In my preview of the 2017 season, I said I expected the Gamecocks to go 8-4, and also made some other predictions for the season. I was correct on the final record, although I picked SC to beat Kentucky and lose to Tennessee. Here's a review of some of the predictions I made prior to the season:
Skai Moore will lead the team in tackles, making him the first player in program history to do so for 4 years, and one of few players in college football history to accomplish that feat. He will also snag 4 interceptions, making him the South Carolina career record holder.
I was correct on this one. Moore currently leads the team with 88 tackles for the season, 13 more than T.J. Brunson. He is currently tied with Bo Davies for the career interception record after snagging 3 during the regular season.
- Jake Bentley will throw for 3,500 yards and have a QBR of 155 for the season. He will be 2nd-team All-SEC quarterback.
Bentley regressed down the stretch this year and only finished with 2,555 passing yards. This still put him at 4th in the SEC in that category, however. His rating for the regular season is 130.2, which was 11th best in the conference.
- Deebo Samuel will have 1,000 receiving yards, 250 rushing yards, 600 return yards, and 15 total TDs. He will be a consensus 1st-team All-SEC player in as both a receiver and all-purpose player.
This totally would have happened if Deebo hadn't broken his leg halfway through the Kentucky game. Deebo had 250 yards receiving with 3 TDs, 30 yards rushing with 1 TD, and returned 100% of his kick-off returns for 2 TDs in only 2.5 games played.
- Hayden Hurst will break his own receptions and receiving yards record for a tight-end.
His numbers are consistent with those he put up last year, but he likely won't break his own record. He currently has 7 receptions and 98 yards to go to match his totals from last season.
- Bryan Edwards will have 800 receiving yards and 8 TDs.
Edwards currently has 705 yards receiving and 4 TDs.
- South Carolina will have two players rush for over 750 yards.
Nope. Only A.J. Turner made it over 500 yards. Rico Dowdle got hurt and only played in 7 games, but he only pulled down 206 yards prior to his injury.
- Bryson Allen-Williams will have 5 sacks with 15 TFL.
In only 3 games BAW had 3 TFLs, 2 of which were sacks. I think he would have made it to my predicted numbers if he had stayed healthy, especially given the improvement in the Defense seen as the season progressed.
- South Carolina will finish between 6th and 8th in the SEC in Scoring Defense. They will be in the Top 4 for generating turnovers.
The Gamecocks actually finished better than I expected on Defense. They were 5th best in the SEC in Scoring Defense, giving up only 21.8 points per game. This put them just outside the Top 25 in the FBS at #28. The Gamecocks were #1 in the SEC and #26 in the FBS in generating turnovers, forcing 23 total for the regular season.
- The Gamecocks will finish 2nd in the SEC East.
Yep, nailed it.
- South Carolina's Offense will be 4th best in the SEC.
Way off on this one. The Gamecocks ended up with the 12th best Offense in the 14-team SEC.
Overall, the result of regular was just as I expected (8-4), but the way the Gamecocks arrived there was a surprise. Given the young talent coming back on Offense, and the lack of proven depth on Defense, the expectation was that the Offense would lead the way as the strongest unit. Even with a lot of injuries to key personnel throughout the season, Jake Bentley and crew ending up being a disappointment. The Defense, on the other hand, played out of their minds and put together a Top30 performance. However they got there, I'll take it. Finishing 8-4 represents a significant improvement for the Gamecocks, and puts them on solid footing for the 2018 season.