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South Carolina at North Carolina State

Betting Line has O'brien Favored over Spurrier

9/3/09

On Thursday Night September 3rd, North Carolina State and South Carolina tee it up to begin the 2009 College Football season in a game that will be seen on ESPN as the first game of an opening night double header. Kick off is at 7 pm est. All we can say is, welcome back football!! North Carolina State is a -4.5 favorite at sportsbook.com while other top sportsbooks have the game at -4.5. The total on the game is 46.

This game matches two teams which are in similar places as far as where they stand talent-wise and within their conference although there's no question that South Carolina has a tougher road to hoe in the SEC. Both teams have fantastic coaches, the Gamecocks with Spurrier in his 5th season and the Wolfpack with Tom O'brien entering his 3rd season.

Both squads lost some starters from a year ago, with SC losing a few more than NC State and the Wolfpack returning QB Russell while the Quarterback merry go round figured to continue for the Gamecocks.

A year ago these two opened their seasons against each other as well, with South Carolina blanking the Wolfpack 34-0, although we don't feel that result accurately indicates the difference between these two teams last season. The score at the end of the first half was just 3-0. The game got out of hand in the 2nd half with some key Wolfpack mistakes and SC did dominate the game statistically. But to accurately determine the talent gap if any between these two, you have to look at each teams entire season a year ago, not just the opener, against each other.

It's safe to say if these two met in the last game of the year instead of the first a year ago, there would have been a very different result. The Wolfpack won 4 straight to end the year while Spurrier and company stumbled down the stretch once again, dropping 3 of their last 5 games. The only common opponent these teams had a year ago was Clemson, which saw both of these teams losing by almost identical margins.

Both teams faired well against average opposition while both teams were outclassed a couple of times against superior opponents. We feel the talent level is fairly even between these two teams. Perhaps what stands out more than the players on the field in this one, is the coaching matchup as we have two fantastic college football coaches going head to head.

With the coaching matchup in mind, you can be sure we will not see a repeat from a year ago. Tom O'brien won't let that happen. You can be sure Wolfpack players have been hearing about their worst loss a year ago since spring. Revenge is perhaps the most powerful motivator in college football. The revenge angle is even more powerful when the game in question is the very first game of the year. In this scenario, a team has several weeks to prepare and look ahead to just one team, as opposed to having only a week during the season between games.

All the ingredients for an NC ST win are in place. The revenge. The first game of the year, at home, under the lights before a National ESPN TV audience, and so on. However, we simply feel these two teams are very evenly matched and very well coached. If they played last year at any other time, we would have seen a game decided by a field goal or less in the final minutes, which is what we think we'll see here. The Wolfpack may get their revenge, but if they do, it will be by a nose.

We'll take South Carolina +4.5 or better. We have no opinion on the total. Good Luck if you play, and welcome back College Football!!!

 

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