5 Games South Carolina Doesn't Have To Worry About in 2011

Paul Cook@@paulgeecookContributor IIISeptember 1, 2011

5 Games South Carolina Doesn't Have To Worry About in 2011

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    It's weird.  Players, coaches, staff, trainers, waterboys (and girls), mascots and pretty much anyone else associated with football all know that "looking ahead" (that is, speculating on any game other than the very next one to be played) is sort of like kissing your sister.  You might be thinking about it—heck, you might even be tempted—but you can never, ever under any circumstances let anyone know about it.

    As far as college football goes, it probably really is about as big a no-no as incest.  

    And yet, it's also one of the great benefits to being a mere fan.  Just a big, beer-swilling, TV-hurling, ass-scratching, lazy, good-for-nothing fan.  You can speculate all you want about essentially anything, and no one but the most resentful of trolls will dare call you on it.

    Or so I'm betting, because I'm about to "look ahead" in a big way.  Don't look now, because here comes one fan's list of the five 2011 matchups the South Carolina "Football" Gamecocks shouldn't be worried about.     

Vs. East Carolina (7pm ET, Saturday, September 3rd)

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    I know.  It's really bad form to show this amount of chutzpah mere days before the first game of the season, but I'm going to do it anyway.  As I predicted earlier this summer, I don't think South Carolina needs to worry about the East Carolina Pirates.  

    That said, there is one thing about this game that weirds me out just a bit, and I'm willing to bet fellow Carolina fans will know exactly what I'm talking about—the so-called "neutral" stadium bit.  

    First of all, I have always argued that the state of North Carolina is, at least in a few very significant ways, radically different from South Carolina.  And I have never pulled for the Carolina Panthers because, like many indigenous South Carolinians, I never really thought of them as "my team."  Add to that the fact that East Carolina is a North Carolina team, playing in a North Carolina stadium against a team with a spotty-at-best record in road games...

    I better move on before I talk myself out of this bold prediction.  

Vs. Auburn (TBA, Saturday, October 1st)

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    Just call this one a gut feeling.  

    No one expects Auburn to do much of anything this year, and I think playing in the toughest division in all of NCAA football will dampen their fighting spirit by the time they face off against the Gamecocks on the first of October.  

    And as much as I hate to say it, anything President Obama touches these days seems to immediately fall apart.  

Vs. Kentucky (TBA, Saturday, October 8th)

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    Yeah, I remember what happened last year.  

    It won't happen again.  Mark my words.

Vs. Florida (TBA, Saturday, November 12th)

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    There are those who think Florida is going to "be a lot better than everyone thinks this year."

    I am not one of them.  

    Don't get me wrong, I think Florida will rise from the ashes of their dismal 2010 campaign to once again be a great SEC-East power.  I just don't think it will happen in 2011.  

    And that's great news for the South Carolina Gamecocks.  

Vs. Clemson (TBA, Saturday, November 26th)

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    What?  Where's the Citadel in this list?  How can you pick Clemson over the Citadel as one of the five teams South Carolina doesn't have to worry about?

    I gave this a lot of thought.  I really did.  And it occurred to me that I wouldn't be much of a South Carolina fan if I took the easy route and picked the Gamecocks to soundly whip the Citadel Bulldogs into submission.  Of course we will.  

    The bigger question—indeed, the more important question—is whether we beat Clemson for a third year in a row?  

    Yes.  A thousand times yes.