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South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt: Roundtable Predictions

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The return of cautious optimism.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a nightmarish game we don’t really care to relive, the South Carolina Gamecocks return to Columbia to take on what will hopefully be a more hospitable opponent hailing from Tennessee in the form of the Vanderbilt Commodores, setting up an epic clash of 3-5 and 2-5 teams. Here’s how the GABA gang sees it going down.

Kody: Welp. I suppose USC’s recent success against Tennessee couldn’t last forever, especially not in that cursed concrete stadium, but here’s something comforting: The Gamecocks have won 10 in a row against the Commodores, and that includes some really ugly and nail-biting games. Vandy pulled a shocker last weekend when it knocked off Missouri, so the ‘Dores once again have the potential to make things uncomfortable, but they’ve otherwise had a pretty rough year even by their standards due to replacing talent like former quarterback Kyle Shurmur. South Carolina’s slightly more than a two-touchdown favorite, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Gamecocks respond after that appalling result in Knoxville. A blowout of Vandy would be chicken soup for the soul (on second thought, I probably shouldn’t use that metaphor with us), but given the generally gross history of this series, I’ll go with 28-14 USC. I need to see this offense consistently put up more points, especially in the second half, before I make any more predictions that USC scores 30+.

Adam: Following last week, I am convinced that this may be the most “Gamecock Football” team to ever be assembled. Muschamp’s 4th year squad is a microcosm of the history of South Carolina football up to the point of Spurrier’s dominant run between 2010 and 2013. They’re completely unpredictable: they play inspired and then flat; they’re explosive on offense and then suffocating on defense (but never in the same game); they’re the type of team to play hard against Bama, UGA and UF, while also being a team that withers against the likes of UNC and gets crushed by a horrid Tennessee program. But that is why we masochistic Gamecock fans love our school: the highs and lows make for a darkly fun ride. With that being said, I believe we are due for another high this week as South Carolina cruises to a solid victory against a Vandy group that has already played their “big win” card for this season. South Carolina takes this one 30-13...and if I am right about this Gamecock team being a microcosm of pre-2010 USC Football so far, maybe their next four games will remind us of our winning ways during those four wonderful years between 2010 and 2013. Maybe. Let’s go bowling. Please?

Matt: Many fans gave up hope on this season following a surprising, to say the least, loss versus Tennessee. The question is: will the team? They have 4 games remaining and they need to win 3 to qualify for a bowl. With that in mind, this game should be viewed as a must-win. Also, this Vandy team is kind of mediocre at everything (although I did think the same way for Tennessee…) with neither side of the ball particularly keeping me up at night. All in all, it’s under the lights, at home, and more pressure surrounds this game than any other game this season. If USC loses this game, their year is done. Edwards and Kinlaw should just coast and protect their draft statuses. Give me a 24-17 victory in favor of the Cocks and another week of life in this disappointment of a season.

Katie: My prediction this week is of course for a win, but outside of my commitment to being our resident Eternal Sports Optimist, I’m also in town for this game, and I haven’t seen the Gamecocks lose in-person since 2009. I get back to Columbia for at least one game a year in person, so what I’m saying is this is a solid streak and I don’t expect it to be broken tonight. If it is, though, I take no responsibility. It’s also homecoming, and no one should lose on homecoming. This game is a must-win for a lot of reasons, so do the thing, USC.