The first spring football practice for the University of South Carolina football team scheduled for March 4, has been postponed due to inclement weather. No makeup date has been announced.

GAMECOCKS SET FOR SPRING DRILLS

Been there. Done that.

First in 2011. Then again in 2012. And for a third-straight time in 2013.

* 11-2 overall.

* 6-2 in the SEC.

* New Year's Day bowl win.

* Top-10 finish in the national polls.

For three straight seasons South Carolina has been hobknobing with the elite programs of the college football world. The Gamecocks are one of only three teams, along with Alabama and Oregon, to finish in the Top-10 in the country in each of the last three seasons. They are also one of only 12 teams with 40 or more wins over the past four campaigns and have been ranked for a school-record 64 consecutive polls, tying for the fifth-longest current streak in the nation.

But there's still more to be accomplished. The Gamecocks have fallen short in their quest for the "holy grail" - to capture an SEC Championship. Since reaching the title game in 2010, Carolina has defeated the Eastern Division champion in each of the past three seasons, only to come up a game short of a trip to Atlanta. Could 2014 be the year of the Gamecock?

Only time will tell, but the Gamecocks will try to capitalize on the momentum they've built and have that one goal of an SEC title in mind as they embark on their 15 spring practices in year 10 of the Steve Spurrier Era in what has become the "Golden Age" of South Carolina football history.

Buoyed by the return of 58 lettermen, including 16 starters from a squad that has to be regarded as the best team in school history following a No. 4 finish in both national polls, the Gamecocks have built their program to where they can withstand the loss of the winningest quarterback in school history and quite possibly the first player taken in the NFL Draft, and still be considered one of the favorites in the SEC East and a preseason top-10 candidate again in 2014.

Once again, the road to the Georgia Dome and the SEC Championship Game will be challenging. The Gamecocks will put their 18-game home winning streak, the nation's longest, on the line right away, as they open the season on Thursday, August 28, against Texas A&M. That contest will also be the first game on the new SEC Network. After a non-conference home game against East Carolina, the Gamecocks will face four SEC Eastern Division foes over a four-week stretch, with Georgia, Vanderbilt, Missouri and Kentucky on the docket. The Georgia game is always an early season litmus test, Vandy has been much-improved but will be breaking in a new head coach, Missouri is the defending East champions, and Kentucky has some positive momentum after back-to-back strong recruiting classes. After a much-needed off week and a date with FCS Furman, the Gamecocks will wrap up their SEC slate with contests against defending SEC champion Auburn, Tennessee, which handed Carolina one of its two losses a season ago, and a hungry Florida squad, with two of those tilts coming on the road. Non-conference games on the opposite ends of the familiarity spectrum wrap up the season, as the Gamecocks will face South Alabama for the first time ever, and Clemson for the 112th time. Carolina will be looking to make it six-straight wins over their instate rivals.

Several questions will need to be answered if the Gamecocks are to challenge for the SEC East crown again in 2014. While some of those questions may be answered in the spring, others may not be fully resolved until the fall. Some include:

* How will the Gamecocks' offense click under the leadership of Dylan Thompson instead of the steady hand of Connor Shaw, who graduated as the school's all-time winningest signal-caller?

* Which underclassman will take advantage of increased snaps in the spring and become the the heir apparent to Thompson at the quarterback position?

* Can the offensive line, which returns four starters and has the most experience and depth since Coach Spurrier's arrival, becoming a dominating group, one that is considered among the best in the SEC?

* How will the carries be distributed in the stable of standout running backs, led by a pair of juniors in Mike Davis, whose named has been floated as a Heisman contender, and Brandon Wilds?

* Which wide receiver(s) will step up to replace two-sport standout Bruce Ellington, who always seemed to come up big in the biggest games?

* How will the defensive line gel after the loss of All-Americans Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles along with fifth-year senior Chaz Sutton?

* How much improved will the young linebackers be with a year of experience under their collective belts after being thrown into the fire last year?

* How quickly can the young cornerbacks adapt to the challenges of being "on an island" at the major college level?

* With the return of two Freshman All-SEC honorees in placekicker Elliott Fry and return specialist Pharoh Cooper, can the Gamecocks put the "special" back in special teams?

Those and other questions will begin to be answered when the Gamecocks open their spring practice schedule on Tuesday, March 4. The allotted 15 practices will wrap up with the annual Garnet & Black Spring Game on Saturday, April 12.