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NCAA Football

South Carolina Gamecocks Hope to Claim SEC East Title

Jeremy Brevard, USA TODAY SPORTS

Most of the hype around the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division is about the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs. Most experts believe that those are the two teams to beat, and rightfully so. Both Florida and Georgia have outstanding players returning, and both should be ranked in the Top 10 nationally in the preseason.

But what if the Gators and the Bulldogs falter? What team might be able to slip in and claim the SEC East crown?

Hello, Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Old Ball Coach should have a very solid team this fall, and if there is an opening at the top of the SEC East standings, Spurrier and his squad just might be the ones to sneak into that spot.

The Gamecocks return a pair of solid quarterbacks in Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson. Both played well last season, and each brings a unique set of skills to the team. Shaw is more of a running quarterback who can scramble his way into making plays with his legs and/or his arm. Thompson is more of the pocket-passing quarterback, and he played well in relief of Shaw last season.

In 2013, most opponents are going to be talking about the South Carolina defense. Namely, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who might be the best defensive player in the country. Clowney will lead a defense that should be among the nations best this season.

Another benefit for South Carolina is the schedule. The Gamecocks open at home against the North Carolina Tar Heels before a week-two showdown at Georgia. From there, South Carolina faces a stretch of seven games that they should win. The November 16 matchup against Florida could be for the SEC East title, and the Gamecocks will host the Gators in Williams-Brice Stadium.

While Florida and Georgia may be getting all of the attention, don’t overlook Spurrier and his Gamecocks in 2013.