Countdown to No. 1: Should Gamecocks be higher than No. 21?

Hope everybody had a good weekend. We are less than three weeks from the start of the season. So we’re going to take the next five days to preview our Top 25 for 2010. Starting today with No. 25, we’ll give you five teams each day down to Friday when we’ll present our top five.

If you see teams that don’t deserve to be ranked at all  or shouldn’t be ranked in that position I have them, please tell me why. When we get to the end of the week I’ll be interested in your Top 10. So start putting them together now and ship them to me on Friday.

Here, to get the week and the conversation started,  are No. 21-25:

25. Navy

**–It will be a good season if: Ricky Dobbs can go the distance. Dobbs, a native of Douglasville, was just sensational in 2009. He ran for over 1,000 yards, passed for over 1,000 yards, and broke Tim Tebow’s record for a quarterback by scoring 27 rushing touchdowns. And he played the last six games with a broken kneecap as the Midshipmen went 10-4.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: They don’t beat Army for the ninth straight time. This team is good enough to win 10 games for the second straight year—something that has never been done at Navy. But this senior class does not want to be the one that ends Navy’s streak of seven straight Commander in Chief’s trophies.

24. Auburn

**–It will be a good season if:  Cameron Newton lives up to all the expectations. Newton, who transferred to Auburn after winning a JUCO national championship, appears to be the missing piece of an offense that could be one of the SEC’s best. Auburn is deep at every position on offense. The Tigers just need a trigger man who can run. At 6-6, 243, Newton fills the bill.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: The defense doesn’t get better. Auburn basically had only three linebackers last season and the lack of depth finally caught up with the Tigers, who finished 11th in the SEC in total defense. DC Ted Roof feels better about things with eight starters returning and some potential help from a very good freshman class.

23. LSU

**–It will be a good season if: The Tigers can find something that resembles an offensive identity. LSU finished 10th in the SEC and No. 90 nationally in rushing the football at 122.77 yards per game last season. That’s won’t work. LSU also has to find ways to get the ball to sophomore speedster Russell Shepard, a quarterback who is now a full-time receiver.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: They lose to North Carolina in the opener. Here’s why. If LSU beats the Tar Heels in Atlanta, three of the next four games are at home and the road game is at Vanderbilt. They could be 5-0 going to Florida on Oct. 9. Lose on Sept. 4 and things will get restless on the Bayou in a hurry.

22. Clemson

**–It will be a good season if: The Tigers can find somebody to catch the ball. QB Kyle Parker is back but he must find some new targets. In RB C.J. Spiller, WR Jacoby Ford, and tight end Michael Palmer they lost three players who combined for 135 catches for 1,789 yards.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: Running backs Andre Ellington (7.2 ypc in 2009) and Jamie Harper don’t step up and give Clemson a solid running game. They can’t replace the explosiveness of Spiller, but they should be able to run the ball effectively behind an offensive line that returns four of five starters.

21. South Carolina

**–It will be a good season if: QB Stephen Garcia learns to get rid of the ball. Last season the Gamecocks led the SEC by giving up 37 quarterback sacks. A lot of those were because Garcia held onto the ball too long. Coach Steve Spurrier verbally beat on Garcia all spring and summer to make his point. If Garcia refuses to learn, Spurrier has freshman Conner Shaw waiting in the wings.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: The offensive line doesn’t get any better. Spurrier has hired his third offensive line coach in as many seasons (Shawn Elliott from Appalachian State). The Gamecocks were last in the SEC in rushing last season but hope to improve with the addition of highly-recruited freshman Marcus Lattimore at running back. If South Carolina has a better running game Stephen Garcia will be a better quarterback.

Tuesday: No. 16-20.

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170 comments Add your comment

Remarkable

August 16th, 2010
8:11 am

First……………………………

CT

August 16th, 2010
8:11 am

CT

August 16th, 2010
8:11 am

Ahhh….second.

Single Wing

August 16th, 2010
8:14 am

Auburn’s problem on D isn’t depth… it’s Ted Roof.

Reg

August 16th, 2010
8:16 am

It’s all about the O-Line for SC, as Georgia proved last year. Lattimore is irrelevant if the O-Line can’t block and open holes. the 3 O-Line coaches in 3 years shows that Spurrier hasn’t really figured it out yet, Spurrier doesn’t know how to have a solid O-Line in this day and age. Another 7 win season for SC, at best. You can’t win big in the SEC without a dominating O-Line, and SC has been one of the worst. Shouldn’t be ranked in top 25, havn’t earned it.

Remarkable

August 16th, 2010
8:18 am

I love our nations military and it’s schools but can Navy really be considered one of the 25 best football teams in the nation? I’m not even sure a school from South Carolina should be in this group.

baloney

August 16th, 2010
8:19 am

No, they should not even be ranked. They are simply taking a spot that someone else will have after the first few gmaes this season. Plus they have ugly uniforms.

A Pawsitive Experience

August 16th, 2010
8:19 am

Clemson players has made some amazing strides in the weight room this past off season. They are the most athletic physical team in the southeast and should compete for the ACC title now that Kyle Parker is back. The Strenght and conditioning program at Clemson is Tops in America.

Tom

August 16th, 2010
8:23 am

I would put an ACC team in for SC, depending on who Tony goes with for 1-20. ACC has a lot of top 25 teams, Miami, V Tech, Clemson, FSU, NC, Boston College. Tony’s likely going to lean SEC over ACC. Why SC at #21? I see no real reason to even rank them in the top 25.

SC has the #2 toughest schedule in the NCAA. They’re doomed.

Tom

August 16th, 2010
8:26 am

SC gets Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Auburn, and Clemson.

George G.

August 16th, 2010
8:27 am

South Carolina will play Florida in mid-November with a trip to Atlanta on the line.

Mike

August 16th, 2010
8:28 am

Notre Dame should be at least #25 and here’s why…

Charlie Weis’ top 10 recruiting classes are now upperclassmen and they finally have a head coach who can get the maximum out of that potential in Brian Kelly who has 19 winning seasons in 20 years as a head coach. Whenever ND has hired a proven winner as head coach, they have won big (Leahy, Parseghian, Devine, Holtz). When they’ve hired someone with little or no winning backgroud as a college head coach they have struggled (Faust, Davie, Willingham, Weis). Yes the Irish lost 6 games last season but they were all by a touchdown or less and this year, ND only has 3 true road games on the schedule. This team will win at least 9 games against this schedule.

Bubba

August 16th, 2010
8:28 am

From what I read in The (Columbia) State newspaper yesterday, the offensive line gave up 5 sacks in 14 or 15 plays in which Garcia dropped back. They also gave up a couple more with other QB’s behind center. Lattimore will regret his decision not to go to Auburn! It will be a long year for those
It appears that they will have offensive line coach number 4 after this coming season. Boy, this will really help their recruiting!

Vick=Dog killing thug

August 16th, 2010
8:30 am

I don’t see SC doing anything this year but they will play the dawgs tough as always.

't'

August 16th, 2010
8:32 am

South Carolina will still be south carolina no matter who the coach is or plays on the O-Line
8 & 4…….

Mikey in SAV

August 16th, 2010
8:36 am

Do you realize it will be 9 thousand degrees when we go to Columbia on 9/11 ?

Uncle G

August 16th, 2010
8:39 am

Spurrier doesn’t have the talent he had in Florida. His success there was due to having superiror talent, Spurrier got a lot of credit at Florida for coaching, that has since proven to be due entirely to his talent base. Spurrier just can’t coach, look at his record at SC.

joe

August 16th, 2010
8:44 am

USCe will beat UGA, mark it down. If Arky gets off to a good start, UGA could be looking at 2-2…oh my…hard to stop a train when it’s rolling downhill…unless the wheels fall off.

rogeriter

August 16th, 2010
8:47 am

I am not a fan of the evil genius, but anyone who thinks that Steve Spurrier can’t coach is nuts. Even with the talent, where was Fla. before he came along?

BirdDog

August 16th, 2010
8:49 am

It will be a dog fight for sure in Columbia on 9/11!

CRD

August 16th, 2010
8:53 am

3 sec teams. What a joke. No SC shoudn’t be higer. Nor should allbarn. WTF have they done?

Kang

August 16th, 2010
8:58 am

Yes, Bubba, the o-line gave up a sack just about every play. That’s why the backup you say got sacked went 12-14 on the day. We better plan on Bama winning the BCSC again, McElroy threw 6 TDs in their scrimmage. I expect no less than 72 TDs from him in the regular season.

17 of 20

August 16th, 2010
8:58 am

Steve Spurrier was only getting the third best talent in Florida when he coached the Gators. Florida State and Miami out recruited Florida almost every year, and he still beat the crap out of the bulldogs. The man changed the SEC; he can coach.

brewhaha

August 16th, 2010
9:00 am

Spurrier Glory days are over and with the talent or lack of talent he can expect at South Carolina ther won’t be anymore glory days for him. He’s not the same coach so stop trying to make his teams more than they are. Top 25 at best

Darren

August 16th, 2010
9:02 am

South Carolina’s defense: D-Line, LB’s, and DB’s are solid. On offense: The QB, RB, O-Line units are weak. The WR corp are solid. Special teams unit is weak. Just too many holes for South Carolina.

rogeriter

August 16th, 2010
9:04 am

17 of 20–you are right! I am an avid dawgs fan, but Steve Spurrier can flat coach! Even with the lack of talent at SC, he scares the heck out of me. And ACC fans, if you think SC shouldn’t be ranked, they and the weakest Ga team in years, beat both of your champions. Spurrier could beat you with his team or the coaches could trade players and he would beat you with your players!

Rex Enright

August 16th, 2010
9:05 am

South Carolina only at No. 21. This is an unspeakable human tragedy.

TJ

August 16th, 2010
9:06 am

South Carolina doesn’t belong in the top 25. They’re not even the best team in South Carolina!!

Brent

August 16th, 2010
9:07 am

Richt’s 7-2 record against South Carolina. Spurrier just can’t coach.

goldwreck

August 16th, 2010
9:08 am

I’m not a Spurrier fan but anybody that can win the ACC coaching at Duke seems credible to me.
Also,Florida never realized its potential until Spurrier got there.If I’m not mistaken he broke into coaching as an assistant with the Yellow Jackets.

How2fish

August 16th, 2010
9:09 am

17 of 20
August 16th, 2010
8:58 am
Steve Spurrier was only getting the third best talent in Florida when he coached the Gators. Florida State and Miami out recruited Florida almost every year, and he still beat the crap out of the bulldogs. The man changed the SEC; he can coach.

Really..he can coach…riddle me this then…what happened? UF still owns UGA but UGA owns the visor..if he can coach how is that possible?

Dustin

August 16th, 2010
9:09 am

I’d put SC’s defense as top 15, and their offense, I’d put as top 25, so yeah, I’d say #21 is about right.

I am not going to be the head coach at Alabama. I am the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

August 16th, 2010
9:10 am

Navy (or any service academy) making the top 25 would be a great story. Even as a kid I pulled for them. Even more so the last several years.
Auburn will be better.
LSU– what happened? NC a few years ago, now this??
Clemson–who cares
SC—3rd or 4th in the sec east. An upset of UGA would be huge, though I don’t look for it to happen.

GATA

Rolaids saleman

August 16th, 2010
9:14 am

South Carolina will be pathetic as always. Whats more pathetic is UGA will lose to this pathetic football program. Order now while supplies last !

I am not going to be the head coach at Alabama. I am the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

August 16th, 2010
9:15 am

BTW, does everyone know what A-U-B-U-R-N stands for ??
Alabama
Usually
Beats
Us
Red
Necks

Go dawgs

Rolaids salesman

August 16th, 2010
9:15 am

Enter your comments here

NCAA Statistician

August 16th, 2010
9:17 am

3 SEC programs in 5 of the slots??? No way that becomes a reality but I do understand that you are trying to placate fans that reside in Atlanta. The same argument could be made for Clemson – believe you are the only ranking that has them as top 25. Where is UGA??? No way they should be higher but are you truly brave enough to keep them out of the top 25 in this state??? NO WAY…you’d be run out of town or found in a ditch! LOL My bet is you’ll put them in the top 15. Another question…Will you put Bama on top even though they replace 9 defensive players? Will you over rank Miami like so many other writers and publications (they will be good but that schedule bodes a minimum of three losses)?

winterDawg

August 16th, 2010
9:18 am

Somewhat surprised by these teams low posts. Honestly, I have no idea what they have coming back but I would think Auburn, LSU, and Clemson would be expected to do better. I guess I would mostly expect more from Auburn with the last 2 recruiting classes being heralded and a clearly defined QB. Are these rankings reflective of where you expect them to be at the end of the year because of the toughness of an SEC schedule?

winterDawg

August 16th, 2010
9:22 am

Spurrier is an offensive mastermind, but he hasn’t been able to recruit the players he needs at SC. Even though he beat up on poorly coached UGA teams, his teams usually lacked a certain toughness and discipline as was evidenced in many FSU games and the NC game against Nebraska. The Gator program took it to another level when he started to get good defensive coaches.

RxDawg

August 16th, 2010
9:26 am

25 Navy – no comment

24 Auburn – still needs to prove they are back and belong here, but I won’t argue with a 24th ranking.

23 LSU – I feel Auburn’s stock is rising, and I feel LSU’s is falling. Mile’s cannot be a horrible coach, he did win the BCS championship after all. I just lack confidence in LSU right now.

22 Clemson – It’s a good thing Parker came back to play for them. They could be a sleeper team in the ACC.

21 USCe – People want to believe in Spurrier’s chickens. But history says otherwise. Of course they eventually will have to rise to the top.

Greg

August 16th, 2010
9:28 am

I don’t know why South Carolina would be in anybody’s top 25 until they have at least one year that proves they deserve to be there. As usual, they tanked down the stretched last year, losing 5 of the last 7….besides the Clemson win, their only other victory over that final stretch was by 4 points over Vandy! Then they got dominated by a mid-tier Big East team in their lousy bowl game.

DawginLex

August 16th, 2010
9:32 am

Spurrier is paying throught he nose for all those years he spouted off at the mouth. Can’t beat his most hated rival coached by a man who trained under his 2nd most hated rival.

Karma is something else.

Paul in RDU

August 16th, 2010
9:42 am

3 SEC teams, 1 ACC and a team from MD already, with probably at least 4 SEC teams (ALA, UF, UGA, Arky) and 5 ACC teams (VT, NC, GT, UM, FSU) to come. Mr CFB needs to change his name to Mr SoFB

cu90

August 16th, 2010
9:54 am

I think after about 6 years the idea that Steve Spurrier is going to turn USC into some powerhouse has gone. Maybe because he’s lost fire w/ age or ideas are no longer new. UGA, UT, and UF may all have down years (relatively speaking) so USC may peak with a 2nd place finish this year — IF they improve from last year. I’d say there is a 50-50 chance they finish in the bottom half of the top 25, but no higher.

Clemson may be overall slightly better than last year, because even though Spiller is gone they should have better O-line/D-lines. Their problem will be the schedule. Far and away the most important games on the schedule are FSU and BC. Last year both games were wins @ home. Both teams look to be better and both are on the road.

What dawg?

August 16th, 2010
10:04 am

I’m thinking UGA should probably be on today’s list and Auburn should probably be on tomorrow’s.

The Big Tigger

August 16th, 2010
10:06 am

Clemson should improve in 2010, even without Spiller and Ford. This team has been stock piling talent for the last 5 years now. The O and D Lines are stocked and have the majority of starters returning. The battles start in the trenches and that’s where Clemson will dominate, everything else will fall into place. Go Tigers!

SC whipped clemson last year

August 16th, 2010
10:07 am

with CJ the heisman candidate and Ford the human bolt of lightning. What makes you tigers think that Clemson will beat SC this year?

UGAY in the Papa Johns Bowl

August 16th, 2010
10:12 am

WHERE’S UGAY AT?? BURNHART IS SUCH A HOMER, HE’S GONNA HAVE UGAY OVER-RATED ( AS USUAL ). GET READY PEOPLE FOR UGAY TO BE RANKED IN THE TOP 10

NoGaGator

August 16th, 2010
10:14 am

How2fish -

Spurrier can coach but recruiting?…not so much.

Both FSU and UM were getting higher ranked recruits when he was at UF and he managed to win big with what he had.

If you look at ESPN’s recruiting rankings for the last 5 years, USCe wasn’t even ranked in the top 25 for 3 of the 5 years. In 2007 they were ranked #4 and they were ranked #23 for the 2010 class.

That’s a huge gap compared to UGA or UF. While he could recruit better he seems to be getting a lot out of who he gets if you believe in the recruiting rankings.

Jona

August 16th, 2010
10:15 am

Too bad you started at 25. Now we’re not going to know what you think of the little tech school on North Ave.