Pick with Analysis
SEC play kicks off in the second week of College Football and neither one of these teams is too happy about how the first week went. Both managed wins, but neither were all that impressive. South Carolina, at home for this Game, is a -7.5 point favorite (at 5 Dimes) against Kentucky. k
The Gamecocks beat UNC 17-13 in the CFB opener, but it wasn’t because of a well-played Game. It was evident that they’ll have a quarterback issue for most of the season with Connor Mitch under center. The sophomore went just 9-of-22 for 122 yards and a touchdown against a mediocre defense. Their running Game was at least successful, and a reason they won, led by Shon Carson and Brandon Wilds. The difference in the end was the three INTs that the Tar Heels threw. Otherwise, UNC’s offense was probably the better group in that Game.
Kentucky’s win was similar, maybe a little more unpleasant, going up on Louisiana LAfayette 27-7 to only relinquish that lead until the end of the Fourth quarter when they needed a final touchdown to win 40-33 . The Wildcats had an acceptable Game offensively, but allowing 247 yards and Four touchdowns on the ground to LAfayette wasn’t a good sign, especially allowing them to come back.
When these teams met last year, Kentucky got an upset win midway through the season in a high-scoring 45-38 win. South Carolina’s defense could do absolutely nothing and Dylan Thompson tossed three interceptions to help the Wildcats to victory.
The Gamecocks looked a bit different in this year’s opener, playing a more defensive Game, which never really happened last year. The total of 30 points in the Game against UNC was lower than any total the team had last year, with 41 being the least amount of points scored in a South Carolina Game in 2014. As for Kentucky, their strategy is to just keep playing in high-scoring Games, trying to outScorethe opponent
After that first Game, Steve Spurrier will likely limit Connor Mitch’s passing throughout the year if he can help it. Expect Mitch, along with Brandon Wilds, David Williams, Shon Carson and even receiver Pharoh Cooper to get the ball plenty in the backfield. If the Rajin’ Cajuns can run for 247 yards on Kentucky, there’s no reason the Gamecocks can’t do more damage.
But on the other end, as long as Kentucky keeps the turnovers in check, this Game should be close throughout. This isn’t a dominant South Carolina team by any means and it seems as if the line is iNFLated because of name only.
The Wildcats won this Game last year and have a lot of the same pieces, especially with quarterback Patrick Towles leading the way. Expect plenty of rushing with Stanley Williams and the rest, but Towles will sling the ball plenty.
At this point, it’s still a question of how good this Gamecocks defense can be. They allowed more than 30 points per Game last year, but the over/under in this Game is at 58.5 and it wouldn’t be surprising for it to be similar to last year’s result. The Wildcats should be able to Scoreon the Gamecocks, and that may be enough to keep this Game within a touchdown for them.
Our Pick – Kentucky started off last year 5-1 before dropping their final 6. As a result of that stretch run, we have to take a step back here and shy away from the Wildcats until we see them headed in the right direction. The Gamecocks get their revenge South Carolina -8.5