The high this team has been riding following the victory against Kentucky is now over. They need to prepare physically and mentally for a much more challenging test as the Gamecocks go on the road to play the third best team in the country: Georgia.
That win feels like ages ago, but it apparently was fresh in the minds of the oddsmakers in Vegas.
USC opened as 24-point dogs for this one and the line has since shifted a point in Georgia’s favor to where the line is currently sitting at 25 points.
The over/under is a hefty 54 points.
Why was the line set at this number?
To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised.
I think back to the line that was set for the Bama game, which was 25.5 points in favor of the Crimson Tide.
Yes, it’s only a half-point difference in points, but the Cocks were home against Alabama and they are now on the road versus Georgia.
With around three points usually being added to the home team just for being home, that makes the true line for Georgia closer to 20 and the line for Alabama closer to 30.
That is almost a 10-point difference for two teams very close in skill.
Vegas must have liked what they saw in the Gamecocks’ most recent dub (because obviously there wasn’t much good to see in the game versus Missouri).
Either that or they looked at recent history.
In four out of the last five years, USC hasn’t gotten absolutely embarrassed by the Bulldogs (I consider embarrassing losses to be at least a 27-point swing so last year wasn’t that bad).
So, Vegas possibly went with the trend of their games usually not surpassing that 24-point threshold.
What will have to happen for the Gamecocks to cover?
I don’t want to make it sound this easy but it really might be: force Jake Fromm to throw the ball.
It’s no secret that in the Fromm era, Georgia has been primarily a run-first team producing, what seems to be, first or second round running backs almost yearly (Gurley, Michel, Chubb!!).
Fromm has been good enough, but I would feel much better with the ball in his hands than in the hands of their ball carriers.
South Carolina has also been very capable of stopping the run this season as they have only allowed one 100-yard rusher all year.
This is a team that plays to the strengths of Georgia and that is a very good sign for the Cocks.
This gets me to my next point, which is if they want a chance to keep the game close, they need to hold onto the football in addition to Hilinski not throwing any bad picks.
Thinking back to last year’s game in which Jake Bentley gave the ball away twice, lowering that number to zero would be a great way to not let the game get away from them.
What’s the better bet?
A 25-point spread is a lot of points for me to swallow (and they beat Tennessee by 29 so losing by anything more than 25 would be a tragedy).
I have also been given no indication that Georgia can hand the Gamecocks this type of beating, home or away.
This is an easy one for me in that I believe the Cocks will win against the spread with ease.
They have spent two weeks preparing for this game and I will be shocked, although I have definitely been shocked by this team before, if they don’t come out ready to play.
I am not calling for a win straight up by any means, but I think a loss in the 14 to 24 point range would make the most sense.