The USA Today coaches' poll was released today, and I am not sure if you've heard it around Columbia (sarcasm), but the Gamecocks come in at a respectable No. 9.
What does this mean? Well, I will get into that in a different article. But what I can say, is that for once, the Gamecocks are not overrated and they are not underrated.
They are rated just right.
This is a sign of a couple of things. First of all, the shock of the Gamecocks becoming a legitimate contender is wearing off. Now, it's just expected that the Gamecocks will do well. They continue to bring in, and more importantly, develop great talent.
It takes a great deal more than a top five recruiting classes to create great teams. They must have the coaching power to develop the players. Ask that "other" team in South Carolina how top five classes do for them without a solid coach.
The coaches see a team in South Carolina that is loaded with talent in the trenches and in the backfield. They have a depth of skill position players that goes far beyond Marcus Lattimore. There is more to this team.
While some may question the receivers, others see a group of at least six solid men who can contribute. Any of them could break out and become a star.
The defense should be considered a top five defense in the country. While there are questions in the secondary, there is enough talent there for it to be consistently good. When you have Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor chasing quarterbacks, you've always got a pretty good chance to win football games.
Then, there is the development of Connor Shaw. He looks like a linebacker. He's intelligent, and he's a film rat. He throws a beautiful ball. If he continues on the path that he started in 2011, he's got the look of an NFL prospect.
Coaches see that. Finally, there is Steve Spurrier. He's cocky, hungry and ready for this season.
That's a scary thought for all SEC opponents, including the mighty teams in the SEC West.