YOU GOTTA BELIEVE … AGAIN …
So we rolled the dice last week and predicted that the University of South Carolina football team would emerge from its season-opening tilt against Vanderbilt with a win.
And they did … barely.
Last week also saw the Mississippi State Bulldogs – who finished the 2015 season with a 9-4 record – fall to South Alabama, an embarrassing upset that was part of the mighty Southeastern Conference (SEC)’s terrible opening week.
Mississippi State nearly came back and beat South Alabama – but junior placekicker Westin Graves dinged a potential game-winning field goal attempt off the left upright in the final seconds of the game.
Frankly, we wished Graves had connected on his attempt. But he didn’t, which means head coach Dan Mullen‘s Bulldogs (0-1, 0-0 SEC) will enter this weekend’s game against South Carolina furiously pissed off – as opposed to breathing a sigh of relief at having averted an upset.
It also means new head coach Will Muschamp‘s Gamecocks (1-0, 1-0 SEC) will get Mississippi State’s best shot.
As of this writing, Mississippi State enters Saturday evening’s contest in Starkville as a nine-point favorite – with ESPN giving the Bulldogs a 58.8 percent chance of victory.
Add the king-sized chip on #HailState’s shoulders and Mullen’s team looks like an even smarter pick …
Still, we’re going to roll the dice one more time on South Carolina in this conference clash – which will be televised nationally on ESPN 2 at 7:00 p.m. EDT.
The Gamecocks’ defense exceeded expectations against what has been billed as a much-improved Vanderbilt offense – and South Carolina’s offense got better as its season-opener progressed, highlighted by a nine-play, 84-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
As we noted in last week’s prediction, we don’t expect to call for many Gamecock victories in 2016 … but we’re going to go out on another limb and call this one:
SOUTH CAROLINA 26 – MISSISSIPPI STATE 20
Final Score: MISSISSIPPI STATE 27 – SOUTH CAROLINA 14
(Banner image via Travis Bell Photography)