Talk season heats up this week in Atlanta as the 2023 football season officially kicks off with SEC Media Days. Here you can keep up to date with live updates. At the end of the week, the media and coaches will announce their preseason All-SEC teams and division winners, but before that, we wanted to show our readers what the national publications are saying. We went to our local Barnes and Nobles and flipped through the usual preseason guides without buying one so you don’t have to. (Note that we don’t really recommend this). The pre-season magazines are informative and entertaining and can be a great reference throughout the season. Here was what they had to say about the second edition of Shane Beamers South Carolina gamecocks.
You’ve always heard that it’s impossible to get a group of four strangers to agree on anything, well it happened. Collegefootballnews.com, Lindy’s, Athlon and Phil Steele all agree the Gamecocks are done 5th in the SEC East. There were no differences in any publication’s selections for #1 (Georgia) or 5-7 (Carolina, Missouri, Vanderbilt) in the East. They all also took Alabama to the west. All four have named Alabama their National Champion to demonstrate college football’s problem of lacking parity. Three of the four have exactly the same playoff teams, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and Clemson. Collegefootballnews.com has Southern Cal in last place instead of Clemson.
Collegefootballnews and Athlon both have the Gamecocks finish with another 6-6 record and another 3-5 record in the SEC. Phil Steele and Lindy’s don’t predict a definitive record. Gamecock fans took offense at Steele’s omission of the Gamecocks from his top 60 national rankings. He explained that his top 60 is based on a predicted order of finishes. He also has Carolina at number 38 in his power poll. In the South Carolina section, Steele notes that he thinks the 2022 Gamecocks will outperform the 2021 team. Steele calls Beamer a rising star and that Carolina has a “great opportunity” to rise in the East. Steele also predicted that the Gamecocks’ offense would improve greatly, surviving an average of more touchdowns this season than last season. Steele has Carolina’s quarterback and receiver units ranked 4th in the SEC. The Gamecock position groups he ranks as the lowest in the conference are running backs at 12 and defensive line at 10.
Athlon ranked Carolina 42nd in the country and predicted a 6-6 for her. Athlon’s Bowl projection has the Gamecocks playing West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl. (The Mountaineers are probably still simmering after that 95′ Carquest Bowl). The Gamecocks’ Athlon listing was also identical to Steele’s, the Gamecocks will be better, but the schedule doesn’t allow for big improvements in the win column. Athlon has a little blurb from an “opposing coach” that may have been the most encouraging paragraphs I’ve seen this offseason. The coach said, paraphrasing here, that Beamer knew what he was doing and would build a winner. The trainer was impressed by how much talent Beamer could land in the portal and when Spencer Rattler shines this season, South Carolina could be a destination for high-profile players who need a second chance. The coach warned that the Gamecocks’ year-end and year-end play schedule could limit Beamer’s cap. Athlon also ranked Carolina’s QB space as his strongest position, placing her at No. 5 in the SEC. They ranked Carolina’s offensive line as their number one concern, ranking them the 13th best unit in the league.
Yes, Lindy’s is still a thing. They too were optimistic about an improved Gamecock team for 2022. Bottom line, nothing earth shattering here, if Spencer Rattler plays well the Gamecocks pull a few upsets and improve to 7-6. Lindy’s believed the Gamecocks lacked the depth of upper-tier SEC teams. Lindy’s ranked 45th in South Carolina nationally.
Everyone loves Cam Smith. Steele and Athlon have him 1st Team All-SEC. Lindy’s have Smith as their 2nd team pick. Steele has Smith as a 2nd Team All-American. It should be noted that the SEC is loaded with a high potential of drafts and first-round corners this season and Cam Smith predicts to be one of them.
Lindy’s didn’t have Gamecocks on the first-team All-SEC team, but in addition to Smith, they had it too Zach Pickens in the second team Josh Van, Dak Joyner, Jovaughn Gwyn, and BradJohnson in the third team. They also list Rattler as “Newcomer of the Year” at the conference.
Steele, usually the most accurate of preseason forecasters (if you don’t believe me, just ask him — it’s all over his mag), also has Smith as a first-team All-Conference team. He typed Dylan Wonnum and Vann as second team members. Steele placed pickens and Antwan Wells in his 3rd Team and a trio of Gamecocks in his 4th Team All-SEC roster. (Austin Stogner, Jordan Burch, JuJu McDowell).
Athlon also has Vann on the second team Jaheim bell. Like Steele, Athlon placed Pickens on his third team. Athlon also picked McDowell as an all-purpose, all-SEC third-team pick.
That’s 12 different Gamecocks on an All-SEC team, and none of them are named Spencer Rattler.
What does it all mean? Absolutely nothing at this point, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to talk about in July. Come to the Insider Forum and say what you think.