Hurricane Florence is gone and football is back, as the Gamecocks head up to Nashville to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores in their first road game of the season. Here’s how the GABA gang is feeling about things as we get back into grind mode.
Katie: As with every game, I think the Gamecocks can win this one, because I am forever destined to be GABA’s resident Eternal Sports Optimist. That being said, I feel like this take is more justified in a game against Vandy than against some other teams (remember that time way back when, when I predicted an upset over Georgia…), because unfortch for the Dores, their record against South Carolina in the last decade is, uh, not good. On the other hand, they almost upset Notre Dame last weekend (which would have been DELIGHTFUL), so maybe they’re better this year. USC should be coming into this game well-rested and ready to get back to SEC action, and even if Vandy is better than usual this season, I think USC should still be able to come away with their first conference victory of the season. I’m bad at score predictions so I won’t make one, but I’m not anticipating a particularly high-scoring affair.
Sydney: It seems like Vandy always plays the Gamecocks tough: from that slog in 2016 to kick off Will Muschamp’s tenure, to last year’s “shootout” at WBS. Let’s not forget that Shawn Elliott’s first win as a head coach came in 2015 against the Commodores as we were all kind of reeling from Steve Spurrier’s sudden resignation. All that to say that I expect the same this time around. Vandy played a top 10 Notre Dame team quite tough in South Bend last week, but I think that’s more due to the fact that the Irish are probably one of the more overrated teams in the country. Still, give me the Gamecocks 20-17 on a last-second field goal.
Kody: I have to be honest: I’m dreading this game. Not necessarily because I think USC will lose, but because if recent history is anything to go by, it’s going to be the football equivalent of a root canal for three hours. As Sydney said, Vandy is always a thorn in the Gamecocks’ side, and after they hung tough against Notre Dame last week, I don’t expect anything less than another difficult date with them. I’d love to see South Carolina’s offense get back on track, but with Florence throwing a wrench into things last week, there may be some rust to shake off. I’ll go with 28-24 Cocks in a game that Vanderbilt doesn’t seriously threaten to win, but also never quite goes away.