One of the best ways to get through the dog days of summer, when football is still months away, is to thumb through a couple hundred pages of dead trees with ink splotched predictions about the upcoming season that in all likelihood will not be accurate. Can you name one publication that prediction Missouri to win the SEC East last year? Who had Auburn in the BCS title game? The answer is no one, because there is no way to predict how a college football season is going to unfold. That’s not to say that these preseason guides aren’t a useful way to pass these sweltering hot days, and a great way to get a feel for what the national perception is for the teams we keep tabs on in this neck of the woods. So, with that said, lets take a peek at what Athlon Sports thinks about Clemson and USC. ed. note: We know a lot of this info has been leaking out over the past few days/weeks, but we thought we’d put it all in one place here.
Athlon picked the Gamecocks second in the SEC East behind Georgia. They predict the Gamecocks will finish 10-2 overall and 6-2 in the SEC and end up in the Fiesta Bowl against Oregon. They have Gamecocks ranked 9th in its preseason top 25.
Six Gamecock players made the Athlon All-SEC Team. Senior guard A.J. Cann was the only player to earn first team honors. Running back Mike Davis and linebacker Skai Moore landed on the second team. Offensive lineman Corey Robinson and place kicker Elliott Frye are on the third team, and wide receiver Shaq Roland was a fourth team selection.
Athlon picked Clemson to finished second in the ACC Atlantic Division. They predict the Tigers to finish with a 9-3 record, 7-1 in the ACC. That means the magazine expects Clemson to drop non-conference at Georgia and at home against South Carolina. They predict the Tigers will be back in South Florida for an Orange Bowl matchup against defending SEC Champion Auburn. Clemson is ranked 21st in the magazine’s preseason top 25.
Two Clemson players made the Athlon first team All-ACC, both defensive players. Defensive end Vic Beasley and linebacker Stephone Anthony represented the Tigers on the first team, while defensive end Corey Crawford earned third team honors.
Other notes: Athlon picked Alabama to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship game and Florida State to beat Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship. The magazine’s top four: Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma.