Columbia, SC- The University of South Carolina has officially announced it's 2011 schedule.
Before I show it to you, we must review the 2010 season.
In 2010, the Gamecocks tasted glory with an upset of No. 1 Alabama along with the school's first SEC East Championship.
However, Steve Spurrier's soldiers surrendered to National Champ Auburn (in the SEC Championship Game) and ACC Atlantic Champ Florida state in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
All in all, with a 9-5 record, coach Steve Spurrier did not do so bad. In fact, it was only the third time the Gamecocks had celebrated a 9+ win season.
The nucleus of the offense provided major excitement for the Gamecock Nation. These players included Quarterback Stephen Garcia, Running Back Marcus Lattimore, and Wide Receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Garcia was consistent but made many major mistakes in two games at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. He passed for 3,059 yards with a 20/14 Touchdown to Interception ratio.
Lattimore officially began his legacy during Week Two against the Georgia Bulldogs. After the Gamecocks' first SEC victory, the media hyped Lattimore for the rest of the year.He rushed for 1,197 yards despite sitting out in losses to Kentucky and Florida State.
Suprisingly, Lattimore only fumbled once during the whole season, which was when he was knocked out of the game due to a big hit in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl loss.
One very underrated player turned out to be Fullback/ Tight End Pat DiMarco. Due to his amazing blocking, DiMarco will put away his Gamecock uniform after the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. DiMarco caught TD passes in victories versus Troy and Clemson, along with a crushing loss to Auburn.
Sophmore Tori Gurley entered the NFL Draft after two spectacular seasons in Columbia. He caught four TD passes for 446 yards. If he stayed, he could have possibly been a higher draft pick in 2012.
Other key offensive players include Running Backs Brian Maddox, Kenny Miles and WR Ace Sanders.
The offensive line was an improvement. Coach Shawn Elliot shaped a star in Center T.J Johnson.
In conclusion, the offense was very talented and does not lose much. The expectations will be high in 2011.
As always, the Defensive Line was solid. Seniors Cliff Matthews and Ladi Ajobye led the charge. USC's defensive front ranked in the nation's top five.
Will the Gamecocks return to the SEC Championship in 2011?
Not only that, but the Gamecocks' linebackers also provided plenty of excitement. Seniors Josh Dickerson and Tony Straughter, both of Georgia Military; started in their senior seasons.
The Gamecocks will have to replace Matthews, Ajobye, Dickerson, and Straughter in 2011. Rising senior Travian Robertson and rising Junior Devin Taylor return to the Defensive Line.
Lastly but not least, Shaq Wilson will return from injury in 2011. Wilson was one of the defense's best players in 2009.
South Carolina will need to revamp the secondary in 11'. The Fighting Gamecocks' secondary was highlighted by Stephon Gilmore's 127 tackles and four INTS.
Sadly, the Gamecocks were plagued by continuous mistakes by the corners and safeties. They ranked in the bottom twenty in the nation due to the lack of coverage.
Starting Saftey Chris Culliver was sidelined to injury, to add to the problems.
The good news is that Carolina can improve in 2011.
Here is the complete 2011 South Carolina Gamecocks Football Schedule:
Day Date Opponent Site
Saturday September 3 East Carolina Charlotte, N.C.
Saturday September 10 Georgia Athens, Ga.
Saturday September 17 Navy Columbia, S.C.
Saturday September 24 Vanderbilt Columbia, S.C.
Saturday October 1 Auburn Columbia, S.C.
Saturday October 8 Kentucky Columbia, S.C.
Saturday October 15 Mississippi State Starkville, Miss.
Saturday October 29 Tennessee Knoxville, Tenn.
Saturday November 5 Arkansas Fayetteville, Ark.
Saturday November 12 Florida Columbia, S.C.
Saturday November 19 The Citadel Columbia, S.C.
Saturday November 26 Clemson Columbia, S.C.
The Gamecocks open the season versus the East Carolina Pirates in Charlotte, NC. The game should be close, but bet on Marcus Lattimore and the Gamecocks to win.
In Week Two, Steve Spurrier visits his rival Georgia in what should be a close matchup. Look out, Georgia could sneak up on the Gamecocks.
In the following week, South Carolina faces Navy in which should be presented to a sellout stadium. Seriously, the U.S Naval Academy coming to town is not a yearly thing. USC lost to the Midshipmen in 1984, when they almost made the national championship. Navy is dangerous.
The Gamecocks continue the SEC Schedule with a two game home stretch, as defending BCS Champ Auburn pays a visit in Week Five. The Gamecocks seek revenge from a 31-28 setback to Kentucky on October, 8th at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Steve Spurrier hits the road for down the stretch. Games versus Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Arkansas will be key in deciding the season's final outcome.
In the Gamecocks' final SEC tilt, Alshon and Co. meet the Florida Gators in what might once again be dubbed as the SEC East Championship. The Gamecocks should be favored in the preseason to make a return trip to the SEC Championship at the Georgia Dome.
The final two games are instate games played at home. The Gamecocks will play The Citadel and Clemson, who they have beat two seasons in a row by a combined score of 63-24.
In 2011, the Gamecocks should set some goals. These goals include:
- 1. Win the SEC Championship
- 2. If not, win the SEC East
- 3. Beat Clemson