David Cloninger

David Cloninger’s USC-UNC gameday forecast, prediction

gmelendez@thestate.com

It’s here.

The horn sounded in Shreveport and South Carolina was happy, but not overjoyed. The Gamecocks fought their feathers off to earn a 7-6 season and were justifiably pleased with that result – but disappointed when they saw how close they were to being right in line with that brilliant 42-win stretch over the previous four seasons.

Changes have occurred. New faces are in crucial positions. After an offseason of statements, reversals, rumors and denials, the 2015 season dawns.

The Gamecocks are being picked down, as they should be. There are simply too many large questions to think this team will have a fantastic season. But there aren’t any reasons to say they definitively won’t, either.

It starts Thursday night. One game could start a very nice stretch and give USC a foothold, although a brutal October schedule could crumble that rather quickly. It’s just one game, though, and I think the Gamecocks will find one momentum-turning defensive play, and they’ll get just enough from their most talented players to get by.

Connor Mitch will be solid, the other newbies won’t have too many glaring mistakes. In the end, a close game will be won the way it was a lot of times last year – the right leg of Elliott Fry.

Steve Spurrier makes Carolina blue one more time.

SOUTH CAROLINA 27, NORTH CAROLINA 24

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