South Carolina Gamecocks
(8-3, 6-5 ATS)
(6-5, 5-6 ATS)
South Carolina just has not let up one bit this year, save for a dud against the Arkansas Razorbacks. If you discount that game, since the middle of October, the Gamecocks are 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS and they are coming off of two of their most impressive showings of the year, a dominant win over the Florida Gators in the Swamp and a 69-24 triumph over the Troy Trojans last week in the home finale. We already know that the Auburn Tigers are up next week for SC in the SEC Championship Game, marking the first time that they will play in the game. We don’t really think that there is going to be a lot of complacency though, as the Gamecocks were able to get up for last week’s game and certainly won’t need any more motivation to get ready for this one either. The skills players for HC Steve Spurrier are simply amazing. RB Marcus Lattimore already has 1,066 rushing yards and 17 TDs scores on the campaign. He also has 287 yards on 18 receptions and two more TDs. However, when you’re talking about the favorites targets for QB Stephen Garcia, the discussion starts and stops with WR Alshon Jeffrey. Jeffrey has 70 receptions for 1,210 yards and seven tuddies.
Clemson has to be worried whether it really has a bowl game on lockdown or not, as not all of the ACC teams are guaranteed bowl bids this year. We tend to think that someone is going to accept the Tigers win or lose in this one, but a seventh win would certainly remove any doubt. Clemson has only won back to back games twice this year, and it has yet to string three straight ‘W’s together. The other problem that we have with the Tigers is that they really don’t have those fantastic wins to fall back on. Beating the Maryland Terrapins and NC State Wolfpack were impressive, but these other five losses were just iffy, and there were no other wins of note either. At times, this offense feels like it revolves exclusively on the back on RB Andre Ellington. He has 684 rushing yards, 110 receiving yards, and another 238 on returns this year, with a total of a dozen TDs. He missed last week’s game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons with a toe injury and is questionable for this one as well. In Ellington’s absence, RB Jamie Harper has run wild. He has 285 yards on the ground in his last two overall, and he has found pay dirt in three straight, totaling nine scores for the season.
The Tigers are good enough to win this game, but we tend to believe that the Gamecocks are just too hot to stop right now. Spurrier isn’t going to let South Carolina let up now, as a huge winning streak capped by a BCS bowl win and finishing the year in the Top 10 in the nation are both goals that can be reached, but not without a ‘W’ here in Death Valley.
NCAA Football Free Pick: South Carolina Gamecocks -2.5