GAMECOCKS 2007: LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE
It is against the Gamecock fan creed to call anything a sure win. Mostly because, when the Gamecocks are involved, there is no such thing as a sure win.
United States vs. Yugoslavia? Sure win. Goat vs. the Cubs? Sure win. South Carolina vs. any team whose players have operative use of at least two limbs? We'll see.
With Steve Spurrier at the helm, the Gamecocks should feel relatively comfortable that Louisiana-Lafayette will end up in the win column. But we take a look at the Ragin' Cajuns anyway, mostly because not doing so would almost ensure defeat. It's called tempting fate.
In 2006, the Ragin' Cajuns' strategy was fairly simple: Run. The Cajuns attempted 276 passes last season, completed 51.4 percent of those, and must replace their starting QB this year. Which means their strategy this year should be: Run.
This brings us to Tyrell Fenroy, a likely all-conference back (at least if TSN is to be believed, and C&F sees no reason to doubt it), who rushed for 1,197 yards and 10 TDs, picking up 5.4 yards a carry. He was a key reason Louisiana-Lafayette outrushed opponents by more than 700 yards in 2006 (2,264-1,522).
BCS teams, though, seemed to be able to contain Fenroy and Co., with LSU holding the Cajuns to 113 yards on the ground and Texas A&M slowing them down enough to keep rushing yardage at 154.
The run has been a problem for South Carolina the last two years, but there is reason to believe that will improve this season. ADVANTAGE: GAMECOCKS
On the defensive side of the ball, no immediate playmakers from the last campaign stand out, though DE Rodney Hardeway returns to try to improve on his 9 TFL and 5 sacks.
All opponents meted out 331 yards a game against Louisiana-Lafayette. Accordingly, BCS opponents lit the Cajuns up. LSU rushed for 170 yards and 3 TDs and passed for another 299 yards and three scores. Texas A&M piled up 225 yards on the ground to go with 5 TDs, while the passing game added 271 yards and 2 TDs. The Cajuns get DC Kevin Fouquier from Florida International, but it should be too little too late for this game. ADVANTAGE: GAMECOCKS
As far as special teams, neither the Cajuns nor South Carolina did anything worthy of noting. But USC didn't impress in the SEC. Louisiana-Lafayette fails to stand out in the Sun Belt. ADVANTAGE: GAMECOCKS
So this is as close as things come to a sure win for the Gamecocks. You would think.