South Carolina Gamecocks
(4-1, 3-2 ATS)
(3-3, 4-2 ATS)
Never before had the South Carolina Gamecocks knocked off a team ranked No. 1 in the country in college football betting action before last week. Now, with the monkey off of their backs, they have to come right back down to earth and face off with the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington.
The worst thing that South Carolina has going for it on Saturday is the fact that it has yet to figure out how to win a road game. Public opinion on the Gamecocks is as high as it could possibly get, and that’s saying something for a team ranked No. 12 in the nation. Head Coach Steve Spurrier knows that both his offense and defense really need to step it up even more to be able to stick around in the suddenly wide open SEC race. The offense has been good, but not great at 374.4 yards and 31.6 points per game, while the defense has been much of the same at 365.0 yards and 18.8 points allowed per game. WR Alshon Jeffrey had a bust out game last week when he caught seven balls for 127 yards and two TDs against one of the better defenses in America, but he has been doing this all year. In five games this year, Jeffrey has had at least 97 yards and at least five catches. All four of his TDs have come in the L/2 weeks. RB Marcus Lattimore also found pay dirt twice last week in the ‘W’ over the Alabama Crimson Tide. For the season, the freshman running back has 459 rushing yards and nine total touchdowns.
The soft schedule at the outset of the season probably falsely put some hopes in the backs of the minds of Kentucky’s NCAA football betting gurus, but if you think that this team is just a pushover, just ask the Auburn Tigers how they liked running into the Cats last week. It took a last second field goal for Auburn to survive its trip to Lexington. This marked the seconds straight game lost by a TD or less for the Wildcats, as the week before, they were dropped in Oxford against the Mississippi Rebels 42-35. For what it’s worth, Kentucky has played in five straight ‘over’ contests. The potential loss of RB Derrick Locke would be huge for the Cats, though. If he can’t suit up, UK would be missing 574 rushing yards, 225 receiving yards, and seven TDs. RB Donald Russell would have to take over. WR Randall Cobb has thrown for three TDs on 4-of-6 passing and is second on the team in rushing with 168 yards, but it’s not like you can line him up in the backfield and hand him the pill. Besides, HC Joker Phillips clearly wants to use him on the outside, as he is the team’s leading receiver as well with 32 catches and 403 yards. QB Mike Hartline might be in for a make or break week in his collegiate career. The senior has thrown for 1,442 yards and nine scores this year, and he is going to have a ton of pressure on his shoulders if Locke can’t go.
This game just reeks of an upset. Locke’s injury only surfaced a couple days ago, but the NCAA football lines just continue to plummet. The Cats are a feisty bunch, that’s for sure, and in the end, they’ll probably end up ruling the day with an outright victory, which would clearly be the biggest in the young coaching career of Phillips.
College Football Free Pick: Kentucky Wildcats +5