South Carolina Football 2011: Connor Shaw Will Be the Difference Versus Nebraska

Alex Roberts@@alexCoAbassCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2011

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 26:  Connor Shaw #14 of the South Carolina Gamecocks drops back to pass against the Clemson Tigers during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Preparing for South Carolina's last couple bowl games was an afterthought for Stephen Garcia, the Gamecocks' starting quarterback.

Between the Call of Duty marathons, bar hopping and late night women in his hotel room, he seemed a bit too preoccupied to do things like study the playbook and study film. 

On the field, the team (and especially Garcia) struggled.  They have now lost three straight bowl games.

That's about to change: enter Connor Shaw. 

Shaw has a military style haircut.  He is never in trouble.  He spends more time in the weight room than the coaches and trainers.  He studies video and is a student of the game. 

There isn't a chance he goes to Orlando unprepared. 

I keep seeing non-South Carolina fans talking about how Shaw can't throw and that they aren't afraid of him as an opponent.  Well, you should be afraid—very afraid.  

This is because you simply don't know what you are talking about.  Shaw's passer rating is 141.5, which is very good for a first-time starting quarterback. He has completed 65.5 percent of his passes and thrown 12 touchdowns to just six interceptions.  He improved almost weekly and his last two games were almost super-human. 

In those two games he completed 30-of-38 passes—roughly 79 percent.  With 427 yards, six touchdowns, and only one pick, these games showed the direction in which he's moving.  I can't forget his 197 yards rushing with two touchdowns. 

He is the type of player who has a limitless ceiling.  He is a great person with a coach as a father. Shaw has obscene speed and athleticism for a quarterback and a cerebral approach to the game.  That's a rare combination. 

You know who else shares these qualities?  Robert Griffin III.  Great person, military father, obscene speed and athleticism, cerebral approach to the game, need I go on. 

I am not saying Shaw will ever be able to touch RG III in terms of ability.  However, the chance is there for Shaw to be largely successful.  It starts with the Nebraska game, and he knows it.  The Cornhuskers will struggle to contain him, and Shaw will lead the Gamecocks to their first bowl win in the last four tries. 

It's great to be a Gamecock!