Why Tempered Preseason Expectations Nationally Could Be A Good Thing For Gamecocks Football

For months now, we have witnessed many different power rankings, and record projections on the Gamecocks from a verity of sources.

Although several sources have the Gamecocks with above average projections, many have the Gamecocks ranked near the bottom of the SEC (typically only above Missouri or Vanderbilt). While this may at first fill you with rage, maybe it actually isn’t such a bad thing.

Every year, Carolina fans are rather irate at these preseason predictions. However, this year, their thoughts seem far more understandable. Popular sources, such as 247 Sports, Athlon Sports, CBS Sports, etc seem to have undervalued South Carolina on the 2022 season, far more than usual.

Even in the descriptions on a lot of these projections, the sources really seem to compliment South Carolina on their previous season. They also speak on how much stronger the Gamecocks will be as a team this season. That is right before placing them at #12 of #14 in SEC power rankings. 

That’s right. Below the Auburn Tigers, who finished 6-7, and had a downright pitiful Spring Game. Also, below the Florida Gators, who capped off a very disappointing season with a blowout loss to a “not-so-impressive” UCF team, and will have a brand new head coach, Billy Naiper.

Do I find these projections ridiculous? Yes. I believe South Carolina will be a higher finish in both the SEC and SEC East. On the other hand, am I mad at these preseason projections? Absolutely not! 

I have, and always will stand by the idea, that high season speculations can do more harm than good for a team. A preseason ranking does not affect a team’s record at the end of the season, and it does not grant them any championship bids.

It can however cause teams to overvalue themselves, and overlook opponents that appear weaker. Although most coaches do what they can to prevent these actions, they still occur all the time. 

Now let’s take a look at the other end. What can low season speculations do for a team? They can certainly motivate players. Instead of beginning the season highly ranked, players will instead feel the need to show the nation why they are talented and why all the projections and speculations are indeed wrong. 

They can also give teams the opportunity to catch higher ranked teams off guard. Remember South Carolina’s bone-crushing loss to Texas A&M in 2014. I guarantee you, not a soul on the Carolina side lines was expecting the Aggies to come out swinging as they did. 

Even Spencer Rattler said it himself, according to 247 sports, Rattler states, “I kind of like it. You don’t have as much hype on you. That’s what we want. We want to sneak up on people. We want to prove ourselves” (247 Sports).

From the sound of it, it appears that Rattler and the Carolina football team feels the exact same way. 

Let’s see if the Gamecocks can turn their underestimated projections around, and really come out and shock the College Football world. I believe they have the potential, Carolina fans believe they have the potential, but most importantly, the team seems to believe that they have the potential to do so.

Most of all, I believe the preseason projections on South Carolina will do nothing but help the team moving forward.

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