South Carolina fans shouldn’t spend time worrying about having a first-year starter at quarterback this season.
For starters, it seems to be a lucky charm in recent seasons.
Seven of the past 10 quarterbacks to start the BCS national championship game were first-year starters – Alabama’s Greg McElroy and A.J. McCarron, Auburn’s Cam Newton and Nick Marshall, Oregon’s Darron Thomas, Notre Dame’s Everett Golson and Florida State’s Jameis Winston. Four of those newcomers won the title.
And then there’s math. A recent study by CollegeFootballMatrix.com found that teams returning both their kicker and punter (which the Gamecocks are) had a better comparative winning rate than those returning their starting quarterback.
Besides, pretty much everybody else in the SEC in going to have a new signal caller. Auburn (Marshall), Florida (Jeff Driskel, who started the 2013 season before missing most of the year due to a broken leg), Kentucky (Jalen Whitlow), Ole Miss (Bo Wallace) and Mississippi State (Dak Prescott) are the only league teams likely to have a returning starter under center.
So, why bother worrying about senior Dylan Thompson?
“He’s doing exactly what we thought he’d do,” USC coach Steve Spurrier said. “He’s been here five years; he’s ready to take charge and encourage the guys. He’s a lot like Connor. He does everything the coaches ask, and he’s a good student. We don’t have to worry about his conduct or anything like that. He’s played a bit.”