College Football Picks: South Carolina Gamecocks Future Odds

Jeff Grant

Monday, May 26, 2014 3:15 PM GMT

The University of South Carolina's football team, the Gamecocks, will need to replace some key players this season. The program is still in good shape as it enters its 10th year under head coach Steve Spurrier. Join Jeff Grant as he looks into this team's future odds.
Worth a look   
South Carolina is +4695 to win the NCAA football national title at Pinnacle Sports—the fourth-lowest betting odds among SEC members—behind the Alabama Crimson Tide (+660), Auburn Tigers (+2090) and LSU Tigers (+2099).   

The Gamecocks welcomed back 58 returning letter winners to begin the spring season, including 16 starters from a year ago. 
 

Big holes to fill   
The Gamecocks will be looking to replace some key contributors from last season, with the biggest departure being defensive end, Jadeveon Clowney, who was the first player selected in the 2014 NFL draft by the Houston Texans.   

On the other side of the ball, South Carolina will begin life without quarterback Connor Shaw—a player that helped the team set a school record with 5,880 total yards. It’s still important to point out that South Carolina returns 78 percent of its rushing yards. and 76 percent of its receiving yards from 2013-14.   
 

Thompson   
Shaw’s replacement is expected to be fifth-year senior quarterback, Dylan Thompson, who will benefit in handing the ball off to one of the deepest backfields in the country—led by running back Mike Davis.     

Thompson has completed 55 percent of his passes over the past three seasons for 1,827 yards with 14 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He also has a pair of 300-yard passing games among his three starts.  


There’s no place like home   
The Gamecocks are worth a long look in the college football futures betting mark, especially since they’ve won their last 18 home games—the longest active streak of its kind nationally. South Carolina has compiled a 34-3 SU record in its last 37 home games, with the losses coming to top-ranked Florida in 2009, to 17th-ranked Arkansas in 2010, and to defending national champion Auburn in 2011.  


Linebacker U 
  
Three of the team’s top-five tackles return in Kaiwan Lewis, Skai Moore and Marcquis Roberts, which should help the defense move on without the services of Clowney and fellow linemen Kelcy Quarles.   

Spurrier certainly knows that this group has a few holes entering a new season, considering it surrendered 6.5 yards per play and 16.8 yards per completion in the program’s spring game.   


Schedule   
The Gamecocks will be challenged in the early going by playing Texas A&M, East Carolina and Georgia in the opening three weeks of the season, but each of those affairs will be played in Columbia. South Carolina also benefits in not having to play SEC powerhouses Alabama and LSU