2012 South Carolina Gamecocks Football Preview, Breaking Down the Schedule

Breaking Down the 2012 Schedule for USC…

Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

With the SEC media days having just wrapped up this past week, it is time to take a look at the upcoming football schedule for the South Carolina Gamecocks.

After a historic 11-win season in 2011, the expectations are just as high, if not higher, for 2012. USC returns a lot of talent and experience, particularly at quarterback, runningback, and the offensive and defensive lines.

After missing out on the eastern division title last season, despite beating every team in the division, USC will again have an uphill battle in comparison to Georgia, who won the east last year. While the Gamecocks must travel to LSU and host Arkansas, the Bulldogs avoid all of the top teams of the western division. They instead will face Ole Miss (who went 2-10, 0-8 in the SEC last season) at home and travel to Auburn to face the Tigers.

With that being said, the Gamecocks’ caught a couple breaks also, and it is time to preview and predict the upcoming schedule.

Week 1 (Aug. 30th @ Vanderbilt)

Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

When you say “Vanderbilt”, it doesn’t exactly trigger fear in the college football community. However, it won’t be easy for the Gamecocks when they travel to Nashville to open up the season on a Thursday night. After a surprisingly good season last year where the Commodores went 6-7 (2-6 SEC) the VU fans will be loud and confident against the Gamecocks. They have good reason to be confident as the Commodores went 5-2 at home last season. Their two losses to Georgia and Arkansas, two top fifteen teams, came by a combined eight points.

Prediction: The plethora of talent the Gamecocks have on the defensive line will be too much for the Commodore offense to handle, USC 24-10.

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Week 2 (Sep. 8th vs. East Carolina)

Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

USC opened up last season against the Pirates, in Charlotte, and came from behind to get by ECU 56-37. While the Pirates put up a fight, star quarterback Dominique Davis is graduated and gone and the game will be in Columbia this time.

Prediction: USC 49-17

Week 3 (Sep. 15th vs. UAB)

Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

Not too much to analyze right here. The Blazers are coming off of a 3-9 season in 2011 where they failed to win a game out of conference. While they return some talent, it isn’t enough to knock off an SEC team.

Predicition: USC 52-20

Week 4 (Sep 22nd vs. Missouri)

Jonathan Brownfield-US PRESSWIRE

The Gamecocks will be welcoming new SEC East member Mizzou to the conference in Week 4. There should be plenty of excitement in Columbia for this one. The Tigers will bring plenty of talent, including returning quarterback James Franklin and a freshman wide receiver, Dorial Green-Beckham, who was ranked as the No. 1 overall recruit last season. In addition, I have a feeling that the Tigers will be coming off a loss at home to Georgia, so they will be desperate. Marcus Lattimore will come through when the Gamecocks need it most and they will overcome the Franklin-led Tigers.

Prediction: USC 31-28

Week 5 (Sep 29th @ Kentucky)

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

USC will head to Lexington with a 4-0, 1-0 SEC record and run into a Wildcat team that did not pack much of a punch last season, going 5-7 (2-6 SEC). USC destroyed Kentucky in Columbia last year, 54-3.

Prediction: Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor will again destroy the revolving door that is Kentucky quarterbacks, USC 27-3.

Week 6 (October 6th vs. Georgia)

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Mark this one on your calenders, Gamecock fans, as this will likely determine who represents the east in the SEC title game (sorry Gator fans). Both teams will arrive with top ten rankings and high aspirations. In addition, UGA and USC return experience at many key positions and the Bulldogs will try to end a two game losing streak against the Gamecocks.

Prediction: Marcus Lattimore will carry the Gamecocks to victory against UGA for the third straight year and will limit All-American quarterback Aaron Murray just enough to preserve a 20-17 USC victory.

Week 7 (Oct 13th @ LSU)

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Exactly one week after likely playing their most important game of the season, the Gamecocks face their toughest opponent in the LSU Tigers. LSU was the SEC champion last season and made it all the way to the national championship game, where they lost to archrival Alabama. To make matters worse, USC must travel to Death Valley, arguably the toughest stadium in the country to play in as a visitor.

Prediction: This one will be a tight contest throughout, but Heisman hopeful, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu will get a late interception for the TIgers. LSU 13-10.

Week 8 (Oct. 20th @Florida)

As usual, everyone will make a big deal out of USC head coach Steve Spurrier returning to The Swamp, where he both played and coached, and where he won a heisman trophy and a national title. The last time the Gamecocks traveled to Gainesville, they clinched the eastern division. They won’t be in that position this time, but they will be looking to prove that they again are the best team in the east. If USC can escape with a win here, they have almost assured themselves of another SEC title game appearance.

Prediction: When it comes down to it, the Gamecocks will want this one more. Florida will be suffering through another less-than-stellar season and USC will be looking for their third straight win against the Gators. USC 27-13.

Week 9 (Oct. 27th vs. Tennessee)

Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE

It was a dogfight between these two teams last season that ended in a 14-3 USC victory. However, the Vols were without quarterback Tyler Bray, who is a pro prospect and can pick apart a defense. Bray will keep the Vols in this one.

Prediction: USC clinches the SEC east for the second time in three years with a late field goal. USC 30-28.

Week 11 (Nov. 10th vs. Arkansas)

Beth Hall-US PRESSWIRE

The Gamecocks have struggled against the Hogs of late, losing the last three contests. Two years ago in Columbia, the Ryan Mallet-led Razorbacks demolished USC and derailed their season.

Prediction: While the Gamecocks will have clinched the east, they will look to stay in the BCS hunt and get some revenge on Arky. Coming off a bye week well rested, USC 27-17.

Week 12 (Nov. 17th vs. Wofford)

Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE

USC better be careful with this game as it will be the week before the Clemson game and right after the Gamecocks have wrapped up the SEC season. However, they shouldn’t have any troubles. With that being said, USC likes to struggle against Wofford.

Prediction: USC 37-20.

Week 13 (Nov. 24th @Clemson)

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

The Battle of the Palmetto State, the rivalry, whatever you want to call it, it is going to be a big game. Clemson has a load of young talent and the game will be in Clemson this season, making it especially tough for the Gamecocks. Both teams will likely be looking forward to conference championship games and the stakes and bragging rights will be enormous.

Prediction: USC has the momentum in the series, having won the last three. In addition, a lack of experience and talent on the defensive line will allow Lattimore to gouge the Clemson defense. USC 41-34 in an exciting one.

Overview: If the season goes as discussed, the Gamecocks will record their second straight eleven win season and will be looking for more. USC should be in the BCS hunt, at the very least. The main concern for the Gamecocks will be their habit of losing a game they shouldn’t. If they can avoid that, look for a big season.

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