Top 50 teams of 2019: No. 38 South Carolina

 

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Before the start of Illinois football's training camp on Aug. 2 in Champaign, beat writer Bob Asmussen is counting down the Top 50 teams heading into the 2019 college football season:

No. 38: South Carolina

Coach: Will Muschamp

2018 record: 7-6

Projected 2019 record: 8-4

Circle the date: Sept. 14 vs. Alabama

Bowl trip: Belk

Why No. 38: Quarterback Jake Bentley is a good place to start. He threw for 510 yards and five touchdowns last season against eventual national champion Clemson. Never mind that the Gamecocks lost the game. Not his fault. He wasn't on the defense that allowed 56 points. Bentley wound up throwing for 3,171 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. But he must drop his interception total from 14. ... The receiver position is loaded with the return of 55-catch Bryan Edwards and 45-catch Shi Smith. ... The linebackers are the strength of the defense led by T.J. Brunson and Jerrod Greene. ... The schedule is brutal, starting with the SEC opener against Alabama. The Gamecocks also play at Georgia and Texas A&M and host Florida and Clemson.

Last year's ranking: No. 29