In the picture above, Steve Spurrier, the Head Ball Coach, looks a little less than thrilled.
If the answers to the following questions are no—or even undecided—at the end of the season, that look could be pasted permanently on the face of Spurrier.
The Gamecocks are considered a contender this coming season, but the five questions ahead could decide whether they will instead be a pretender.
The Gamecocks are typically known for their entrance into Williams Brice Stadium to "2001," and for one big upset a year.
This is the year that could change all that. They could hang the first conference championship since 1969 when the Gamecocks won the ACC Championship.
Stephen Garcia wasn't on the radar of many outside of Columbia, South Carolina and his hometown of Lutz, Florida.
After Garcia's "meltdown" in the 2009 Outback Bowl (2008 season), many considered him to be done. In the revolving door of Spurrier quarterbacks, Garcia was almost expected to be a blip on the radar.
But in 2009, Garcia proved the critics wrong by passing for 2,862 yards. He did it behind an offensive line that was as horrible in 12 games as it was good in the Clemson game.
If the line can improve and Garcia can continue to improve, he may surpass what he accomplished in 2009.
Garcia was second in the SEC in passing last season, and now he has another season under his belt and a superstar wide receiver.
So, can Garcia continue to develop as a quarterback?
At a South Carolina men's basketball game last season, Steve Spurrier told Marcus Lattimore, "I need a big-time back to accomplish what I want to at South Carolina."
On National Signing Day, Lattimore pulled out an Auburn hat with a Gamecocks hat hidden underneath it. When the Auburn hat hit the floor, the Gamecocks and the Head Ball Coach got that big-time back.
So many people have pointed out Spurrier's history with the running game, or lack thereof.
What many don't realize is that aside from the win-loss record, which is still well above .500, Steve Spurrier has changed many things at South Carolina. His defenses have outperformed his offenses several times.
Many were also quick to mention the fact that Brian Maddox, Kenny Miles, and Jarvis Giles are all good running backs, not to mention fullback Patrick DiMarco.
All this doesn't mean Lattimore will be ineffective. It means that if used properly, each piece of the running attack can be important—and potentially deadly.
There are more than two quarterbacks on the roster who can use their legs. Stephen Garcia and Stephon Gilmore (also a cornerback) are the two most notable.
With six to seven pieces of the puzzle able to run, will Steve Spurrier truly commit to the running attack in 2010?
Shawn Elliott was a part of the back-to-back-to-back National Champion Appalachian State Mountaineers teams, as well as the team that upset Michigan.
He sent Steve Spurrier a text message upon seeing the Gamecocks' performance against UConn in the PapaJohns.com Bowl: "Coach, I can help this team." Elliott was hired.
According to many sources, including Rivals.com, Elliott's intensity is rubbing off on Gamecocks players—something they need. Badly.
Armed with a popular and effective offensive linemen camp, Shawn Elliott also comes with a solid resume. Many believe Spurrier made the right choice when new Youngstown State Head Coach Eric Wolford left after one season to take the aforementioned position.
The offensive line is the biggest question mark from the past three seasons. Will new offensive line coach Elliott have an impact in 2010?
The image above is something Gamecock fans are expecting to see—a lot: Alshon Jeffery and the No. 1 jersey in the end zone at Williams-Brice Stadium and the other stadiums in the SEC.
A young man named Sidney Rice captivated the Gamecock faithful like this some years ago, and before him, Sterling Sharpe.
It could be argued neither had the sheer athleticism that Jeffery. He started 2009 under the radar, but in the Kentucky game and thereafter, he was a talking point almost everywhere around the SEC.
He was the third Gamecock to win SEC Freshman of the week in 2009. DE Devin Taylor and RB Jarvis Giles were the two others.
With senior wide receiver Moe Brown graduated, Alshon is hands-down the go-to guy for the Gamecocks.
Don't forget though that Tori Gurley, Jason Barnes, D.L. Moore, and Weslye Saunders are all big pass-catching targets as well.
Patrick DiMarco and the running backs can also catch the ball pretty well, so even with Moe Brown gone, will Jeffery have to carry the load?
Eric Norwood was the quintessential Gamecock.
A larger number of Gamecock fans than you would think want something done with No. 40.
Even in position transition, Norwood still delivered. His move from defensive end to linebacker didn't cut down much on tackles and sacks.
The Gamecocks all-time sack leader will be missed, there is no doubt about it. With the majority of the defense returning, one would think that hole can be plugged.
If one man can't do it, linebacker-by-committee seems to be a popular option in football now.
The Gamecock defense wasn't perfect in 2009, but it wasn't horrible. Mark Ingram aside, the Gamecocks held their own in several games. They gave up big plays at the wrong time a few times as well, but overall, weren't terribly disappointing.
Hopefully, this offseason allows them time for improvement. The coaching staff seems to be leaning more towards the nickel D, 4-2-5, (That's four defensive linemen, two tackles and two ends; two linebackers; and five defensive backs, two corners and three safeties.)
So, will Eric Norwood's departure hurt the defense in 2010?