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Teams likely to bounce back from Week 1

Updated: September 5, 2012, 3:45 PM ET
By Travis Haney

Take a breath. Week 1 is complete. Some teams, and not just Alabama, got off to great starts. Others would probably like a mulligan. A handful of visible programs either struggled to a victory, were defeated by better teams, or were stunned at home.

What's next for the teams that didn't exactly set the trail ablaze in their openers? Are their seasons in danger, or could they soon turn things around? We took a look at the teams with the best chances of bouncing back, and the ones whose rocky starts look more like a sign of bad things to come.

Bounce-back candidates

South Carolina Gamecocks
Result: 17-13 victory at Vanderbilt

Reason for optimism: As I noted Sunday, the Gamecocks have rarely played well under Steve Spurrier (A) in openers and (B) against Vanderbilt. Anyone anticipating a rout hasn't seen the track record for those parameters. Connor Shaw's shoulder bruise is a worry, but the Gamecocks have East Carolina and UAB the next couple of weeks, so he should be able to catch a break and be ready for the Sept. 22 conference opener against Missouri. Plus, as we also mentioned Sunday, the Gamecocks' coaches weren't too concerned about the team's performance in the close win.

Reason for concern: The Gamecocks' offensive line, a weakness during Spurrier's entire stay, still isn't quite there. They'll need more from the likes of Brandon Shell, whose (lack of) fitness didn't allow for him to continue playing, and T.J. Johnson, if they're to win the SEC East.

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