South Carolina will pay Coastal Carolina $1.2 million to come to Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday for the season-opener. In exchange, the Gamecocks are expecting a victory.
Everyone else is expecting it, too. South Carolina is a 30-point favorite against the Chanticleers, who are in their second season in FBS. It’s hard to predict if the Gamecocks will cover that number, but it’s not difficult to project a victory. Now on to the more interesting part of the first game of the season.
What will we see from South Carolina’s updated, up-tempo offense? More specifically, what will No. 3 Georgia see?
Head coach Will Muschamp and his players won’t talk about the Bulldogs, who come to Williams-Brice Stadium next week, but everyone else is thinking about that matchup. South Carolina offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon will call the second game of his career against Coastal Carolina. The first was the Outback Bowl last year, when the Gamecocks beat 26-19.
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In the eight months since that game, South Carolina has worked to fully implement McClendon’s ideas, specifically that the offense needs the ability to go fast.
The ability to go fast is different from the necessity to go fast. All Muschamp and McClendon have committed to in the offseason is the fact that South Carolina’s offense will line up quickly before each snap. At times, the Gamecocks will snap the ball right away. At other times, they will take their time and potentially get a new play called in from the sideline.
The Gamecocks will beat Coastal no matter what speed they go, so the calculation that McClendon and company have to make heading into the game is whether they will throw everything they have in terms of pace and plays at the Chanticleers or hold something back in one area or another for the Bulldogs.
There’s a case to be made for either approach. Live game reps will be invaluable for an offense hoping to find its stride, but any surprise it can save for Georgia will be an advantage it’s likely to need at the time.
Prediction: South Carolina 48, Coastal Carolina 14