South Carolina finds themselves looking up as the media picked the Gamecocks to finish second in the SEC East and fourth in the SEC during the 2012 SEC Media Days.
The media members gave the Gamecocks a total of 1358 points in predicted finish in the SEC East. They received 72 first-place votes while Georgia was picked to finish first with 1434 votes and 132 first-place votes.
In regards to the overall SEC finish, South Carolina received six votes to finish fourth behind LSU (129 votes). Alabama (65 votes) and Georgia (14 votes).
The overall voting between the Gamecocks and Georgia in total votes is very close. The first-place votes, though, were a different story. Georgia nearly doubled the Gamecocks in first-place votes. The Bulldogs have a lot of returning talent. There's a good nucleus at defense returning along with quarterback Aaron Murray and a potential star running back in Keith Marshall. Yes, the Bulldogs will be good, but will they be better than South Carolina? It's hard to say.
South Carolina has plenty of talent on offense and defense and returns a strong nucleus from last year's 11-win team. Was South Carolina better than the Bulldogs last year? They won the head-to-head matchup and finished with more wins against a tougher schedule. South Carolina has a much tougher schedule than UGA in 2012 but seems better prepared to handle the tough conference schedule.
The likely difference in UGA over South Carolina? It all comes back to the schedule. Georgia avoids Alabama, LSU and Arkansas for the second straight year while the Gamecocks pick up a road game at LSU. If you throw in the tough October month of Georgia, LSU, Florida and Tennessee for the Gamecocks and it might be the difference between a UGA division title and a South Carolina division title.
At any event, it's great to see the Gamecocks get so much respect now from the media covering the SEC. It truly is a different time around South Carolina football.