The South Carolina Gamecocks raced out to a blistering 6-1 start last year, including a road victory over the Georgia Bulldogs.
After that, the Gamecocks dropped off the table, losing their next five games to Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, and Clemson.
With the schedule set up the way it is, South Carolina looks to have similar struggles this season.
If South Carolina can beat Georgia once again, they have a very real possibility of starting out the season 7-0 before they face LSU.
Games with North Carolina State, Vanderbilt, Wofford, UAB, Ole Miss, and Kentucky should be relatively easy victories for the Gamecocks. The real test in their first seven games will clearly be the Georgia Bulldogs.
Since South Carolina is playing the Bulldogs in their third game of the season, Spurrier's quarterback controversy should be a thing of the past. He should have a solid starter by the opening snap of the Georgia game.
That paired with a great wide receiver in Kenny McKinley will lead the Bulldogs to all sorts of woes in their defensive secondary. Throw in tight end Jared Cook, and the Bulldogs are looking at a monster they are just hoping to contain.
Cook can really get out and run and catch the ball, as opposed to some tight ends in the SEC who focus mainly on blocking.
Mike Davis should be a viable threat on the ground, and I think that the South Carolina offense will cause Georgia fits in this game. Davis' strong legs and north-south power running style will wear down the Georgia defense, as opposed to some of these quick, smaller backs that do not.
The Georgia defense worries me in this game because they have good all-around players, but lack the big play-maker. Maybe Asher Allen will step up this year, but that is yet to be seen. I think the Gamecocks potentially steal one against the Bulldogs.
The second half of South Carolina's schedule is brutal. Games with LSU, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, and Clemson round out the year. Four of these five teams, excluding Arkansas, are potential top 10 teams.
That said, I think South Carolina takes all of them but the LSU and Clemson games. Tennessee is at home, and I am not so impressed with the way things are shaping up in Gainesville. Too many injuries and too many off-the-field issues.
The reason I think that South Carolina is going to hold its own during the season half of the season this year is due to its defense. Last year, there were plenty of injuries to go around and I did not see the Gamecock defense gel.
This year, it should be a whole different story. I think South Carolina possesses one of the most explosive and dynamic defensive players in the SEC in linebacker Jasper Brinkley.
He is going to make offenses think twice before coming his way after sitting out last year with an injured knee. Eric Norwood should become one of the elite pass-rushers in the SEC this season.
For all these reasons, I believe South Carolina is going to be a team to watch for in the SEC this year. They could potentially finish the season with two losses.