Checking in on the Gamecocks

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- I will be in the Palmetto State the next two days checking in on the South Carolina Gamecocks.

To say this is a big season upcoming for the Gamecocks is putting it mildly. I can't remember another one under Steve Spurrier where I thought they had a more legitimate chance to win the Eastern Division than this one.

The expectations will no doubt be lofty. We'll see if this team can handle those expectations.

Spurrier senses this opportunity and is pushing pretty hard. He's said nobody's job is safe. That includes junior quarterback Stephen Garcia, who made significant improvement last season.

Ultimately, I think the Gamecocks will be good enough on defense under Ellis Johnson to make a run. They've been outstanding the past two seasons on defense and haven't had a lot of help from the offense.

What it's going to come down to for South Carolina is playing more consistently on the offensive line and finding a way to run the football better than the Gamecocks have to this point under Spurrier.

If they do that, look for them to be right there come November.

And before anybody asks, I do plan on finding a full-service gas station in South Carolina when it's time to re-fuel.

OK, I'm only kidding.