College football analyst Chuck Oliver doesn’t believe South Carolina can beat Georgia or Clemson this season, but that doesn’t mean he’s not high on the Gamecocks.
“What do I expect of them after they lose Week 2 to Georgia?” Oliver asked Monday on the opening day of SEC Media Days. “I honestly expect they could win every other game except Clemson, and it would surprise me if they don’t win every other game other than Clemson.”
Oliver, an Atlanta sports radio host and longtime college football analyst, thinks the Gamecocks could finish with as many as 11 wins in head coach Will Muschamp’s third season.
“You tell a South Carolina fan they are going to finish with nine or 10 regular season wins and then you’re playing one of those really good bowl games, maybe you’re in Miami, maybe you’re in Atlanta, maybe you’re in one of those New Year’s Six bowls, folks that’s not nothing, especially for a head coach who recruits a state where there just aren’t players,” Oliver said.
The difference in the Gamecocks and their SEC East rival Bulldogs at the moment is on the line of scrimmage, Oliver said.
“It’s still about the big ’uns up front and even though you’ve got some grown men, some upperclassmen, (D.J.) Wonnum is a ball player, on the offense from center all the way out to left tackle, grown men, experienced, returning starters, they are not on the same level as Georgia yet,” he said. “And in a ferociously competitive conference like the SEC, it’s still about moving people around the field every Saturday. I don’t think they are deep enough or talented enough to beat Georgia even in Week 2 before depth really rears its ugly head, and they don’t play the same game Clemson does, but there truly isn’t anybody else on that schedule that I will say they will be overmatched.
Danny Sheridan, an analyst and handicapper for USA Today, last week predicted USC would win eight games at most in the upcoming season, and likely only seven. Missouri has a better chance than USC to win the SEC in 2018, according to odds from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
Oliver is more bullish on the Gamecocks’ chances this year.
“The needle is pointing north and he’s getting the talent level improved all across that roster,” Oliver said.
SOUTH CAROLINA 2018 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 1 Coastal Carolina, noon (SEC Network)
Sept. 8 Georgia*, 3:30 pm (CBS)
Sept. 15 Marshall, 7:30 pm (ESPNU)
Sept. 22 at Vanderbilt*
Sept. 29 at Kentucky*
Oct. 6 Missouri*
Oct. 13 Texas A&M*
Oct. 27 Tennessee*
Nov. 3 at Ole Miss*
Nov. 10 at Florida*
Nov. 17 Chattanooga
Nov. 24 at Clemson