By Josh Hyber
ATLANTA — When it comes to SEC football, there’s no analyst who drives the needle more than ESPN and SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum. The long-time radio and television host has been a driving factor behind the conference’s rise to national prominence.
On Wednesday at SEC Media Days, Finebaum spoke exclusively with Spurs & Feathers about the state of South Carolina football, specifically what he thinks about Will Muschamp, Deebo Samuel and Jake Bentley.
He also offered his take on the Gamecocks’ Week 2 matchup against Georgia.
Spurs & Feathers: What do you think of South Carolina and the Gamecocks’ prospects for this season?
Finebaum: I think they’re great. I think Will Muschamp has done a phenomenal job. I know what Vegas says and what the schedule says, but I feel like they can maybe get to nine wins, or maybe more.
S&F: What’s your take on the Gamecocks’ Week 2 matchup against Georgia? How pivotal is it?
Finebaum: I think it’s pivotal just in kind of establishing themselves. Right now, I don’t expect them to win. I do expect them to play hard and for that game to go late. If [South Carolina] can keep the game [close] in the fourth quarter, the Gamecocks will have a chance.
S&F: Where do you think Deebo Samuel ranks among the nation’s best playmakers?
Finebaum: He could be one of the best, I mean, there’s no doubt. I think people kind of forget about him. If he ended up as one of the two, three, four best players in the country this year, why would anybody be surprised?
S&F: What’s your take on Jake Bentley?
Finebaum: I think Jake is catching a lot of heat for the way last year finished, [but] I think he could be one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, easily.