Josh Kendall

Kendall’s prediction: USC has chance to turn season around but must start soon

Five games into South Carolina’s football season, Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp is torn between his appreciation for his team’s process and his disgust with its production.

Disgust may seem a strong word, but Muschamp was asked this week if he could come up with something that he was pleased with from the start of South Carolina’s season, and he said this: “At the end of the day, we are not where we want to be. We’ll reflect on the season when it’s over, but right now we’re not where we want to be.”

He didn’t sound like a man who was interested in looking at the bright side, but then later in the same news conference, he had kind words for the way his players have approached the season.

“Oh, I have a lot of confidence in this football team,” he said. “We’ve had our share of adversity and things out of our control, but I think our guys have responded extremely well and I’ve had all the confidence in the world as far as how we will respond Saturday, there is no question.”

How the Gamecocks (3-2, 1-2 SEC) respond against Arkansas will be crucial to how the rest of their season unfolds. The Razorbacks (2-2, 0-1) are two-point favorites but hardly unbeatable. Their only victories this year have come against Florida A&M and New Mexico State. Their losses have come to TCU and Texas A&M.

South Carolina has lost two of its last three games but has some smooth road ahead. Its next three opponents – the Razorbacks, Tennessee and Vanderbilt – are a combined 0-5 in the SEC. The Gamecocks can right the ship in the next month, but that will be very difficult if they lose to the Hogs.

Prediction: South Carolina 24, Arkansas 21