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Staff Roundtable: Coastal Carolina Predictions

It’s unanimous: We’re going with the Gamecocks.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

FinalizeWelcome to college football Saturday! It’s finally here, and the Gamecocks are kicking off 2018 with fancy new helmets and the in-state Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. We’ve got some foolproof predictions for game day.

Kody: It’s Week 1 and South Carolina is playing a non-Power 5 team for the first time in what feels like a bazillion years. It’s my hope the fans can relax and enjoy this one, the players can safely shake off some rust, and the coaching staff can get some snaps for key reserves like the backup quarterbacks. Coastal, while still new to FBS, looks like a team that could make a respectable transition to the big leagues, much like Appalachian State before them. They’re still getting up to speed, though, and the Gamecocks should be able to walk away with a comfortable win in this one. I’m going 38-10, and will also predict that fans will still be bickering with each other over the Carolina script helmets.

Cole: The big thing I want to see out of this game is Carolina actually get to rest some starters. I am still having nightmares of Louisiana Tech from last year. I just want to see a comfortable win and see the defensive guys get some rest for Georgia. I think that they actually will get it done convincingly. I’m going 41-10 with a Deebo touchdown on a kickoff.

Demetri: I’d laugh at the idea of the cock fight between regal, gentlemanly chanticleers and uncouth, hillbilly gamecocks, but Coastal Carolina University is located just outside of “Hey, what if we turned Kid Rock’s music into a city” Beach. So who are the real uncouth hillbillies in this matchup?

What I really want to see is exactly what the new offense is. Any expectations based on this game will be overblown. The Cocks are playing a team coached by a retired stockbroker after all, but I want to see the Edwards/Samuel/Bentley connection be the focal point of the offense in the way we’ve been led to believe it can be. If you’re asking me for a score prediction, I’ll say 37-7, but as long as we leave the game with a belief that our air game will be able to challenge Georgia, I’ll be happy.

Sam: I said on the GABACast that I don’t think Coastal is very good. Yea, I know Joe Moglia is back (he took a leave of absence last season citing health issues) and Coastal has largely been successful with Moglia at the helm. However, I don’t think him returning fixes the issues they had last year as a 3-9 football team in the Sun Belt. They finished in the 100s in PPG on both offense and defense. Yea, they’ll likely be better, but that’s because they can’t get any worse. I’m also pretty pumped to see what a Bryan McClendon offense looks like with an entire offseason to prepare. I don’t expect everything to be perfect, as Cole mentions above, he, and many others including myself, still have nightmares of the Louisiana Tech game from last year, but I do expect the Gamecocks to roll in this game. Get a lead early, rest your starters and get the backups some experience. I think the Gamecocks run away with this one by a 41-13 score.

DC3: Another college football season is here and for the first time in an inordinately long stretch I am not overcome with the type of existential dread that will result in me stress eating overcooked popcorn and indulging in morning bourbon. I mean, it’s not that those two things won’t happen anyways, but at least this year we’re not presented with the type of game that leaves us nothing but two solid weeks of pundits going back and forth about how South Carolina’s whole season rides on the momentum from a humongous week one game. That being said, this game is going to be a little bit weird, but not nearly as weird as Coach Muschamp saying that ‘every game is a season’ in his weekly press conference. CCU has a tough road to hoe in this game. Outside of the top-100 in nearly every statistical category last year, and a grand total of ten seniors on their entire roster. HOWEVER, this is week one, and this is your South Carolina Gamecocks football team. The game hinges on two things: offensive line and special teams. I’m very hopeful that what we see on the (new) field this weekend will be a stepping stone to a successful season for the team wearing a particular shade of red.

Katie: My role here is to be the Eternal Sports Optimist, so in a move that shocks no one, I’m predicting a win. Although even if I wasn’t the ESO, I’d still be calling for a win in this game. I think/hope the Gamecocks should be able to handle Coastal fairly easily, like sit-the-starters-for-the-fourth-quarter easily, although I also know literally nothing about Coastal’s team, so. All of that being said, there’s always a part of me that remembers I’ve seen USC blow games they should win handily before, so if they could just run the score-a-touchdown play on every drive, it would go a long way towards squashing any nerves about the outcome of this game.

Remember to join me for live tweets on the GABA account Saturday, during which time I hopefully won’t have to break out the “oh no things are going badly” puppy gifs (but I will break out the puns).

Sydney: Yeah, it won’t be 70-10. The tricky thing with Coastal (and Sam alluded to it) is that even with Moglia back, this is a group that won’t have anywhere close to a full FBS recruiting class on its sideline on Saturday. While there are a few players on the team that are worth keeping an eye on that I mentioned in my game preview, this is still a group that finished well under .500 last year, and it’s going to take them a while to get into the upper echelon of the Sun Belt especially if App State and Troy keep playing at a high level.

All that being said, while the Gamecocks can’t look past the Chants (because any struggles against them will be that much more magnified against a potential playoff team in Georgia next week), this should be nothing more than a tuneup for the Dawgs. I’m saying 45-7 with Coastal getting a garbage time touchdown in the 4th and Scar getting some mop-up duty in place of Jake Bentley.