eric berry

“Whiney McWhinerson” Lane Kiffin and his University of Tennessee “Wild Boys” have a losing record and have managed just one SEC win in four tries – yet they are favored by five-and-half points over Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks, who come into Saturday night’s game with a 6-2 record and No. 21 national ranking.

Talk about a “Rodney Dangerfield moment” for USC, which to be fair has struggled mightily against the Volunteers – as well as in games played after the mid-point of the season – since coming into the Southeastern Conference in 1992.

Guess the odds makers take things like that into account, huh?

South Carolina has managed just three wins over the Vols since joining the toughest football conference in America, although they’ve split the last four games – including a 2005 win in Knoxville, the school’s first-ever road win over Tennessee.

It’s been a hard-fought series of late.  In fact, with the exception of last year’s 27-6 Gamecock victory, all of the previous four contests have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Tennessee is led by its All-American strong safety Eric Berry, who has started thirty-three consecutive games for the Volunteers.  Widely-pegged as a top five NFL draft pick, Berry has thirteen interceptions over the course of his career – including a pair against the Gamecocks.

He is also second only to Florida State’s Terrell Buckley in career interception return yardage.

Of course South Carolina has a defensive star of its own, “hybrid” lineman/linebacker Eric Norwood – the school’s career sack leader and another sure-fire NFL first-rounder.

Both players should give fits to their opposing head coaches (who also call the plays) …