Alabama vs. South Carolina
Betting Line: Alabama -6.5 o/u 48
Who would’ve thought it possible? The Alabama Crimson Tide looks even better in 2010 than they did in 2009 when they were BCS Champs. Ok, ok, we are only 5 Games deep, but still. They look REALLY good. HC Nick Saban’s team has met every challenge and passed with flying colors. Their newest challenge will come in the form of the upstart South Carolina Gamecocks. They are rejuvenated under HC Spurrier and playing the best football that they have played in many years. South Carolina enters this week after having a bye the previous week. The Gamecocks will host this matchup and seek revenge after they lost 20-6 last year in TUSCaloosca.
The Crimson Tide were 3-1 ATS as a road favorite in 2009. So far in 2010 they are 4-1 overall ATS and 0-1 ATS on the road. That road loss ATS came against Arkansas where they won 24-20 as 7 point favorites. The Gamecocks are 2-2 ATS in 2010 and 2-0 in their last two home Games. Spurrier’s crew was a very solid 3-0 ATS as a home underdog at home last year.
The Alabama offense can get points in many different ways. The easiest way is with Heisman Trophy winning RB Mark Ingram. He’s a bruising, powerful, and compact runner. He missed the first two Games of the year, but he returned with a bang against Duke with 151 yards and 2 TDs. The following week against Arkansas he rushed for 157 yards and 2 TDs.
If Ingram is having a bad day, Trent Richardson is just as good. He ripped up Penn State for 144 yards and a TD. QB Greg McElroy has been fair this year, but on the road he has had trouble. When the Tide beat Arkansas he had 1 TD and 2 INTs. The South Carolina defense is strong, so McElroy will have to be on his toes.
In the past two weeks the Alabama defense has made QBs Ryan Mallet and John Brantley look foolish. Both looked like interception MAChines against the impeccable secondary of Alabama. Turnovers will be a big factor in this Game. If they can get to GArcia like they did Mallet and Brantley the Tide will roll. If not, they could allow a lesser opponent to hang around and cover, or perhaps even pull a shocking upset.
The Gamecocks will do their damage on the ground. So far in 2010 the Tide hasn’t allowed an opponent to have a big rushing day, but the Gamecocks are the first real threat they will face in that department.
South Carolina was missing one cog in their offense, and HC Spurrier filled that missing hole by signing RB Marcus LAttimore. The freshman phenom was one of the most highly sought after recruits last year, and he is showing why in a big way. He has 366 yards on 84 carries and 6 TDs so far in 2010. His biggest Game came in the second week of play when he carved up the Georgia Bulldogs for 182 yards and 2 TDs.
Junior QB Stephen GArcia looked great in the Gamecocks 35-27 loss to Auburn two weeks ago. He had 235 yards on 15 of 21 passing for 3 TDs. Most importantly, he didn’t have any INTs. SCoring points on the impressive Alabama defense will be the hardest thing this offense does all year.
The Gamecocks defense has 10 sacks after Four weeks of play. They got to the Georgia QB 3 times. They had stifled the run in every Game until they met up with Auburn who rushed for a massive 337 yards. If they don’t stop the run they’ve got no chance in this Game. The two headed monster of Richardson and Ingram is very explosive. Look for South Carolina to commit to stopping the run early on. We will know very early if they are capable of doing so.
Just in watching both teams this year, it’s hard to imagine an outcome that would have South Carolina on top. We had thought that perhaps the Gamecocks were going to have a big time defense this year, but after watching them against Auburn, it looks like the same old Gamecocks.
We’re going to stay away from the side for now, and instead give out a totals play here. The total on this Game is 48 and we expected it to come out a little lower than that. We’ve got the best defense in the country with Alabama with a whopping yards per point number of 32 and we have a South Carolina defense that has at least shown a glimmer of hope here and there, especially the week they shut down Georgia. SC also has a respectable yards per point number of 20. We’re going to go under the total here. Alabama/South Carolina Under 48