The University of South Carolina football team has a big, bruising offensive line and a pair of tough, talented tailbacks running behind it. Head coach Steve Spurrier’s squad also has a solid wide receiver corps, three of the best tight ends in America and two game-tested starting quarterbacks in Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson.
So offense is not a problem for the No. 13/14 Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1 SEC) … assuming the right plays are called (you know … like if you’ve got the ball fourth-and-one on the Georgia goal line).
A big problem? Defense. South Carolina was shredded between the hedges in Athens, Georgia last week by SEC East rival Georgia – which put up 41 points and 538 yards against coordinator Lorenzo Ward’s crew. Preseason Heisman Trophy frontrunner Jadeveon Clowney? With the exception of one big sack he simply wasn’t a factor – as Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo ran his stud running back Todd Gurley away from the All-American all afternoon.
The result? Some frustrated coaches …
Vanderbilt (1-1, 0-1 SEC) heads into Williams-Brice Stadium this weekend coming off of its best season in 98 years – looking to upset a Gamecock squad it hasn’t beaten since winning back-to-back games in 2007-08.
Second-year head coach James Franklin‘s team put up 35 points and 426 yards against No. 25 Ole Miss two weeks ago – with first year starter Austyn Carta-Samuels (a transfer from Wyoming) throwing for 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns. A trio of Vandy running backs also gobbled up 119 yards on the ground.
The bad news? Carta-Samuels threw a pair of picks and Vandy’s defense coughed up 489 yards and 39 points to the Rebels – who escaped with a narrow win on the road in Nashville.
South Carolina has been installed as 13.5 point favorites in this game – and we’re projecting they clear that threshold with a few points to spare. In fact assuming the Gamecock defense wakes up, this game could be a rout. But as we noted earlier this week, South Carolina struggled on the road last year against the Commodores – eking out a 17-13 victory in Nashville on a fourth quarter touchdown run from former running back Marcus Lattimore.
So anything can happen.
After a remarkably successful 2012 season (and a decent start to 2013), FITS has missed its last two picks badly (here and here).
Hopefully this is the week we get back on track …
No. 6 TEXAS A&M 33 No. 1 Alabama 27
No. 2 OREGON 49 Tennessee 21
No. 7 Louisville 45 KENTUCKY 20
TEXAS 31 No. 25 Ole Miss 30
The Magik Round Dice whispered —–
South Carolina ——— 45
Vanderbilt ————— 26
TBG can see this game going either way… but will pick Sakerlina in a blowout. 47 – 17.
TBG is already scarfing down tums and hoarding Valium in anticipation of Thursday night’s game…
TBG – while hoping to be wrong– sees the Tide rolling over the Aggies by at least 2 TDs!
‘shredded between the hedges’
USC 34, Vandy 24
Aww yis! T’was 35-25!
35-25. Easy to pick this one