The South Carolina Gamecocks will look to shake off the doldrums of a beatdown by the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs when they welcome the Charlotte 49ers to Williams-Brice Stadium this week under the lights at 7:30 p.m. This is the first of two opportunities for the Gamecocks to get right and get healthy before the SEC schedule begins in earnest with a trip to a top-10 Kentucky squad, so for now, the hope is that USC can buckle down and iron out some kinks. Here’s how the GABA gang is feeling about things.
Kody: Well, as Brent pointed out in his column this week, it’s not exactly a surprise that South Carolina is 1-2 right now. The way they’re 1-2 is a little dispiriting, no doubt, but anyone who expected the Gamecocks to topple Georgia was hitting the garnet kool-aid too hard. That being said, there are definitely some glaring deficiencies that USC needs to find a way to scheme around, centering mostly on the offense (or lack thereof). Spencer Rattler has had an up-and-down (and quite haphazard) start to his time as a Gamecock, but the playcalling has been similarly all over the map and the offensive line has struggled to gel. Charlotte, too, is not a true patsy – much like Georgia State, they’re an up-and-coming mid-major program that has bagged some nice wins, and as a matter fact, the 49ers beat Georgia State last week. I’m not seriously concerned about South Carolina losing this one, and the 22.5-point line doesn’t feel like a stretch, but the Gamecocks might not be able to use this game as a scrimmage in the way we would love to see. Since we’ve yet to see the 2022 edition of this team explode offensively, I’ll lean conservative and go with South Carolina 35-13 – but hoping we’ll see signs of a more cohesive, coherent offense.
Brent: I have said this multiple times this week, but this fanbase needs an easy 52-7 win in the worst way right now. They need to see the offense come out and have a dominant performance and the defense to play like they did in week 1 against Georgia State. The Charlotte 49ers are not the Arkansas Razorbacks and they are certainly not the Georgia Bulldogs. Will Healy’s group will, however, come into Williams Brice Stadium and give the Gamecocks some things to be concerned about with their offense. The 49ers defense, on the other hand, is statistically one of the worst in the country. The Gamecocks cannot come out slowly in the first quarter as they have in many games over the last two seasons on offense. I am not as close to hitting the panic button on the offense as many others are. Had they connected on a couple of the deep balls against Arkansas that were so close to hitting, the narrative may be different right now. They didn’t, though. So the reality is that Marcus Satterfield desperately needs to have a good night on the headset against Charlotte to silence some of the noise that is overbearing on the Gamecock offense coming out of the Georgia game. If they struggle against Charlotte, I will definitely have my finger on the panic button. On that same topic, Spencer Rattler needs to have a good night as well. I think they both do, and I think the Gamecocks finally get Jaheim Bell involved in a big way against Charlotte. I look for big nights from Bell, Wells, and Brooks in the passing game and the Gamecocks cover the 22.5 with ease. I will take the Gamecocks 48-16. Will that quench the thirst of the fans for the time being? I highly doubt it. But I do believe that Saturday night will be a good one for the good guys.
Katie: I’m again predicting a win and I feel better about it than I did the last two weeks, not gonna lie. Maybe this will be the game where the offense finally gets clicking (this is the third week in a row I’ve called for that, I know). For all the criticism of Marcus Satterfield - which isn’t entirely undeserved - it would be nice to see the offense come out looking crisp and in control early, rather than having to play from behind. I don’t necessarily ever expect an easy game for South Carolina, but it would be nice to get a non-stressful win and have a .500 record with two-thirds of the season left to go. After two tough weeks, this should be a game that helps the Gamecocks get back on track - let’s hope I don’t have to break out the puppy gifs over on twitter for this one.
Matt: I have had this game circled on the schedule for a while as one of the easy, guaranteed victories, and I still do. After Georgia, the team needs a get right game, and I believe this will do the trick. Charlotte has allowed 40+ points to every team it has faced this season, so I’m looking forward to some fireworks on offense. As long as the defense shows up, and I haven’t seen that happen since Georgia State, this will likely be a blowout. Charlotte’s offense, specifically the pass, is the only thing I’m worried about, so the Gamecocks need to focus on making life difficult for Chris Reynolds after the game of his life last week. I think they will, and I have South Carolina winning this one to the tune of a 45-10 final score.