2022 South Carolina Gamecocks Preview

by Matt Fargo

South Carolina Gamecocks

2021-22 Season Record 7-6 (3-5 SEC East) - 6-6-1 ATS - 6-7-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 9
Defense - 5

Overview

It has been a rough few years for South Carolina football since former head coach Steve Spurrier had them rolling with three consecutive 11-2 finishes in 2011-2013 and three final top ten rankings. He slipped the final year and a half he was there and Will Muschamp came into a good situation but could not sustain a winning culture. Since that three-year run, the Gamecocks have gone 45-54 with just three winning seasons at 7-6 but one of those was last season under first year head coach Shane Beamer as they secured a bowl bid with an impressive win over Auburn in the second to last game of the season and then took North Carolina to the woodshed in their bowl game. South Carolina has some solid momentum going into this season along with a returning production ranking of No. 36 as well as bringing in a slew of top transfers that will make some noise right away.

Offense

The offense has slipped over the last four seasons with no semblance of a passing game over the last three but that should change this season. The Gamecocks finished No. 116 in total offense and No. 109 in scoring offense as they had a handful of really good games but a bunch of duds as well and they will need to become more consistent which starts at quarterback. They finished No. 74 in passing efficiency offense behind three quarterbacks, none of which could take charge. Enter Oklahoma transfer Spencer Rattler who was great for the Sooners before losing his job where he went 15-2 as a starter and was First-Team All-Big 12 in 2020. There is plenty of depth at receiver and a wild card could be Antwane Wells who is coming in from James Madison. The running game should be better with an improved passing game along with an offensive line that returns four starters.

Defense

The success last season can be attributed to a defense that got a ton better from the previous season as they improved by nearly 100 ypg and 12 ppg. The Gamecocks finished No. 44 in total defense and No. 47 in scoring defense and they had only three bad games all season and all on the road at Georgia, Tennessee and Texas A&M. They did lose some starters and have a returning production defensive ranking of No. 76 but they should be just fine. The secondary led the way last season and should do so again behind safeties R.J. Roderick and newcomer Devonni Reed to go along with corner Cam Smith to form a very experienced unit. There was very little pass rush last season as South Carolina had just 26 sacks which was No. 78 in the country and there is enough coming back, especially at linebacker, and incoming transfer help for the front six to get a bigger push.

2022 Season Outlook

It is never easy for a middle of the road SEC team to make a big jump and compete with the likes of Alabama and Georgia and that is what South Carolina has endured over the last few seasons. They have been blown out by Georgia in six of the last seven years and have faced Alabama only once over the last decade and miss them again this season and that is something it has to take advantage of. The problem is there are numerous SEC teams on the upswing and the Gamecocks face a lot of them this season. Besides Clemson to end the season, the nonconference slate is not bad but the SEC position is brutal and facing Arkansas and Georgia in the first two games is not ideal. They also have Florida and Kentucky on the road and Tennessee and Texas A&M at home. The O/U win total is set at 6 and the only way to get there is with one or two upsets but this roster is capable of that. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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