NCAA Football Betting Favorite: South Carolina -16
Everyone expected South Carolina to be 3-0 at this point, but not many people could have seen Vanderbilt coming into this game with a 3-0 record. The Commodores are clearly playing better football than they have in the last few years, but now they take a big step up as they travel South Carolina to take on Steve Spurrier’s very talented team. Can Vanderbilt hang around in this one or will it be South Carolina rolling to a big victory?
Vanderbilt won just two games all of last season, so they have already surpassed last year’s win total. The defense has been the rock for this team this season. Vanderbilt has allowed only 250 yards per game, which is the tenth best mark in the nation. Opponents are scoring just 14 points per game against the Commodores. Chris Marve is the team’s leader at the linebacker spot. He currently ranks fourth among all active players with 325 tackles in his career. This is a defense that could make life difficult on South Carolina this weekend.
Offensively, the Commodores aren’t nearly as good. Larry Smith has done a decent job at quarterback, but he has just 368 yards passing through three games. Zac Stacy and Jerron Seymour share the carries in the backfield. Stacy is averaging a very impressive nine yards per carry so far this season. Chris Boyd is the Commodores top receiver, and he has three touchdown catches this season.
South Carolina comes into this game 3-0, but it certainly hasn’t been pretty in 2011. Spurrier’s team has been abysmal in the passing game. The Gamecocks are averaging just 159 yards per game through the air. Stephen Garcia has thrown two touchdowns and three interceptions this season. Alshon Jeffrey is one of the nation’s best receivers, but he only has 12 catches this year. The Gamecocks must find a way to get him the ball more often. Marcus Lattimore continues to be exceptional in the backfield for South Carolina. Lattimore burst onto the scene as a freshman last year, and he continues to improve. He has run for 534 yards and seven touchdowns already this year.
The Gamecocks defense has allowed a lot of yards this year, but they have also forced a lot of turnovers that led directly to points. South Carolina wouldn’t have won their game at Georgia if it weren’t for two defensive touchdowns. Spurrier and his staff can’t be happy that the defense is allowing 33.3 points per game. Surprisingly, South Carolina has been gashed on the ground this season, something that didn’t happen much at all last year. I expect this defense to improve as the year moves along.
Vanderbilt’s defense is better than people realize, but the Commodores offense is severely lacking in firepower. I think both defenses show up and play well in this one. Expect a low scoring game here.
Free College Football Pick: Vanderbilt/South Carolina under 52.5
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