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Perry Orth or Brandon McIlwain: Who starts the Vandy game?

This aint no let's take-a-selfie-at-the-game kind of conference. It's the SEC. Gamecocks travel to Nashville to play a good Vanderbilt team. Coach Muschamp looks to turnaround the Gamecocks this year. The big question is who will be the starting quarterback?

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Loud angry, drunk fans partake in sheer and utter assery over who shoulda coulda woulda be the best quarterback. And, you'll be hard pressed to find a good article on who really should be the starting quarterback. Right now, all we have are practice recaps from or observations from The State's GoGamecocks sportswriters (Shhhh, you can figure out how to read stories without a subscription).

This year could be a dark sad place if we have another abysmal season and another loss to the university known for cutting edge animal husbandry. That's why we need this answered pronto: Who is the starting quarterback day one? The QB position is by far the most important because it will have an impact on this season and possibly the next.

The case for Perry Orth:

Here are some key stats for Orth. He had a 54.8 pass completion percentage and a quarterback rating of 125. Those numbers are not good. Although, he was ranked 85th out of 100 quarterbacks in CFB, he was ranked higher than Christian Hackenburg from Penn State.  Tennessee Volunteers QB Joshua Dobbs ranked 75th. Other quarterbacks near  Perry Orth's rating were Jacoby Brissett from NC State and Lamar Jackson of Louisville. In fact, a lot of new starting quarterbacks had similar numbers, ratios and rankings their first year. However, the problems with the 2015 Gamecocks proved to be too much for Orth to overcome.

It's hard to make a case for Perry Orth especially with only ONE win out of EIGHT games - including a loss to The Citadel, which fans will never forget and...ahem..."others" will lovingly dredge up for years to come. Expectations are low for the Gamecocks this year. The best chance for the Gamecocks to win at Vanderbilt is to go with an experienced quarterback, and that is Perry Orth.

This should erase any doubt:

The case for Brandon McIlwain

I would love to just go with my gut feeling and say Brandon McIlwain should be the starter. Unfortunately, Brandon is a true freshman with no history. So the best I can offer, faithful readers, are my heartfelt opinions swirled around some facts.

The SEC schedule is brutal. Players smashing into themselves and extremely hostile environments isn't exactly an ideal situation for ANY freshman quarterback. But Brandon McIlwain can play! He's got talent. After watching the spring game, the Gamecocks look like they had a clear starter.

McIlwain is a dual threat QB and his style of play could give the Gamecocks an edge in many ways. The offensive line is returning a lot starters and with a running back by committee, plus dual threat, Boom's offense is a nightmare for defensive coordinators.


If the expectations are low for the Gamecocks this year, then why not just let Brandon McIlwain start the Vandy game, right? Win or lose, let McIlwain get experience and be ready for next year. Yet, like Herm Edwards said, "You play to win the game!"

Maybe we go with Jake Bentley?