After a disappointing loss at home against Kentucky, South Carolina now heads down to Athens to face one of the best teams in the SEC.

Connor Mitch suffered a broken collarbone and then got an infection in his hip that required hospitalization. Junior walk-on Perry Orth came in and played extremely well in my opinion, with the exception of his last pass attempt.

He’s a good friend of mine and I got a chance to talk to him afterward to tell him he played very well. I had to ask what happened on the pick. He said he saw Kentucky cornerback Chris Westry and tried to float it over his head but just severely under threw it.

Orth came in and he really gave the Gamecocks a much-needed spark. Now that he has the reins as starter, I fully expect him to lead the offense efficiently.

As we saw this past weekend, Lorenzo Nunez came in. Expect coach Spurrier to insert Nunez throughout the games moving forward in certain packages and letting the true freshman use his athleticism to move the ball.

As far as the Gamecocks season prediction goes, I think they have enough talent to still win eight or more games. The defense has improved (after a rough start against Kentucky) and the offense looked fired up when Orth came in and chucked it around.

The Gamecocks still have a very tough schedule ahead of them but if they can stay healthy and Perry can continue to play well, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them knock off some good teams.

When you look at the SEC East, Georgia, Tennessee, and Missouri are at the top this year. After three consecutive years of 11-win seasons, the Gamecocks fell off a little but many people forget that they won their bowl game. The atmosphere around Columbia now compared to what it used to be back in 2007 when I first got on campus is completely different.

Back then if we made any bowl game, the season was looked at as a major success. As the program continued to rise, the bowl game destination became more and more important to everyone around Columbia.

If the Gamecocks were to fail to make a bowl this year, which I believe is unlikely, I still don’t think coach Steve Spurrier will be under any heat.

He caught a lot of heat this offseason because of his “one or two more years” comment after a loss to Clemson.

Coach Spurrier is one of, if not the most, competitive people I’ve ever been around. He won’t go out on a crappy season. No chance in hell.

I fully anticipate the Gamecocks having a solid season and making a decent bowl game. We dropped a close one at home to Kentucky but showed resilience and I believe Perry Orth will lead this team to some big victories.

They just have to play one game at a time and not overlook anyone. It all starts with this game down in Athens.