Will South Carolina overlook fill-in-the-blank?
It’s among the top five questions I get every season during weeks like this. The No. 12 Gamecocks play Coastal Carolina, a 10-1 football team that plays in the Football Championship Subdivision (the old Division I-AA). There are a handful of reasons South Carolina could be less than fully focused on the Chanticleers, the first being they are a second division team. Then there’s the SEC East implications riding on Saturday’s late game between Ole Miss and Missouri. And, of course, there’s next week’s Clemson game, which is plenty to make the mind wander. (Most of my interaction with fans this week, in fact, has centered around the game against the Tigers.)
So, will the Gamecocks overlook Coastal Carolina? It’s impossible to know, just like it always is in this situation. South Carolina’s coaches and players say all the right things. Coaches and players in these games always say all the right things. No one in the history of college football (that I can remember at least) has said, “Heck yeah, we are looking ahead to next week. I can’t even tell you who we’re playing this week.”
As hard as it is to know right now if South Carolina might peek past Saturday’s game, it’ll be easy to tell in the first quarter. Here’s the thing, though: it probably won’t matter. The Chanticleers are a good football team that could be playing for a while in the FCS playoffs. They are not, however, a threat to a top 15 FBS team, which the Gamecocks are. As we pointed out in Friday’s paper, the last four times Coastal Carolina has played a team from a BCS conference, it has lost by a combined score of 205-16.
The Gamecocks will miss Kelcy Quarles against the Chanticleers running game, and their offense hasn’t fully clicked in a month so this may not be a 45-point blowout, but it will be a win. South Carolina 40, Coastal Carolina 10
Around the SEC:
Hey, speaking of looking ahead, over in Alabama, they are trying to figure out what the line of next week’s Alabama-Auburn game is going to be. The smart money right now is on the Crimson Tide minus-14. Man, for all the talk about the Tigers being a threat, that’s a big line.
Mark Stoops has entered that tricky time in his tenure where losses are mounting and players are beginning to wonder if this thing is going to work out or not. Kentucky has suspended three players from Saturday’s game against Georgia.
You think Missouri’s next two games are big for South Carolina? What about for the Tigers? Here’s a video of two St. Louis columnists discussing how Missouri can change the arc of its program with two more wins.
Can Ole Miss stop the Missouri pass rush? That’s probably the biggest question heading into that game.