Are we gonna win?
Why not definitely?
Because there are no definites in football (except for Florida beating Kentucky) and Appalachian St. ruined softball openers for everyone. What's more, UNC is no softball, and could pose South Carolina's most formidable opening game challenge of the Spurrier era. Bill Connelly's 2013 F+ projections rank North Carolina 33rd overall. While we shouldn't expect that number to hold fast, if it's in the ballpark it would still be markedly higher than the ultimate F+ ranks of Spurrier's first eight opening day opponents (80, 79, 103, 50, 64, 45, 81, 50). Connelly's same projections place the Gamecocks 16th. For more on Spurrier's week one soirees at South Carolina, go here.
What's the line?
According to this paid journalist who thinks the universities of South Carolina and North Carolina are in the same state, the line favors South Carolina by 12.5—a hearty endorsement from Vegas. I've seen it listed at 12 in some places, 13 in others.
Are we healthy? Are they?
We list six players of import on the injury report: T Cody Gibson, T Mike Matulis, and LB Cedrick Cooper are out. TE Busta Anderson is doubtful. WR Bruce Ellington is questionable and TE Jerell Adams is probable. That our two starting tight ends are listed among the wounded is bothersome, considering we've spent all off-season touting our strength at tight end. But our defense is healthy overall. North Carolina lost a few members of its defense for the year (most notably BANDIT Shakeel Rashad), and senior RB A.J. Blue is listed as questionable. By the way, this guy still mentions Clowney on the injury report and uses it as an opportunity to needle Spurrier for lying to his own fans. Apparently he didn't see this, published almost two weeks earlier. Oh well!
What's South Carolina's depth chart look like?
I direct you to Connor's post, wherein you'll find the depth chart and some tasty analysis.
I'm lazy. How many true freshmen are in the two deep?
Six—two on each side of the ball and two on special teams. That number doubles when expanded to the three deep, but hopefully we can slap redshirts on most of the third teamers. BTW our place kicker is a freshman walk-on
manchild...IN WHOM I HAVE ALL THE CONFIDENCE IN THE WORLD. Go get 'em, Elliott!
What about UNC? Who are their players worth knowing?
In addition to Bryn Renner and Quinshad Davis, North Carolina boasts some impressive skill players despite having to replace ALL-ACC first teamer and second round draft pick Giovani Bernard. Take a look at this piece by Skulls and Spurs that details the Tarheels' most noteworthy players.
I'm nervous. Is there some sort of insight you can provide that will give me a better idea of what to expect?
Look no further than Our Digital Season, GABA's weekly EA Sports NCAA 2014 simulation. The week 1 sim saw South Carolina beat North Carolina 26-15.
Uh gee that's great, I'm sure the kids loitering at the mall Gamestop will be impressed. Got anything more practical?
You know what! Fine. Fine. Go read ChickenHoops' By The Numbers breakdown and he'll tell you why North Carolina's offensive struggles in high stakes situations bodes well for the Gamecocks.
Gimme two—no, three keys to the game. And a prediction.
Gamecock Man is at your service. He says our homefield advantage and dominance along the lines should amount to a 1-0 start.
Of course he does—the man sees the world through garnet tinted glasses. What's UNC think?
How dare you impugn our leader's ability to analyze without bias! But for what it's worth, Brian Barbour of Tar Heel Blog thinks we'll win too.
Alright! I'm so hyped. If only there was some sort of video preview that could adequately complement the way I feel.
What am I, your mom? Make these.
Is Clowney Comin'?
Splendid. I'm going to go start drinking now.