David Cloninger

Hard to decide what will appear on USC sideline

So South Carolina is back to Earth after Mississippi State exposed the Gamecocks’ weaknesses. It’s never good when the coach can only offer, “We got whipped” and not have any feasible solutions to fix the problems.

It’s not Will Muschamp’s fault – he didn’t walk into a rose garden. His players are his players this year, and he can scream until he’s garnet in the face about switching them in and out. It’s not going to help until he has serviceable options to replace the guys who aren’t performing.

So what happens this week? Home game, sure, but just like East Carolina, USC has a lot of guys who have never played at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks may start a new quarterback, and may have some new faces in the lineup, but they’re still going to have to find a way to start a game quickly and not have to play catch-up.

The Pirates are a veteran team and coming off a win over NC State. They know they can go up and down the field against anybody. USC, at least talking to the players on Tuesday, isn’t confident it will be better but hopes to be.

I’ve mentioned how hard it is to pick games this year because you never know what’s going to show up on USC’s sideline. So let’s go with pinning a tail on the donkey – Brandon McIlwain comes into his own, USC makes a couple of key stops and the Gamecocks head back on the road next week with a winning record.

SOUTH CAROLINA 24, EAST CAROLINA 21

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