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South Carolina

vs.

Vanderbilt

College Football Pick

Current Odds

Week 1

9/1/16

It was a rough season for both South Carolina and Vanderbilt last year and only one of these teams will get to start 2016 on a good note. The Gamecocks finished 3-9 overall, brought in Will Muschamp as new head coach and have a question at quarterback. The Commodores return their coach Derek Mason for his third year, and had some progress last year, but still finished 5-7 outside of a bowl game. As the home team, Vanderbilt is a small -3.5 point favorite as seen at betonline sportsbook.

While the 'Dores would like to show some consistency from a year ago, the Gamecocks are the bigger question entering this game with a new coach. Muschamp actually went out and said his team has the talent to win the SEC East, which is nothing but a bold statement coming from a team that had one conference win a year ago.

The lack of experience will be the main problem for South Carolina with a limited amount of starters on both sides of the field. Even two weeks before the game, the starting quarterback wasn't set. It will be either freshman Brandon McIlwain, senior Perry Orth or another newer freshman Jake Bentley. McIlwain looks like the favorite, but he's complemented by inexperience almost everywhere on the offense. This comes from a group that scored just 21.9 points per game a year ago.

The tough part for South Carolina in this game is that Vandy's defense was actually a strong suit last year. The Commodores finished with five wins and that was mostly led by a defense that allowed 21 points per game and they can be just as good this year. Most of the back end returns with studs at linebacker and in the secondary. That should automatically lead to problems for whoever the Gamecocks quarterback is.

But on the other side of that, Vandy needs to make a vast improvement on the offensive side after scoring just 15.2 points per game. Kyle Shurmur looks like the starter under center in his second year after tossing 5 TDs and 3 INTs in five games last season. Either way, the Commodores will again try and run their offense through running back Ralph Webb. However, a weaker offensive line may be an issue in that regard.

All that said, and while Vanderbilt is favored, South Carolina leads the series 21-4 and has won seven straight meetings. That includes last year's 19-10 win for the Gamecocks at home.

Expect this one to be just as defensive with turnovers and early-season rust being a high possibility. That only means the 3.5 points that Vandy is giving doesn't seem right. For a team that could barely move the ball a season ago, should they be giving more than three points in a conference game (even at home) before proving they can win by a decent margin?

There's a reason South Carolina dominates this series 21-4. They simply are able to recruit the better talent, year after year. That will never change. So even in a year where the Gamecocks are bringing in a new coach and essentially rebuilding, they should be able to compete and have a very good chance to win outright. South Carolina +3.5

You can read our 2016 Full Season Preview for Both of these teams. Read the Vandy Preview Here and South Carolina Here

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