited well for a long period of time but Kirby Smart has the Dawgs on another level right now. Beating him on Saturday could sway some future recruits towards the Gamecocks. There is also an element of “if not now then when” with this matchup. This could be Carolina’s fourth straight loss to the Dawgs. With the level Kirby is recruiting at it could be a long time before the Gamecocks have as good a chance to pull the upset as they do right now. All the stars are aligned for the upset to happen and the ball now lies in the Gamecocks court. Can Jake Bentley perform at a high level in a big game? Can they develop a consistent running game against an inexperienced defense? Will the new-style offense make enough plays to put up points and keep the Dawgs offense off the field? And of course, will the Gamecock’s defensive front seven be able to rush the passer and create havoc in the backfield? South Carolina has a tremendous opportunity to make a big statement in just the second week of the season. Should they pull of the upset, it would set them up for a big 2018 season and potentially fuel their pull in future recruiting classes. Time for Muschamp and Bentley to make a statement.
  11. First look at the Georgia Bulldogs plus early line Bulldogs double-digit favorites Sept. 02, 2018 Line: Georgia by 10 Three storylines 1. South Carolina hasn’t hosted a top 5 conference foe since they whipped the No. 5 Bulldogs, 35-7, in 2012. It’s hard to say a division title can be decided in September, but Saturday’s winner certainly takes a huge step toward being crowned SEC East champs. 2. Bryan McClendon’s debut as USC’s full-time offensive coordinator resulted in the Gamecocks scoring nearly 50 points and piling up over 500 yards in an easy win over Coastal Carolina. Now comes the tough part. Georgia’s defense finished sixth in the country last season and opened 2018 by shutting out Austin Peay. 3. Georgia used two quarterbacks in its season-opening rout of the Governors. Jake Fromm started, got the Bulldogs out to a 10-0 lead and then made way for freshman Justin Fields. Fromm completed 12 of 16 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Fields went 7 of 8 for 63 and a score. Who should we expect to see more of Saturday? “We’ll make those decisions based on every game,” UGA coach Kirby Smart said following the victory over Austin Peay. Three Georgia players to watch 1. Georgia star running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combined for 183 yards and a touchdown in guiding UGA’s 24-10 win over the Gamecocks last season in Athens. The Chubb-Michel duo is gone, but the Bulldogs are hardly hurting with D’Andre Swift. The former five-star recruit made the SEC’s All-Freshman team last season. 2. Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker passed up the NFL Draft for one more season in Athens. The Bulldogs’ best secondary member will likely draw matchups with USC star receiver Deebo Samuel. Samuel missed last year’s UGA game, but made four catches for 90 yards against the Bulldogs in 2016. 3. If this game plays out as advertised, Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship gives the Bulldogs an edge. The Rec Spec-wearing junior connected on 20 of 23 field goal attempts last season, including a 55-yarder against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.
  12. SEC Football: Week One Preview August 30, 2018 armchairallamericans.com SEC Football is upon us once again. Week one begins on Thursday. Here is your one-stop shop for who is playing who, when and where. The SEC Football season is about to begin and fans are abuzz with excitement. It truly is the best time of year, the time where weekends consist of screaming at the top of your lungs at people who truly can’t hear you nor really care what you have to say, but you feel the need to scream your opinion anyway. The season begins at Kyle Field in College Station where Texas A&M is set to take on Northwestern State on Thursday night, 7:30 CT. That game will be televised on the SEC Network if you are an Aggie fan or simply feel like starting your weekend off early and witnessing the official kick off of SEC Football. On Saturday at noon, you have two options. South Carolina hosts Coastal Carolina (SEC Network) and Ole Miss travels to Texas Tech (ESPN). The first will consist of many loud Gamecock fans sure that this one is an easy win. The latter will likely be an offensive shootout as the Texas Tech defense can’t stop a nose bleed and the Ole Miss offense is quite potent. Primetime brings with it the most exciting of the weekend and the least. The Georgia Bulldogs take on Austin Peay in a game that will likely be over by the end of the first quarter. You can watch that one on ESPN. Kentucky will take on Central Michigan in another should win game on ESPNU. Tennessee heads to West Virginia, shown live on CBS, as the Volunteers hope to not lose too bad. The game of the week is played on ABC as Auburn takes on Washington in a 3:30 PM ET top ten match up that will be a tone setter for each teams season as a whole. At 4:00 PM ET, you get your choice of watching Missouri take on UT Martin or Arkansas take on Eastern Illinois. Neither will be particularly exciting, but it is SEC Football nonetheless. At 7:30 ET, there is another trio of less than exciting match ups that many will watch just to be able to watch football. Mississippi State hosts SFA, Florida hosts Charleston Southern and Vanderbilt hosts Middle Tennessee. At 8:00 PM ET, live on ABC, you can watch the No. 1 team in the nation in Alabama take on the Louisville Cardinals. It remains in question how competitive that game really will be, but at the very least it is two Power 5 teams ready to do battle. Finally, in the Sunday evening matchup on ABC, Miami and LSU meet to do battle. The winner of the Sunday evening in recent years has become the victim of over-hype and an inevitable downfall, so we shall see who will deal with that. That is your week one run down. It isn’t particularly exciting in terms of match-ups, but there are a few shining stars and no matter what- football is back on our televisions ladies and gents.
  13. Eight predictions for the coming SEC season. And one about Clemson August 29, 2018 THE STATE The SEC football season starts Thursday night when Texas A&M hosts Northwestern State so now’s the time to put some thoughts about the league’s 2018 season on paper. South Carolina defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson will have a chance to leave for a head coaching job at the end of the year. It might not be the type of job that will get him to leave, but people will start sniffing around in earnest as this season draws to a close. He’s young, 36; he’s intelligent and outgoing and will interview very well, and, most importantly, he’s got a track record that’s charting in the right direction working under Will Muschamp. When teams start looking for that next SEC assistant to poach, Robinson’s name is going to be near the top of the list. Georgia’s starting quarterback won’t change. Bulldogs sophomore Jake Fromm helped the team to the national title game as a true freshman last year, but that didn’t keep five-start prospect Justin Fields from signing with Georgia this year. Fans being fans, there are pockets of people in Athens who think the dual threat Fields can and will take over from the field general Fromm, but Fromm has a history of making every play he has to make and doing it with zero flash. That’s got to be appealing to Nick Saban clone Kirby Smart. Clemson’s starting quarterback will change. Like Fromm, Bryant led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff last year and didn’t give anyone a reason to think he should lose the job. The difference in this situation is the newcomer. Bryant was named Clemson’s starter for the season-opener against Furman, but nobody around the Tigers has said a discouraging word about five-star freshman Trevor Lawrence. In fact, most folks seem wowed. Lawrence will play significant minutes against Texas A&M in Week 2 and start against Georgia Southern in Week 3. Florida will start three quarterbacks this year. First-year Gators head coach Dan Mullen has a well-earned reputation for developing quarterbacks. He doesn’t do it by taking it easy on them, and he’s had a sometimes frustrating first fall in Gainesville trying to get sophomores Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask and true freshman Emory Jones to absorb all the information he expects his quarterback to master. Mullen named Franks the starter this week, but this feels like a situation where Franks and Trask, the two more veteran players, each get a shot to start early, and if they don’t meet Mullen’s high expectations, the new NCAA rule allowing players to play in four games without burning a redshirt year means there’s no reason not to throw Jones into the fire later in the season and see what happens. Kentucky’s win streak against South Carolina will end. It’s frankly preposterous that the Wildcats have beaten anybody in the SEC four times in a row, even more so that it’s been a Gamecocks team that finished ahead of them in the league in two of those four years and has been on an upward track of late. It’s probably foolish to be too certain about this one considering the two teams play in Lexington, Ky., this year and South Carolina certainly hasn’t reached the stage it can assume any win the conference, but it just feels like fate will give the Gamecocks this one. LSU is headed for a fall. Most Tigers fans knew they wanted Les Miles gone, but too many of them forgot what too many fans forget, that there’s a Step Two in the process of firing a head coach. That step is hiring someone who is better than the last one. LSU did not do that. Landing on Ed Orgeron gave the Tigers a home-state guy who is a better head coach now than he was during a rough patch at Ole Miss, but it was hardly a hire worthy of a program that considers itself a national threat. Too many people are putting too much pressure on Ohio State graduate transfer Joe Burrow, the Buckeyes third-string quarterback a year ago, to come and save the day. He won’t. Nick Saban will improve to 15-0 against former assistants. This is a continuing cautionary tale for programs that want to run out and hire a Saban assistant. Alabama’s head coach got his closest call in last year’s national title game, but he held off Georgia’s Kirby Smart in dramatic fashion to improve to 12-0 against coaches who have worked for him. This year, Saban gets Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M and Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee in the regular season and will likely face Smart again in the SEC title game. Mississippi State will lead SEC in sacks. Everyone is talking about the Bulldogs because of new head coach Joe Morehead, and that makes sense. Morehead comes from Penn State, where he ran a fun and productive offense, and he’s had success as a head coach at Fordham. Mississippi State made a good hire, and Morehead will make the league better, but the story in Starkville this season is on the defensive line. With senior Montez Sweat coming off the edge, and junior Jeffery Simmons in the middle, the Bulldogs have the best pair of pass rushers in the SEC. A.J. Brown will break the SEC’s TD receiving The Rebels junior, who South Carolina will see on Nov. 3, had 11 receiving touchdowns last year. This year, he’ll surpass the 18 that Reidel Anthony had playing for Steve Spurrier at Florida in 1996. The Ole Miss offense will be dynamic; Brown is incredibly talented, and this is a let-it-all-hang-out season in Oxford because of the NCAA probation that means there will be no bowl game.record.
  14. 2018 Opponent Preview: Florida South Carolina faces Florida in a key SEC matchup late in the season that could decide the SEC East. August 16, 2018 armchairallamericans.com Opponent: Florida Gators When: November 10, 2018 at TBD Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida All-Time Series Record: Florida leads 26-9 Last Meeting: South Carolina defeated Florida 28-20 on November 11, 2017 2017 Record: 4-7(3-5) *Game against Northern Colorado was cancelled* Head Coach… Dan Mullen is entering his first year as the head coach of Florida. Mullen was an assistant coach for the Gators from 2004 to 2007 until he was hired as the head coach of Mississippi State in 2008. Mullen had a 69-46 record at Mississippi State, but he did lead the Bulldogs to a number one ranking in 2014. He won SEC Coach of the Year in that same year. Returning Starters… The Gators return 10 starters on offense led by quarterback Feliepe Franks. They also return seven defensive starters led by defensive end CeCe Jefferson. How did they fare in 2017? The Gators started out fairly strong with three straight SEC wins in September, but they fell off losing five straight games and eventually losing to their rival, Florida State. They finished with a relatively abysmal 4-7 record. Best Returning Player… DE Cece Jefferson (6-1, 251) Senior Florida’s best returning player is senior defensive end CeCe Jefferson. Jefferson is a former 5-star recruit who played in every game as a Freshman and earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team. He led the team last year in tackles and sacks, so expect him to be a heavy presence on the defensive line this year. Overall Outlook… A lot of people have high expectations for Dan Mullen in his first year due to his success at Mississippi State, but don’t be surprised if he only gets six or seven wins this year. The Media seems to believe Mullen can pull off nine or 10 wins this year, but it’s very hard to go from four wins to 10 in one season. If Mullen can do what he did with the Bulldogs at Florida, he can go down as one of the greatest coaches in Florida history, but it takes time. The defense and run game are solid for the Gators, but Feliepe Franks needs to improve if they want to compete for the SEC East crown. 2018 SEASON PROJECTION: 6-6
  15. 2018 Opponent Preview: Ole Miss South Carolina has beaten the Rebels the last two times they've played. Down in the Grove of Oxford in November, the Land Sharks will look to turn the series around. armchairallamericans.com OPPONENT: Ole Miss Rebels WHEN: Saturday, November 3, 2018 at TBD WHERE: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, MS ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: South Carolina is 7-8 (Won last two) LAST MEETING: September 24, 2009 – South Carolina defeated the Rebels in Columbia, 16-10. Ole Miss was ranked #4 in the country at the time. 2017 RECORD: 6-6 overall; 3-5 in SEC (#6 in West) Head Coach… Matt Luke is going into his second season as the coach of the Rebels since former coach Hugh Freeze was fired. Luke walked-on at Ole Miss in 1995 as a center. He played there for four years and graduated in 1999. His father and older brother both played at Ole Miss as well. He came onto staff as a co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach under Freeze in 2012. He led the Rebels to a 6-6 season in 2017 that included a win over archrival, Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. Returning Starters… OFFENSE (8) WR, AJ Brown (6-1, 225) Junior WR, DaMarkus Lodge (6-2, 199) Senior WR, DK Metcalf (6-4, 225) Sophomore TE, Dawson Knox (6-4, 250) Junior C, Sean Rawlings (6-5, 294) Senior LG, Javon Patterson (6-3, 314) Junior RT, Alex Givens (6-7, 300) Junior LT, Greg Little (6-6, 325) Junior DEFENSE (7) DT, Josiah Coatney (6-4, 302) Junior NT, Benito Jones (6-2, 315) Sophomore MLB, Detric Bing-Dukes (6-1, 254) Senior CB, Myles Hartsfield (5-11, 199) Junior CB, Ken Webster (5-11, 194) Senior ROV, Zedrick Woods (5-11, 201) Senior FS, Jaylon Jones (5-11, 186) Junior How did they fare in 2017? Ole Miss finished last season with a .500 record but could not attend a bowl game and no matter the results of this season, the end will be the same due to their two-year bowl ban. They won their first two games of the season at home but got destroyed their next three games which were all on the road. They lost to Cal, Alabama and Auburn by a combined score of 137-42. Their three league wins came against Vanderbilt (57-35), Kentucky (37-34), and Mississippi State (31-28). Best Returning Player… WR, AJ Brown (6-1, 225) Junior In 2017, Brown caught 75 passes for 1252 yards and 11 touchdowns Given a 143.9 passer rating when targeted by Pro Football Focus (+53.5 higher than NCAA average) According to Austin Gayle of PFF, Brown averaged 8.27 yards after the catch per reception on non-screen passes; averaged 6.25 receptions and 104.4 yards per game across 12 games played with 15+ offensive snaps in 2017 Overall Outlook… With the postseason being no option, the Rebels will be playing for pride and a couple guys will be playing for their shot at the NFL. Make no mistake about it though, there is a lot of talent on this team. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, left tackle Greg Little and one of the better receivers in the country in AJ Brown headline the offense. The defense doesn’t have any household names as of yet but they return their entire secondary from a year ago. It’s tough to tell what will come of this season for Ole Miss but Matt Luke will have this team ready to compete in every game and they will not be an easy out for anybody. 2018 SEASON PROJECTION: 7-5 (3-5 in SEC)
  16. 2018 Opponent Preview: Tennessee South Carolina closes out November by hosting Tennessee, led by first year head coach Jeremy Pruitt. August 09, 2018 armchairallamericans.com OPPONENT: Tennessee Volunteers WHEN: Saturday, October 27, 2018 at TBD WHERE: Williams-Brice Stadium (Columbia, SC) ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: Tennessee leads 25-9-2 LAST MEETING: October 14, 2017 – South Carolina beat Tennessee in Knoxville, TN 15-9. 2017 RECORD: 4-8 (0-8) Head Coach… Jeremy Pruitt begins his first season as Tennessee head coach after the Butch Jones experience took a turn for the worst in Knoxville. Pruitt will look to re-energize the UT program and return them to national prominence. Pruitt falls from the Nick Saban coaching tree, having spent his collegiate playing days at Alabama and working under Saban at Alabama as a defensive coordinator. Returning Starters … OFFENSE (5) OL Drew Richmond (6-3, 309) Junior WR Brandon Johnson (6-2, 193) Junior WR Marquez Callaway (6-2, 190) Junior C Ryan Johnson (6-6, 300) Sophomore LT Trey Smith (6-6, 320) Sophomore DEFENSE (6) DE Kyle Phillips (6-4, 263) Senior DE Jonathan Kongbo (6-6, 275) Senior WLB Quart’e Sapp (6-2, 222) Junior MLB Daniel Bituli (6-3, 240) Junior SS Nigel Warrior (6-0, 194) Junior FS Micah Abernathy (6-0, 203) Senior How did they fare in 2017? Tennessee began the year with a thrilling 42-41 win over Georgia Tech on Labor Day a year ago. After starting the season 2-0, not much good happened after that. The Butch Jones experience finally crumbled and the Volunteers finished the season without a single SEC win. Jones was let go late in the year and the Vols finished 2017 with a disappointing home loss to their in-state rival, Vanderbilt. Best Returning Player… Overall Outlook… The Jeremy Pruitt era begins in Knoxville as the Volunteers look to rebound from a rocky 2017. Pruitt has already began to put his stamp on the UT program, giving Vols fans a breath of fresh from the disastrous Butch Jones campaign. While coaching will be much improved, the Volunteers roster still doesn’t appear to be top of the line. The biggest question falls at quarterback, where Stanford transfer Keller Christ and returning sophomore Jarrett Guarantano will fight for the starting job. Overall, year one for Jeremy Pruitt will be an adjustment period for the Volunteers. There is skepticism from some pundits about his abilities to be a head coach and run a big time organization like Tennessee. That being said, Tennessee should be improved from a year ago and will challenge for a bowl berth. 2018 SEASON PROJECTION: 5-7 (2-6)
  17. 2018 Opponent Preview: Texas A&M Since joining the SEC in 2012, the Aggies and Gamecocks have faced off four times - the Aggies have won all four meetings. USC looks to change their fortunes in 2018 August 07, 2018 armchairallamericans.com OPPONENT: Texas A&M Aggies WHEN: Saturday, October 13, 2018 at TBD WHERE: Williams-Brice Stadium (Columbia, SC) ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: South Carolina is 0-4 LAST MEETING: September 30, 2017 – Texas A&M defeated the Gamecocks 24-17 in College Station for their fourth straight win. 2017 RECORD: 7-6 overall; 4-4 in SEC (Tied for #4 in West) Head Coach… The Aggies parted ways with Kevin Sumlin after the 2017 season and brought in former Florida State head coach, Jimbo Fisher, on a 10-year, $75 million contract. In his time with the Seminoles, Fisher had an overall record of 83-23 before leaving the program prior the their last regular season game. Fisher won a National Championship with Florida State back in 2013 and finished with a 14-0 record. He also took the ‘Noles to the playoffs in 2014 but we’re soundly defeated by the Oregon Ducks, 59-20. Returning Starters… OFFENSE (8) *QB, Nick Starkel (6-3, 218) Sophomore *QB, Kellen Mond (6-2, 210) Sophomore RB, Trayveon Williams (5-9, 200) Junior WR, Jhamon Ausbon (6-2, 220) Sophomore C, Colton Prater (6-4, 300) Junior RG, Erik McCoy (6-4, 315) Junior LG, Keaton Sutherland (6-5, 315) Senior RT, Carson Green (6-6, 300) Sophomore DEFENSE (8) NG, Kingsley Keke (6-4, 305) Senior DE, Landis Durham (6-3, 255) Senior LB, Tyrel Dodson (6-2, 242) Junior LB, Otaro Alaka (6-3, 240) Senior LB, Anthony Hines (6-3, 230) Sophomore CB, Debione Renfro (6-2, 193) Sophomore CB, Charles Oliver (6-2, 202) Junior FS, Derrick Tucker (6-1, 200) Sophomore In 2012, Kevin Sumlin’s first season as head coach, the Aggies went 11-2. Their records between 2013-2017 got progressively stagnant or worse (9-4; 8-5; 8-5; 8-5; 7-6 in 2017). Last season A&M averaged 32.7 points per game and 407 yards per game while giving up 30.7 points per game and 408 yards per game on defense. The season started off on a rough note against UCLA where they held a 38-10 lead over the Bruins at halftime, just to implode in the second half and lose 45-44. The Aggies followed up the loss with four straight victories before losing to Alabama 27-19 in a hard-fought home game. They started the 2017 season with a 4-2 record and finished with a 3-3 record in the last six games. Texas A&M went into the Belk Bowl against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and ended up losing a shootout, 55-52. Best Returning Player… WLB, Tyrel Dodson (6-2, 242) Junior In 2017, Dodson recorded 105 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss, eight pass break-ups, three interceptions and four quarterback hurries Made the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Award watch list (best defensive player); was left off the Dick Butkus Award watch list (best linebacker) Overall Outlook… Look for 2018 to be a re-tooling type of year for the Aggies. Jimbo Fisher ran a pro-style offense at Florida State and it is yet to be known if he will adopt a new offensive style or retain the one he knows. He has a lot of returning starters from last year’s team but it was a team that ran a spread offense under Kevin Sumlin. If Fisher sticks with the pro-style offense, it will be a big learning curve for the Aggies and may result in a bit of a rough season for College Station. I think Fisher will eventually make A&M a contender in the SEC-West but to expect that in year one is a bit premature. 2018 SEASON PROJECTION: 6-6 (3-5 in SEC)
  18. USA Today releases 2018 SEC power rankings July 31, 2018 College football is almost here. In celebration, USA TODAY Sports is getting you ready for the 2018 season by ranking the teams in each of the five major conferences in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The rankings end with the Southeastern Conference, home to three teams set to contend for the national championship: Alabama, Georgia and Auburn. The SEC seems to lack the same level of depth we’ve seen in the past, however. FBS head coaches will get their say Thursday with the release of the preseason Amway Coaches Poll for 2018. Here’s guessing that poll, much like this list, will start with the Crimson Tide. 1. Alabama The most prolific dynasty in college football’s modern era reloads for another title run. There’s likely a new quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, along with the annual remaking of a depth chart dinged by NFL departures. That’s nothing new. The Tide are the best team in the SEC and, depending on how you feel about Clemson, no worse than No. 2 in the entire FBS. 2. Georgia Georgia should cruise to an East Division title without breaking much of a sweat, which speaks to the Bulldogs’ talent level and says a little something about the competition they’ll face in division play. There are a few big names to replace: Nick Chubb and Sony Michel at running back and Roquan Smith at linebacker, to name three. But this remains an elite team with designs on making a return trip to the College Football Playoff. 3. Auburn Auburn is getting overlooked amid all the talk of the preordained early December matchup between Alabama and Georgia. I mean, didn’t the Tigers win the West Division last fall? Auburn has a Heisman Trophy contender in quarterback Jarrett Stidham to go ample talent and depth on both sides of the ball, with the biggest question mark found along a rebuilt offensive front. One more question: Can the Tigers take down Washington in the opener? 4. Mississippi State First-year coach Joe Moorhead inherits a fantastic situation from his predecessor, Dan Mullen. Now let’s see how quickly the Bulldogs can grasp his offensive style. If healthy at quarterback, MSU should be viewed as the best team in the SEC’s second tier — not up to the same level as the Tide, Bulldogs and Tigers, but more than talented enough to win nine games and secure a solid spot in the Top 25. 5. South Carolina Like Mississippi State, the Gamecocks are a threat to win nine games and earn a national ranking. On paper, however, South Carolina lags behind Georgia in the East Division. This could still end up being a very good team. Everyone is high on quarterback Jake Bentley, who seems ready to take the next step, and the healthy return of receiver Deebo Samuel will beef up the Gamecocks’ offense and return game. And who knows? Maybe USC knocks off Georgia at home on Sept. 8 and rides that tiebreaker to a division title. It’s not a ridiculous scenario. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher. (Photo: Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports) 6. Texas A&M Dial back the expectations a touch heading into Jimbo Fisher’s first season: A&M is going to be good but not that good, if that makes any sense. It’s tough sledding in the SEC West Division, where a logjam of teams come in behind the Tide and Tigers, and the Aggies are firmly among the group battling for eight or more wins behind that top pair. Fisher’s biggest wins in 2018 might come on the recruiting trail, where he’s continued to add depth and talent to program with goals of one day soon — maybe as soon as 2019 — being more than just a September contender. 7. LSU I’m not alone in thinking a six-win season for LSU is as likely as a division title. That’s concerning. Calling this a make-or-break year for Ed Orgeron seems premature; that lies one year down the road, unless things completely run off the rails in 2018. But it’s hard to ignore the preseason expectations: LSU is pegged as an SEC West afterthought. Maybe that changes with a new offensive coordinator and a new quarterback in Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow. 8. Florida It’s too easy to forget amid last year’s disaster that Florida’ 2017 collapse came on the heels of back-to-back East Division championships. In other words, Dan Mullen isn’t taking on some grand rebuilding project — even if it’ll take some time for the new staff to catch up with the rival Bulldogs. UF won’t be a national factor in 2018 nor even more than just a thorn in the side of the SEC’s best, but this is a clear bowl team with a ceiling as high as second place in the East. 9. Missouri I’m not the only one in wait-and-see mode with Missouri after a 2017 season that ended with a winning record yet included no victories against meaningful competition. On the other hand, I’m not in the group that wonders about the health of Missouri’s offensive under new coordinator Derek Dooley, since this offense should be able to run itself. The problem for Missouri? The projected improvements seen from Florida and Tennessee will make wins even harder to come by. 10. Tennessee I’m higher on Florida than I am on Tennessee, largely due to the idea that the Volunteers’ reclamation project will demand a little more elbow grease than the task ahead for Mullen and his staff. Predicting which program will be in better shape in five years is an interesting barroom question — though not relevant when it comes to 2018. There’s no reason as of yet to wonder about Jeremy Pruitt, who at least represents a drastic change, but I don’t think it’s fair to shoulder his debut season with expectations beyond making a bowl game and playing better football in November than September. 11. Kentucky Much like Missouri, the Wildcats will need to piece together six or more wins against what should be a more competitive East Division. That the conference slate begins with Florida, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Texas A&M is also a little concerning. But Kentucky has one of the nation’s most overlooked players in running back Benny Snell and brings back a heavy amount of experience on defense, so it’s fair to expect another bowl trip for Mark Stoops. 12. Mississippi Two things to like: an easy stretch of out-of-conference games and the potential explosiveness of coordinator Phil Longo’s offense. The Rebels will be fun to watch, at least. One thing to really not like: a defense that gave up a hair under 35 points per game in 2017 and doesn’t seem set to do much better this fall. Let’s meet in the middle and peg the Rebels to occupy the same ground as during a year ago, which is somewhere around five or six wins. 13. Arkansas Chad Morris showed at SMU an ability to build a winning culture from scratch. In comparison, doing the same at Arkansas should be easy. Well, maybe not easy, per se. But there are some pieces in place to keep the Razorbacks in the mix for the postseason off a four-win end to Bret Bielema’s tenure, not to mention a friendly non-conference schedule that could have Arkansas within a win of bowl eligibility heading into November. Still, I’d pick the Razorbacks to come up short of six wins in Morris’ debut. 14. Vanderbilt The early over-under for Vanderbilt’s win total is at 4.5, which seems fair. The Commodores could surprise and eke out six wins, though that would take three wins in SEC play — that road trip to Notre Dame on Sept. 15 smells like a clear loss. The Commodores could also revert back to being the whipping boy in the East Division, should Florida and Tennessee hit the ground running.
  19. 2018 Opponent Preview: Kentucky armchairallamericans.com Kentucky has won four straight against the Gamecocks and will look to increase that number in 2018. South Carolina will need to kill some demons to reclaim the series July 31, 2018 OPPONENT: Kentucky Wildcats WHEN: Saturday, September 29, 2018 at TBD WHERE:Kroger Field in Lexington, KY ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: South Carolina is 17-11-1 LAST MEETING: September 16, 2017 – Kentucky defeated South Carolina 23-13 in Williams Brice Stadium for their fourth straight win in the series 2017 RECORD: 7-6 overall; 4-4 in SEC (Tied for 3rd in East) Head Coach… Mark Stoops is going into his sixth year with the Wildcats and currently holds a 26-36 overall record; 12-32 in the SEC, 0-2 in bowl games, and 2-12 against Top 25 opponents. He has led Kentucky to back-to-back winning seasons (16-17) for the first time since the 2008-2009 seasons. All four of those years they went 7-6. In 2018, Stoops has 15 starters returning from his 2017 bowl team, including stand-out talents like Benny Snell, Mike Edwards, Josh Allen and Derrick Baity. Stoops will look to get Kentucky to their third straight bowl appearance and potentially the most wins Kentucky football has had since 2007 when they won eight games and were ranked as high as number eight in the country. Returning Starters… OFFENSE (7) *RB, Benny Snell (5-11, 223) Junior WR, Tavin Richardson (6-3, 207) Junior TE, CJ Conrad (6-5, 252) Senior C, Drake Jackson (6-2, 303) Sophomore RG, Jervontius Stallings (6-3, 305) Senior *LG, Logan Stenberg (6-6, 320) Junior RT, George Asafo-Adjei (6-5, 215) Senior DEFENSE (8) DE, Joshua Paschal (6-3, 285) Sophomore DT, Phil Hoskins (6-5, 306) Senior *LB, Josh Allen (6-5, 252) Senior LB, Jordan Jones (6-2, 218) Senior CB, Lonnie Johnson (6-3, 206) Sophomore *CB, Derrick Baity (6-3, 188) Senior SS, Darius West (6-2, 210) Senior *FS, Mike Edwards (6-0, 201) Senior How did they fare in 2017? Kentucky is coming off of their second straight winning season (7-6) under Mark Stoops. They lost a tough game against the Northwestern Wildcats in the Music City Bowl by a score of 24-23. This team returns a lot of talented veterans on defense and majority of their starters on offense as well from last year’s team. Their leading tackler last season was their Safety, Mike Edwards, who totaled 97 tackles, one sack, three tackles-for-loss, seven pass break-ups, four interceptions and one quarterback hurry. The Wildcats started 3-0 last year that included their fourth straight victory over the Gamecocks. They had the chance to finally beat Florida for the first time in 31 years (November 15, 1986) but only put 10 guys on the field in the waning moments that kept the Gators game-winning drive alive. After a 5-1 start, though, Kentucky stumbled down the stretch going 2-4 with wins against Tennessee, 29-26, and Vanderbilt, 44-21. Best Returning Player… RB, Benny Snell (5-11, 223) Junior In 2017, Snell rushed for 1,371 yards on 262 carries and scored 19 rushing touchdowns. He also hauled in 10 receptions for 72 yards. According to Pro Football Focus, Snell forced 44 missed tackles in 2017 (also forced 44 missed tackles in 2016) which was 14 more than the next running back in the SEC — Damien Harris of Alabama and Aeris Williams of Mississippi State both forced 30 missing tackles He has a career 1,638 yards after contact in just two seasons with the Wildcats (884 in 2017; 754 in 2016) Voted to the Preseason All-SEC First Team for the 2018 season along with Damien Harris Overall Outlook… With all the experienced talent returning in 2018, the Wildcats have a chance to have their best season of the past decade. They haven’t won more than seven games since 2007 when they won eight games in back-to-back years under head coach Rich Brooks. There is enough talent on this team to compete with the majority of their schedule and they will be driven to extend their unpredictable run against the Gamecocks. While there is great talent in spots on this team, the depth isn’t there. Kentucky is starting a new quarterback this year as well so there will be some growing pains in that area. Ultimately, this team can compete and will be a tough out for every team they play; but they’ve had talent before and couldn’t get over the seven win hump. The possibility for eight wins is there in the regular season but it won’t come without an upset or two. 2018 SEASON PROJECTION: 8-4 (with a win against Florida)
  20. SEC 2018 Conference Championship Odds: Who Will Win, Best Value, Top Longshot July 29, 2018 The latest SEC Conference Championship Odds are out from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. Who’ll win, what’s the best long shot and what’s the best value? SEC Alabama 5/8 Georgia 5/2 Auburn 7/1 Mississippi State 12/1 Florida 18/1 LSU 18/1 Missouri 20/1 South Carolina 30/1 Texas A&M 30/1 Tennessee 100/1 Arkansas 300/1 Kentucky 300/1 Vanderbilt 500/1 RELATED CFN Preview 2018: SEC Preview The Right Play Alabama: There’s no value with the 5/8 odds, and it’s a boring pick and a boring way to go through the investing life, but the right answer is the right answer. Not only is this the best team in the SEC – and probably college football – but the schedule works out well with three of the four conference games against teams that didn’t go bowling last season, and LSU the one truly dangerous showdown. There’s no Georgia, no Florida, no South Carolina, and the Auburn date is at home. The Best Value South Carolina: It’s all about the SEC opener against Georgia on September 8th. If the Gamecocks can pull that off at home, the 30/1 odds will drop through the floor like a rock. The Florida game is on the road, but there’s no Alabama, LSU or Auburn to face from the West, and the SEC road games against Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Ole Miss are as easy as it gets in this league. Stay Away From … Mississippi State: At only 12/1, there’s no real value in a very good team with a new head coach, a star quarterback coming off a major injury, and with a schedule that includes road games at Alabama and LSU. If the Bulldogs were big underdogs – like more than 30/1 – maybe they’d be a fun flier, but this isn’t the year they’re winning the West. The Top Longshot Tennessee: The Vols are miles away from being back to the national championship level the fan base thinks they should be at, but at 100/1 the odds are fantastic in a maybe-just-maybe sort of way. They get Florida at home, and the annual date against Alabama is in Knoxville, too. They have to go to Georgia and South Carolina, but if Jeremy Pruitt can get the lines together in a hurry, and if there’s some semblance of an offense, maybe-just … nah. But at 100/1 …
  21. The SEC vote is in: Here’s where Gamecocks expected to finish in 2018 July 20, 2018 South Carolina finished second in the SEC East last season, and the media members who cover the conference think they’ll do it again this year. The league released its official media preseason predictions Friday morning, compiled from the just completed SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Gamecocks were picked to finished just behind defending conference champion Georgia in their division. Alabama, the defending national champion, was the media’s pick to win the overall conference crown this year. SEC Media Predictions (First place votes in parenthesis) SEC East Georgia (271) 1,977 South Carolina (8) 1,535 Florida (4) 1,441 Missouri 1,057 Kentucky (1) 874 Tennessee (1) 704 Vanderbilt 392 SEC West Alabama (263) 1,971 Auburn (19) 1,664 Mississippi State (2) 1,239 Texas A&M 1,091 LSU 1,025 Ole Miss 578 Arkansas 412 SEC Champion Alabama (193) Georgia (69) Auburn (14) South Carolina (4) Florida (2) Mississippi State (1) Missouri (1)
  22. #SEC Media Days 2018: Mason thinks best is ahead for Vanderbilt (AUDIO) JULY 19, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Derek Mason likes his team and the additions he made to his staff USC has what appears to be a favorable SEC schedule for 2018. The Gamecocks will host Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee and will travel to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Florida. We’re previewing the Gamecocks’ SEC opponents from Media Days 2018 in Atlanta. Here’s a look at Vanderbilt which just finished out of the bowl picture last season with a 5-7 record. Head Coach: Derek Mason (5th season, 18-31, 6-26 SEC) 2017 record: 5-7 SEC record: 1-7 Postseason: None Returning Starters: 8 offense 4 defense 0 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Kyle Shurmur (2823-26-10); WR Kalija Lipscomb (37-610-8) Top returners on defense: SAF LaDarius Wiley (88 TT 5 PBU), LB Charles Wright (43 TT, 10.5 TFL, 9 SKS) The USC game: September 22nd in Nashville Mason gives his preview of the Commodores
  23. SEC coach on USC assistant: ‘He’ll be a coordinator and head coach in this league’ July 19, 2018 LinkedIn Google+ Pinterest Reddit Print Order Reprint of this Story Gus Malzahn gave Bobby Bentley his first big break with an SEC program. Now the Auburn coach sees bigger things for South Carolina’s running backs coach. “He’ll be a coordinator and head coach in this league,” Malzahn said at SEC Media Days. Bentley was brought on by Malzahn as an analyst in 2014. After two years, Bentley made the jump to position coach at USC. But that was after a dominant run as a high school coach at Byrnes, where he built a dynasty and won for consecutive state titles. It was that high school background that first connected the two men, as Byrnes faced Malzahn’s Springdale team in 7-on-7 events. “We just developed a good relationship and I just felt like he had a good chance of being a big-time coach in college,” Malzahn said. “When I first got here in 2013, I really tried to make an effort to get more good guys in college football. He was one of the guys that I felt real strong about could get to college football and be successful. That would get to college football, make a difference in kids’ lives. Take the business side out.” Bentley had been head coach at Presbyterian for two seasons, and then returned to Byrnes as offensive coordinator and then a short stint as head coach. This season, USC returns a deep and experienced backfield looking for better production. With Bentley living in Auburn, it meant his son Jake, now South Carolina’s quarterback, was playing out his high school football career in town. Jake Bentley jumped to the college level, eschewing his senior year, so he, like his father, went right from Auburn to the Gamecocks. “Jake, he’s a phenomenal player,” Malzahn said. “Very proud to watch him and that he’s successful. Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/sports/college/university-of-south-carolina/usc-football/article215156115.html#storylink=cpy
  24. #SEC Media Days 2018: Will Pruitt be the answer at Tennessee? (AUDIO) JULY 18, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Jeremy Pruitt is charged with bringing stability and winning back to Tennessee USC has what appears to be a favorable SEC schedule for 2018. The Gamecocks will host Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee and will travel to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Florida. We’re previewing the Gamecocks’ SEC opponents from Media Days 2018 in Atlanta. Here’s a look at Tennessee which turned to defensive guru Jeremy Pruitt, who has five national championship rings, in the hopes he can restore the program to its former glory. Head Coach: Jeremy Pruitt (1st season, 1st season as a head coach) 2017 record: 4-8 SEC record: 0-8 Postseason: None Returning Starters: 6 offense 7 defense 0 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Jarrett Guarantano (997-4-2), RB Ty Chandler (305-2); WR Brandon Johnson (37-482-1) Top returners on defense: LB Daniel Bituli (90 TT 3 TFL) The USC game: October 27th in Columbia Pruitt gives his preview of the Vols
  25. #SEC Media Days 2018: Saban talks, people listen (AUDIO) JULY 18, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Nick Saban is not sure about his starting quarterback at this point Our purpose this week at SEC Media Days is to bring you content from the coaches who will face USC this season. But, we do make exceptions, as we did with Chad Morris. So, Alabama’s Nick Saban held court today and whenever he speaks, it’s worth a listen. And, he does face The Citadel in late November. Head Coach: Nick Saban (12th season, 132-20, 75-13 SEC) 2017 record: 13-1 SEC record: 7-1 Postseason: Won Sugar Bowl, won CFP NC game Returning Starters: 7 offense 3 defense 2 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Jalen Hurts (2081-17-1), RB Damien Harris (1000-11), WR Jerry Jeudy (14-264-2) Top returners on defense: DL Raekwon Davis (69 TT, 10 TFL, 8 SKS), DE Anfernee Jennings (41 TT, 6 TFL, 1 SKS) Saban gives his preview of the Crimson Tide

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