South Carolina Gamecocks
(6-3, 4-5 ATS)
(6-3, 5-4 ATS)
The de facto SEC East Championship Game takes place on Saturday night in the Swamp in Gainesville, as the Florida Gators will play host to the South Carolina Gamecocks. The winner of this one will be going to Atlanta to play in the SEC Championship Game, where it will most likely take on the Auburn Tigers.
It seemed awfully predictable that the Gamecocks were going to get beaten by the Arkansas Razorbacks last week, especially knowing what the magnitude of this game is going to be. This is still an offense that has a ton of skill. The three players to look for are QB Stephen Garcia, RB Marcus Lattimore, and WR Alshon Jeffrey. Garcia, probably the best quarterback that the SEC East has to offer, has had a great season, completing 67.7 percent of his passes for 2,065 yards with 14 TDs and nine INTs. He loves throwing the ball up to Jeffrey, his biggest target and most productive receiver. Jeffrey has caught 59 passes for 1,034 yards and seven TDs, giving him some of the best numbers in the land for wide outs. Lattimore does a little bit of everything. The frosh has rushed for 752 yards and caught 250 yards out of the backfield, totaling 13 TDs. The Gamecocks rank No. 10 in the land in rushing defense at just 104.6 yards per game. This is going to be key to stop Florida, a team that is focused in on its ground game significantly more often than its passing attack.
This has been an incredibly disappointing year for the Gators, but it can still end with a trip to the SEC Championship Game and perhaps even a BCS bowl game if it can win this one. Florida spent a few weeks out of the Top 25 after losing to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, but having three losses against teams ranked in the Top 20 at this point in the season is nothing to be ashamed of. Florida has now employed three different men to take snaps, and we are seeing a lot more from QB/TE/FB Trey Burton of late. Burton has rushed for 278 yards and caught 150 yards of passes, and we know that he can throw the ball a bit as well. QB John Brantley is a great thrower, but OC Steve Adazio really hasn’t used him to the best of his abilities. The heir to the throne of QB Tim Tebow only has eight TD passes and has 1,616 passing yards and nine outings. RB Jeff Demps could bust a big one at any time, but though he is averaging 6.3 yards per carry this year, he has a ton of runs that don’t end up going anywhere. WR Chris Rainey is back in the fold, but he really hasn’t had a huge part of the offense quite yet.
The Gamecocks are just overmatched in this game. HC Steve Spurrier has never beaten his old team, and he really doesn’t stand a chance at taking out the Gators back in his old stomping grounds in this one. HC Urban Meyer can’t afford to lose this one, and we don’t think that he will.
College Football Free Pick: Florida Gators -6.5