Alabama Crimson Tide
(5-0, 4-1 ATS)
South Carolina Gamecocks
(3-1, 2-2 ATS)
This is the third straight horrifying NCAA football betting battle for the Alabama Crimson Tide, as they have already contended with the Florida Gators and Arkansas Razorbacks in back to back weeks. Now, they’ll have to go to Columbia, where the South Carolina Gamecocks await off of their bye week, meaning they have had two weeks to prepare for this duel.
The Crimson Tide have simply been the best in the country this year, and there’s absolutely no one out there that can deny that. Last week, even when the rushing game was stalled, it was a very young defense that came up big and kept the Gators out of the end zone for the entire game. The Crimson Tide rank in the Top 20 in the nation in total offense (464.0 yards per game), rushing offense (229.8 yards per game), and scoring (37.8 points per game), and they have the top scoring defense in the land (9.0 points per game). Needless to say, there are just no weaknesses in this team. The Heisman Trophy winner from a year ago, RB Mark Ingram, was held under 150 yards on the ground for the first time this season last week against the blue and orange, and he might find tough sledding once again against a stout Gamecocks front line. Still, Ingram found his way to pay dirt twice on the day, and if he does that again on Saturday afternoon, South Carolina is in a boatload of trouble.
Even though the Cocks lost their last college football betting battle with the Auburn Tigers two weeks ago, HC Steve Spurrier knows that this is the game that can make or break his team’s season. A win over the Crimson Tide would set them up to go to 7-1 on the season, as the next three games should provide no problems. At that point, even with the one loss, his crew will finally be in a position to challenge for a BCS bowl game and for the SEC Championship. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves, though. QB Stephen Garcia has a history of folding up shop in big games in his career, and he doesn’t have the tools around him to win if he doesn’t play well. Garcia has had a good senior season, completing 69.1 percent of his passes with a 5/2 TD/INT ratio, but his numbers will have to improve even more, especially if RB Marcus Lattimore can’t get anything going on the ground. South Carolina also hasn’t been that great defensively this year at 368.5 yards per game allowed, but if the ‘D’ can hold the Tide anywhere near its 18.2 points per game scoring average against, SC might have a chance.
This is a totally different situation for the Crimson Tide to be in this week, as this is the first time that an opponent has had two weeks to prepare for them. They had better get used to it, as this won’t be the last time that it happens this year either. The tests won’t ever get harder than this, though. Don’t be surprised if this week proves to be a bit much. We’ll take the points for our NCAA football free picks and won’t be overly shocked if Cocky pulls off the upset.
NCAA Football Free Pick: South Carolina Gamecocks +7.5