Gamecock football finally returns as USC takes on UNC tomorrow afternoon in Charlotte.
The odds are in favor of the Gamecocks, but a lot of people, including Kirk Herbstreit, have South Carolina on upset watch.
This is mostly due to the fact that UNC brought back head coach Mack Brown, who had success with them before.
Despite all that, I think South Carolina will handle this one.
Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow, but here are three bold predictions as to what I think will happen.
Rico Dowdle ends game as RB1
Yes, the Gamecocks got Clemson transfer Tavien Feaster.
However, if you think that Dowdle is going to just sit back and let Feaster take his job, you’re wrong.
Dowdle’s career has been plagued with injuries, but he has also shown flashes of excellence.
The senior has been through some tough times, including dealing with Kurt Roper’s offense, but he will show this year that he can be the primary running back since he’s finally healthy.
I expect Feaster and Dowdle to get a fair share of carries tomorrow, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Dowdle ended up as the full-time starter.
5+ sacks and 3 INT for the Gamecocks defense
This seems like an impossible number for any team, but South Carolina’s defense will be hungry.
They also return a lot of talent and will have fun tearing up North Carolina’s offense.
The Tar Heels are starting true freshman Sam Howell, who will no doubt struggle a bit in his first collegiate game.
I know that Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu will show off their skills early, and we will get to see just how good true freshman Jammie Robinson is at nickelback.
As for the sacks, South Carolina will return a lot of talent on the defensive line.
DJ Wonnum is finally healthy, Javon Kinlaw is back, along with freshman Zacch Pickens, will tear up the interior.
UNC is also starting a freshman and two sophomores on their offensive line.
The way South Carolina plays in their season openers, I see no reason why the defense can’t have a field day.
0 INT for QB1
I’m crossing my fingers while writing this because I know I’ll end up jinxing it somehow.
Jake Bentley will be entering his final season as a Gamecock and he has one more chance to prove that he is one of the top quarterbacks in next year’s draft class.
The biggest stat I’ve seen is that Bentley’s touchdown to interception ratio in season openers is 7-1.
Bentley is by no means a perfect quarterback and his decision making isn’t always the best. However, for some reason, he always shows up in season openers.
He will also have reliable targets like Bryan Edwards, Shi Smith, OrTre Smith, etc.
UNC had the number 48 pass defense last year and Bentley should have the opportunity to have a big day tomorrow.
I know every South Carolina fan is excited about tomorrow’s game, but I’m sure there is also some uncertainty about how this team will look this year.
Personally, I’m not worried about Muschamp’s best team losing to a two win team with a true freshman quarterback.
If South Carolina wins, they will have a good start to what will be a pretty stressful and difficult year.