2010 SEC Eastern Division Champions… University of South Carolina Gamecocks. While more beautiful words have never been spoken by the gamecock faithful, 2011 has fans dreaming of more. Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier has assembled all the necessary pieces to make South Carolina a contender this season. The Triangle offense of Stephen Garcia, Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery returning give Carolina a chance to have the scariest offense in the nation. The defense should be strong with Cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Defensive End Devin Taylor leading the unit. Throw in the nations top overall recruit, the very scary and violent Defensive End Jadeveon Clowney, and it seems a perfect storm is brewing in the heart of the Palmetto State.
Coach Spurrier says that his teams compete every year for four championships: the State Championship against Clemson, the SEC Eastern Division, the SEC Championship and the BCS National Championship. Last year the gamecocks took home two of four. The hype is building that this may be the year to bring all four back to Williams-Brice Stadium. Carolina has won the past two State Championships in dominating fashion. That trend will continue this season with probably an even more dominating showing against Clemson as the game comes back to Sir William. Clemson’s program seems to be in a tailspin with undercurrents brewing calling for the head of Dabo Swinney. The state championship will no doubt be the easiest of the four to win.
The Gamecocks hopefully left a bread trail leading them back to the Eastern Division Championship. Most major contributors are back so the path will be a familiar one. One of the most exciting feelings for the fans is understanding that it is Carolina’s title to lose. Carolina is the favorite; if the gamecocks just handle their business the East will be theirs again. This season the other teams will have to conjure up the magic or have lady luck kiss them in order to get past the division champs. It is a great feeling; embrace the view looking down upon UGA, UT and UF.
Carolina returns to Atlanta with title game experience no longer wide-eyed and bushy tailed. Arriving will not be good enough, however. Good luck western counter part trying to slow down Marcus Lattimore in his final campaign push for the Heisman. The Head Man does what the Head Man does, and that is winning SEC Championships. Wasn’t it just a matter of time? The Palmetto night sky never had the stars align more perfectly. Three for three.
At last, The University of South Carolina Fighting Gamecocks are playing for the BCS National Championship. If Carolina winning the SEC seems doable, then why not a National Title? The SEC Champs are default National Championship game winners in recent years, right? This is a team loaded with key All-Americans and stacked with All-SEC performers; battle tested in the best football conference in America. Last year the Eastern Division title was won with freshman and sophomores leading the way. Pulling a page from the Greek Mythology stories he loves, Stephen “Achilles” Garcia rises up for the final act of his last performance. He guarantees living forever in Gamecock lore and mends the transgresses of a documented career by leading the team to the Promised Land.
From the beaches of the lowcountry to the mountains of the upstate, excitement and hype has never been greater for the Gamecock Faithful. Carolina is becoming accustomed to winning championships and standards are being raised. This team is full of winners who have won at every level. Winners win, losers go to the ACC. The Coach Spurrier legend grows and the stadium is renamed. The dreams that were cast during the Ball Coaches hiring are realized. Why not Us?