Top 25 playoff teams: Gamecocks

Mike Davis, South Carolina have a real shot at SEC crown, playoff berth

Updated: July 1, 2014, 12:50 PM ET
By Travis Haney | ESPN Insider

Mike DavisRandy Sartin/USA TODAY SportsMike Davis could help the Gamecocks run away from the rest of the SEC East in 2014.

From May 27-July 3, Insider's college football experts will preview the season for the 25 teams with the best chance to make the inaugural College Football Playoff, based off of Brian Fremeau's post-spring projections. This is the entry for South Carolina Gamecocks.

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Fremeau's projection

Projected finish: 10-2 (6-2)
Chance to make playoff: 17 percent
Chance to win the SEC: 20 percent
Toughest games: Sept. 13 vs. Georgia (71 percent chance of winning), Oct. 25 at Auburn (48 percent), Nov. 29 at Clemson (63 percent)


Why they will make the playoff ...

1. The best running backs in the Spurrier era

Mike Davis has a chance to put himself in the school's pantheon of running backs, a group that includes Heisman winner George Rogers, Duce Staley, Marcus Lattimore and others.

Is he a Heisman guy? Maybe. Is he the key to the offense and, therefore, the team's success? Absolutely.

Davis, who checks in at 5-foot-9, 215 pounds, has to improve his durability. In 2013, he carried for 100 or more yards in six of the team's first seven games, but hit the century mark just once thereafter. And that was while averaging a reasonable 17 carries in 12 games played.

Solid complementary backs Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson could help keep Davis fresh and healthy.

• Joined ESPN as Insider's national college football writer in April 2012
• Previously wrote for The Oklahoman and The Post and Courier