NCAA Football South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina Gamecocks Hope to Make Early Statement

Jeff Blake, USA TODAY SPORTS

Jeff Blake, USA TODAY SPORTS

The South Carolina Gamecocks have been picked to win the SEC Eastern Division this season by many media outlets. The Gamecocks return a solid core of players on both sides of the ball from last season’s team that won 11 games for the third straight year.

Now it’s game week, and head coach Steve Spurrier and his team get a jump start on the beginning of the season. South Carolina opens its 2014 slate on Thursday night, facing the Texas A&M Aggies at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.

If South Carolina is going to be a team that competes for the SEC East championship, as well as an SEC title, it’s important for the team to get off to a fast start. The Gamecocks have been awarded a great opportunity to do so in the opener.

South Carolina gets to play the game at home, against a team replacing its starting quarterback and in front of a national television audience on the SEC Network.

Spurrier knows all of these things and will use each of them to his advantage. He’ll also use the game as a measuring stick as to where his team is at this point.

The Ol’ Ball Coach is also not below running the score up on an opponent. If he gets the opportunity to blow A&M out, he will take advantage of it.

At this point, the only negative for South Carolina is that running back Mike Davis may miss the game with an injury. However, quarterback Dylan Thompson and the other weapons that the Gamecocks have on offense should more than make up for Davis’ potential absence.

South Carolina gets a chance to make the first statement of the SEC season. Expect them to take full advantage of that opportunity.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.