The South Carolina Gamecocks head back to familiar territory in Charlotte, North Carolina, as they take on the Virginia Cavaliers in the Belk Bowl’s ACC vs. SEC braggin’ rights matchup. Both teams are 7-5, and if not for some late breaks in a couple games, could have had much more successful seasons. Nonetheless, the Cocks and the Hoos will try to cap things off with an eighth victory to end 2018 on a high note. Here’s how the GABA crew is feeling about the last time we’ll see the Garnet and Black take the field.
Demetri: This could be one ugly ass game. In the end though, I trust that the strides made by every receiver not named Deebo are real and the running game’s gains are enough to separate the Cocks from a schizophrenic UVA team that has gone to legitimately threatening to win their division to looking like it is barely aware of the rules of the sport. I’ll go Carolina 28-20.
Katie: My eternal sports optimism carries over to bowl games too, so I’m expecting a win for the Gamecocks on Saturday. I admittedly don’t really know much about this Virginia team, but considering how USC mostly had things rolling by the end of the season, I feel confident that this will at least be a decent game. I hope. The Cocks started off the season well with a win in Charlotte, let’s finish it that way too.
Kody: I agree with UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall: This is an underrated matchup that could be really entertaining to watch. The teams seem pretty evenly matched, and shared similar season trajectories — both looked like they could possibly challenge for their division, then kinda fell off a cliff. Regardless, there’s exciting talent on each squad, and while I’m worried about the Gamecocks containing the likes of Bryce Perkins and Jordan Ellis, I’m with Katie: I think USC has hit its stride, especially on offense. I don’t think this will be a runaway victory, and like Demetri said, it could turn into an ugly game with both teams’ propensity to play in nailbiters. Regardless, I think South Carolina has just enough firepower to outlast the Hoos in this one, 31-27.