South Carolina Football Predictions

Steve Spurrier never had a losing season in his first 10 seasons on the job at South Carolina. But he jumped ship midseason last year en route to a 3-9 campaign overall. Now it’s time for the Gamecocks to go in a different direction.

Will Muschamp has taken on the unenviable task of trying to turn this program around. This will be Muschamp’s second head coaching gig after going 28-21 at Florida. But the Gators were a loss to Notre Dame away from playing for the national title as they were 11-1 and #3 in the BCS final rankings in his second season.

Muschamp steps into a tough situation here though as the Gamecocks have just nine returning starters and 42 lettermen back. They lose a whopping 27 letter winners in what figures to be a rebuilding season in Columbia in 2016.

Last Season
SEC East
ATS Record
Points For
Points Against
3-9 (1-7 SEC)
2016 South Carolina Gamecocks Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
9/1 @ Vanderbilt
9/10 @ Mississippi State
9/17 East Carolina
9/24 @ Kentucky
10/1 Texas A&M
10/8 Georgia
10/22 UMass
10/29 Tennessee
11/5 Missouri
11/12 @ Florida
11/19 Western Carolina
11/26 @ Clemson
Estimated Wins: TBD

The offense really held the Gamecocks back last season as they only averaged 21.9 points and 362 yards per game. The new offensive coordinator will be Kurt Roper, who held the same position in Muschamp’s final season at Florida. Roper inherits only four returning starters on offense.

Senior Perry Orth is still around after completing 54.8 percent of his passes for 1,9209 yards with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions a year ago. However, he is likely to lose his job to talented freshman Brandon McIlwain, who started and impressed in the spring game.

The leading returning rusher is David Williams (299 yards, 3.5/carry), who figures to get the first crack in the backfield. The Gamecocks lose their top two receivers in WR Pharoh Cooper and TE Jerell Adams to the NFL. That will make this a young unit with freshman Bryan Edwards, sophomore Deebo Samuel, junior Jamari Smith and sophomore TE Kevin Crosby expected to step into starting roles.

Only two starters and 57 career starts return along the offensive line. Junior C Alan Knott and senior LT Mason Zandi will provide the experience as the two returnees. The Gamecocks did have three very highly touted freshmen on the two-deep last year and now they’re all sophomores, hungry to earn starting gigs.


South Carolina gave up 27.5 points and 430 yards per game last year when they were expected to be improved defensively with eight starters back. Muschamp has promoted Travaris Robinson to defensive coordinator after serving as the DB coach under him the past five years. He inherits just five returning starters on D in 2016.

The defensive line brings back two starters in DE Marquavius Lewis (43 tackles, 3 sacks) and DT Taylor Stallworth (8 tackles). Also back is senior DT Kelsey Griffin (14 tackles, 3.5 for loss). This unit is less experienced, but it can only be improved after giving up 217 rushing yards per game and 5.1 per carry last year.

The linebacker corps will see three new starters with the exception of TJ Holoman (63 tackles, 2 INT). Redshirt freshman Daniel Fennell figures to rush off the edge, while senior WLB Larenz Bryant and junior SLB Jasper Sasser are expected to take on starting roles. Jonathan Walton (42 tackles, 5 for loss) provides some depth. This unit should be down a notch with the loss of the team’s No. 1 and No. 4 tacklers from a year ago.

The secondary returns six of the top eight players on the two-deep last year. That includes a pair of starters in senior CB Rico McWilliams (32 tackles) and senior S Jordan Diggs (48 tackles, 1 INT). Look for senior S Chaz Elder and talented JUCO transfer CB Jamarcus King to take on starting roles.

Odds (Courtesy of 5Dimes)
Regular Season Win Total
SEC East Odds
SEC Championship Odds
4-Team Playoff Odds
National Championship Odds
Season Predictions

It’s extremely hard to be too high on the Gamecocks heading into 2016. They are in full-on rebuilding mode under Muschamp, who inherits just nine returning starters. They are the least-experienced team in the SEC, and they have a lot of ground to make up after a 3-9 season.

On the bright side, South Carolina suffered five losses by a touchdown or less last season, so they were very unfortunate in close games. If they can improve in that department, they could surprise in Muschamp’s first season.

But the schedule is not favorable. They have three home games against Texas A&M, Georgia and Tennessee and will be dogs in all three. That means most of their winnable games are on the road, where they’ll be dogs as well. I’ll call for a 4-8 season overall and a 1-7 mark in SEC play in Muschamp’s first season in 2016.

2016 Projections
SEC East
SEC Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
Under 6.5
More College Football Predictions
South Carolina
Conference USA

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