Date/Time: October 19, 2013 12:00 pm EST
College Football Betting Favorite: S. Carolina -7.5
The South Carolina Gamecocks have been a bit up and down so far this year, but they enter this contest at 5-1 and with plenty left to play for. Tennessee has a new coach this year, but the Volunteers don’t quite have the firepower that most SEC teams have right now. Knoxville is still a very tough place to play. Can the Volunteers rise up at home against South Carolina?
Before the season many expected the South Carolina offense to be the weakness of the team, while the defense would lead them to special things. The defense hasn’t been quite as good as advertised thus far, but the offense has been very good. The running game has exceeded all expectations. The Gamecocks are averaging 226 yards per game on the ground. Mike Davis is running for 6.7 yards per carry so far this year. Connor Shaw has 10 touchdowns and 0 interceptions this year. He is completing 68.5% of his passes on the season. As a whole, the Gamecocks offense is putting up 34.5 points per game.
The Gamecocks defense has been solid, but not quite as spectacular as many expected them to be. The defensive line is as talented as any, but they haven’t been consistently excellent. It starts with Jadeveon Clowney, who was billed as the top defensive player in the country coming into the season. Clowney hasn’t lived up to those expectations yet. The secondary has struggled against top passing attacks. Opponents are scoring 22.7 points per game against this unit.
Tennessee has had no passing attack all year long. The Volunteers rank 113th in the nation in passing yards per game with only 164 yards per contest. Justin Worley is completing only 55.8% of his passes, and he has already thrown six interceptions this season. It’s hard to win in the SEC without having a passing attack. Raijon Neal and Marlin Lane Jr. give the Volunteers two solid running backs. The Volunteers are going to need a great effort out of their rushing attack in this one to have a chance against South Carolina. Neal is averaging 5.7 yards per carry, while Lane Jr. is averaging 6.2 yards per pop. Look for Tennessee to try to run it early and often and control the clock here.
The Volunteers defense is one of the worst in the SEC. They are 81st in the nation in total defense. They are essentially equally bad against the run and the pass. They have played slightly better on their home field. Tennessee is lacking star power on the defensive side. This Volunteers unit just doesn’t have a leader to step up and lead by example.
Free Pick: South Caroliina -7.5
This is a tough call in a difficult environment, but the Gamecocks are the much better team. In the end, I expect their superior talent to help push them to a comfortable victory.
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