The Gamecocks’ win total fell from nine in the 2017 season to seven last season, that coming after it rose from three (2015) to six (2016) to nine.
In his fourth season, coach Will Muschamp wants that total to get back on the upswing.
Potentially getting in the way of any increase is a tough schedule. With the usual group of SEC East foes, the Gamecocks will face Alabama and Texas A&M from the SEC West and Clemson and North Carolina from the ACC.
To get back to nine wins, South Carolina may need multiple victories from among Bama, A&M, Georgia and Clemson.
Players to watch
» Jake Bentley. The son of Gamecocks tight ends coach Bobby Bentley, Jake Bentley enters his senior season having started 32 games. He has completed 610 of 972 pass attempts (62.8 percent) for 7,385 yards and 53 touchdowns. Those numbers are sound. What’s a little troubling is that opponents have intercepted 30 of his passes. Also, South Carolina is 1-10 against ranked teams with Bentley as the starter.
» Bryan Edwards. A senior, Edwards caught 55 passes last season and is ready to assume the role of No. 1 receiver after the departure of Deebo Samuel to the NFL. Edwards has caught 163 career passes, for 2,229 yards and 16 touchdowns.
» Zacch Pickens. Pickens is a defensive tackle from Anderson, S.C., and is the first 5-star recruit of the Muschamp Era. He enrolled early and participated in spring practice. That move gives him a chance to start early in the season, if not in the opener, alongside tackle Javon Kinlaw.
Before the Gamecocks play the Bulldogs
South Carolina opens the season against North Carolina at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Aug. 31. After a game at home against Charleston Southern, the Gamecocks play Alabama at home, Missouri on the road and Kentucky at home before a bye week to rest a bit before playing Georgia.
The last time against Georgia
Georgia won 41-17 last season at Williams-Brice Stadium, when the Gamecocks were ranked No. 24. The Bulldogs rushed for 271 yards on 52 carries and scored all 41 points in the first three quarters. Georgia outgained South Carolina 473 yards to 336. Georgia has won the past four games in the series.
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