When Steve Spurrier was hired at South Carolina five years ago, expectations were high for most Gamecock fans. Talk of SEC Championships and National Titles began, while the so called 'experts' claimed he couldn't win at Carolina.
Year six of the SOS (Stephen Orr Spurrier) campaign at USC has begun and the Gamecocks are in prime position to make an unprecedented run at a spot in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta.
An impressive 17-6 victory over rival Georgia on Saturday has done nothing but strengthen the Gamecocks' case.
Many experts now say that the SEC East race will come down to the November 13th battle between Florida and South Carolina in Gainesville.
But there is one idea being thrown around by many 'experts' that I just can't quite get over: If, with a down year for the "big three" in the SEC East (Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee), South Carolina doesn't win the SEC East this year, it'll never happen.
I'll admit, during Spring practice and preseason practice, I shared that view with the "experts." I admit now that I was foolish and wrong to believe that.
South Carolina, led by a bevy of young talent from the past two recruiting classes, is building a strong foundation for what is to come over the next few season's...at the very least.
After years of poor recruiting, questionable staff decisions and lackadaisical coaching, self-admitted by Spurrier, South Carolina has begun to turn the page on their SEC troubles. There is big-time, SEC level talent at USC that has never been seen before in a Gamecock uniform.
After two games now, we know Spurrier has found his first workhorse RB at USC in Freshman Marcus Lattimore. Carolina has the weapons at receiver in Sophomores Alshon Jeffery, Tori Gurley, D.L. Moore and Freshman Ace Sanders.
First year offensive line coach Shawn Elliott has put together a solid unit with what's available and the O-line will do nothing but improve over the next few seasons with Elliott at the helm and Sophomore TJ Johnson anchored in the middle.
At QB, Junior Stephen Garcia seems to have took what Spurrier and QB Coach G.A. Mangus have preached at him to heart. Garcia has improved in his decision making and game management. The QB of the future is on campus in talented Freshman Connor Shaw.
The defense, Carolina's strength, is also loaded with young talent. Sophomores Stephon Gilmore and DeVonte Holloman lead arguably the best secondary in the SEC.
While it does favor South Carolina that the majority of teams in the SEC East are replacing key talent this year, it's not the only reason Carolina has a legitimate shot to play in Atlanta.
Now instead of 2010 being South Carolina's only realistic shot at an Eastern division crown, I like the following ideal:
If...no, when South Carolina wins the SEC East in 2010, a passing of the torch, so to speak, will have occurred atop the "big three" of the SEC East that will last for the foreseeable future.