Josh Kendall: Gamecocks will overpower Chants
Will USC overlook _______?
It’s among the top five questions I get during weeks such as this. The No. 12 Gamecocks play Coastal Carolina, a 10-1 football team that plays in the FCS.
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, like it always is in this situation. USC’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) 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 this week, the last four times Coastal Carolina has played a team from a BCS conference, it has lost by a combined score of 205-16.
Prediction: USC 40, Coastal Carolina 10
David Cloninger: Gamecocks can't look ahead
It’s hard to get a handle on Coastal Carolina.
The Chanticleers have won 10 games. Nobody wins 10 games by accident, at any level.
They’re coached by a businessman who also is a heck of a football mind.
They’re a team chock-full of instate talent, who might not have been good enough to receive a scholarship to an FBS school but are plenty good enough for this team gunning for an FCS playoff berth. They would dearly love to prove they belong.
The Gamecocks sometimes have struggled against these kinds of teams. There’s no chance of looking ahead to that game next week, because USC hasn’t done enough to look past the next day of practice, much less the next opponent.
Despite being down to one healthy running back, despite Connor Shaw being and coming off a bad game, I don’t see USC losing this game. Coastal might make it interesting, but at least Coastal isn’t one of those tricky triple-option teams that have given the Gamecocks fits.
This is a game to get better. The defense needs to stop opponents from scoring first. The offense needs to find solutions to why it’s suddenly not been on for the past month, and show it can be on. Special teams — well, everyone not named Elliott Fry just needs to play better.
Still, though, it should be a comfortable day. Afterward, everybody can relax and tune in to the other game — Ole Miss-Missouri, with USC’s SEC East hopes hanging in the balance.
Prediction: USC 25, Coastal Carolina 10