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Can South Carolina win the SEC East in 2022 with Spencer Rattler?

Oklahoma's Spencer Rattler (7) warms up before a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. Lx14071

Quarterback Spencer Rattler — a former five-star recruit who began the 2021 season as the consensus Heisman frontrunner and favorite to be the 2022 No. 1 overall pick — has officially found his new team at South Carolina. He will be reuniting with Shane Beamer, who is now the head coach of the Gamecocks after being assistant head coach at Oklahoma from 2018 through 2020. 

The question about Rattler's future has changed from, “Where is Rattler going to land?” to “Can Rattler get back to his Heisman status and help turn around South Carolina?”

South Carolina football was at the top about a decade ago. Steve Spurrier had led the program to three straight 11-win seasons from 2011 through 2013. The Gamecocks finished each of those years as a top-10 ranked program according to the AP — the only such finishes the program has obtained since the poll’s inception. 

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From that point forward, though, South Carolina dropped back. The Gamecocks proceeded to go 44-54 across the next eight seasons from 2014 through 2021. 

There is optimism that South Carolina can climb out of mediocrity under new head coach Shane Beamer. He led the Gamecocks to an even 6-6 record his first year on campus in 2021. It’s middling on paper, but it was well above a market that expected a 4-8 record. Considering he had a quarterback dilemma that forced him to start a graduate assistant in Zeb Noland for a handful of games, this was progress for the program. 

With the addition of Rattler, the optimism that South Carolina can get back to top-tier status is rapidly increasing. 

So what are the realistic chances the Gamecocks claim the SEC East crown for a spot in the conference championship game in 2022 with Rattler at the helm? 

WHY SOUTH CAROLINA CAN REACH THE TOP

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