South Carolina 25/1 to win Title
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) – South Carolina returns 10 starters on offense but will the quarterback position hurt the Gamecocks’ chances to win a championship?
The Gamecocks bring back four of five starters along the offensive line for 2014 including offensive tackles Corey Robinson and Brandon Shell, guard A.J. Cann and center Cody Waldrop. Skill position players Shaq Roland, Damiere Byrd, Nick Jones and 2013 All-Conference running back Mike Davis all return for last year’s team as well.
The problem is at quarterback, where Connor Shaw is now in the NFL and the team will turn to senior Dylan Thompson. The athletic Thompson has had opportunities to shine over the past couple of seasons but has turned in average performances. Can he finally turn the page in his final season and cash in on his talent? While receiver and offensive line are strengths, quarterback is a concern.
Another concern is on the defensive line, where only J.T. Surratt returns to the starting four. The biggest loss was obviously Jadeveon Clowney, who was selected No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans in May’s NFL draft. But replacing Kelcy Quarles and Chaz Sutton will also be a challenge, as well as filling the void left by starting cornerbacks Victor Hampton and Jimmy Legree.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, South Carolina is 25/1 to win the 2015 college football FBS championship and has 4/1 odds to make the four-team playoff next season. If Thompson can perform above expectations, then the Gamecocks’ offense should be potent enough to be in the playoff discussion. But this team also has multiple concerns on defense, specifically along the defensive line and at cornerback.