After a very impressive 2011 season, the South Carolina Gamecocks hope to improve over its 11-2 season.
So can the Gamecocks duplicate or even improve on last season, here is a little glimpse into South Carolina’s 2012 season.
August 30th – at Vanderbilt
Yet again, the Gamecocks find themselves opening the season on a Thursday night. This time it’s against a team that has given the Gamecocks problems year after year.
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin has changed the attitude of the Commodores’ football program, so will it be the difference?
Not this year. The Commodores will prove to be a tough foe like normal for the Gamecocks, but Heisman Trophy candidate RB Marcus Lattimore will want to prove that the knee injury from last year did not slow him down at all.
This game will be close for three quarters, but the Gamecocks will prove late in the game why they open the season ranked No. 9.
Gamecocks 31, Commodores 21
September 8th – vs. East Carolina
The Gamecocks face the team they opened the season in 2011 in its home opener in 2012.
East Carolina starts a stretch of three consecutive home games for the Gamecocks.
However, the Pirates don’t pack the same punch that they did last season, so South Carolina should easily handle East Carolina.
Gamecocks 37, Pirates 24
September 15th – vs. UAB
This game is simple. It’s a warm-up game for the Gamecocks before jumping into the meat of its schedule.
UAB scores points late as the Gamecocks’ spread playing time around.
Gamecocks 45, Blazers 17
September 22nd – vs. Missouri
The first ‘Battle of Columbia’ is the Gamecocks’ second conference game of the season.
The Tigers will be a tough test for the Gamecocks, as Missouri competes in its first season in the SEC. There is a natural adjustment period as Missouri moves from the Big 12.
This game will be a closer game than many people would anticipate. Even with all the scouting equipment around, there is no comparison for being on the same field.
South Carolina might struggle early, but will show off the power of the SEC late.
Gamecocks 27, Tigers 17
September 29th – at Kentucky
You don’t have to go too far back to look at Gamecock disappointments in Lexington. Just two years ago, after a upset of Alabama, the Gamecocks were upset by the Wildcats.
There is no question the Gamecocks will have revenge on the mind in 2012. However, this game might be close early on, as South Carolina looks ahead to potentially the SEC Eastern Division Championship Game the following week against Georgia.
At the end of the day, the Gamecocks will just be too much for the Wildcats.
Gamecocks 38, Wildcats 24
October 6th – vs. Georgia
This is going to be the most important game for the Gamecocks in 2012. It could come down to this game to determine who plays in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.
Gamecocks’ head coach Steve Spurrier added fuel to this rivalry earlier this year, when he commented that the later game date would allow Georgia’s suspended players to be back in time.
Both teams are very even, and this should be one of the best games in college football this season. The difference, is where this game will be played.
Gamecocks 24, Bulldogs 17
October 13th – at LSU
LSU has dealt with a lot this off-season. The biggest came just a few weeks ago when Heisman Trophy finalist CB Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from the program.
Also, QB Jordan Jefferson is gone, and QB Zach Mettenberger takes over for Les Miles.
Fans of the SEC know that it is about impossible to go to Baton Rouge and expect to win on the road. This trip for the Gamecocks will be no different.
The difference in this game will be its location, giving the Tigers the edge.
Tigers 23, Gamecocks 16
October 20th – at Florida
There is nothing like following up a trip to LSU, with a trip to Gainesville. For the Gamecocks, that’s how this season shapes up.
Florida is still a year or two away from being serious contenders in the SEC East, but will prove to be a tough battle for the Gamecocks in 2012.
But Steve Spurrier knows how to win in Gainesville. A week after losing to LSU, the Gamecocks will come out slow, but ultimately find a way to win.
Gamecocks 23, Gators 20
October 27th – vs. Tennessee
This game screams ‘trap game’ for the Gamecocks in 2012. However this game might be critical in the Gamecocks pursuit of winning the SEC.
Tennessee could be the surprise of the SEC this season. They probably won’t make it to Atlanta, but they might surprise some teams. This could be one of those surprises.
If the Volunteers can stay healthy, this might be a tougher game for South Carolina than anticipated.
But the comforts of Williams-Brice Stadium prove to be the difference again, as the Gamecocks pull out the victory.
Gamecocks 24, Volunteers 14
November 10th – vs. Arkansas
If there is one question that the Gamecocks’ fans would like answered, it is how on earth do you win against Arkansas?
This is the year this might get answered. For all of the off-field issues that the Razorbacks have faced since last season, it might be a struggle at times for John L. Smith and Arkansas.
Arkansas still gets to a bowl game, but dreams of winning the SEC West might be extreme.
This will be a very even game, and high scoring again. But Williams-Brice Stadium will make the difference.
Gamecocks 45, Razorbacks 38
November 17th – vs. Wofford
There is no secret that the Gamecocks struggle against the triple option. There is also no secret that the Gamecocks struggle against in-state rival Wofford.
Most of the time, this would be viewed as an easy game. However, the Gamecocks don’t play well against Wofford.
This year will be different. It won’t be pretty, but the Gamecocks prove that they can handle Wofford.
Gamecocks 32, Terriers 10
November 24th – at Clemson
What is there to say about this game, except that it’s a rivalry game. Georgia is the most important game this season, but this one is a close second.
Georgia makes the difference in whether the Gamecocks get a 13th game in Atlanta. This game could make the difference whether you play a bowl game before, or after January 1st.
This game has the potential to be a Top-10 match-up, and both of the teams are very evenly matched.
But the team that is battle-tested, the Gamecocks, ultimately win this ‘Battle of the Palmetto State.’
Gamecocks 28, Tigers 24
Final record: 11-1 overall, 7-1 in SEC East