After a long and disappointing season thus far, South Carolina still has its most important game left to play.
At this point, USC is playing purely for bragging rights and for whatever pride they have left.
Positives may be hard to come by in this one, though, as they are welcoming the Clemson Tigers, the third ranked team in the country, to town.
The Cocks opened as 26-point underdogs and the line has since risen to 27 points.
The over/under is set at 51.5.
Why was the line set at this number?
The only reason the spread makes sense here would be recent history.
Throwing out the 56-7 beatdown in 2016, no matter how good Clemson has been (or how bad the Gamecocks have been), they haven’t been able to beat USC by more than 24 since 2003.
Not being able to accomplish that in 16 years is a very telling stat and may be the only thing benefiting the Cocks at this point.
In terms of play, Clemson has had a field day against below average teams this year, and Carolina would fall under that category.
In Clemson’s 11 games played, they put up at least 40 points in nine of them.
Although the Gamecock defense looked lethal at around the time of the Georgia game, it has since fallen back to Earth having gotten torched by Florida, Tennessee, and Texas A&M. In terms of points per game, the team that comes closest to Clemson’s 45.9 out of those three would be Florida with 32.4 points per game.
On paper, the Tigers are unlike anything Carolina has faced recently, other than Alabama, who put up 47 against the Cocks in week 3.
If Clemson comes anywhere close to that number, and they most likely will, it will be very hard to beat the spread with an offense as inept as this one.
What will have to happen for the Gamecocks to cover?
They have to drop at least 20.
Defensively, I’m expecting the worst so the offense will have to be the slightest bit competent.
I’ve said this at least 100 times, but because it’s the last game of the year, I’ll say it again for old times sake: unleash Ryan Hilinski please and let him throw the ball.
We saw a recipe for success in last year’s Clemson game. Hopefully the coaching staff realizes that and decides to call an air raid.
Clemson is not a team to make stupid mistakes, so the most we can hope for is this team at least attempting to keep up with them.
What’s the better bet?
I’ll keep it plain and simple here. This game won’t be close.
It is a complete mismatch and while this Gamecock team is playing for pride, Clemson is playing to cement their College Football Playoff chances.
Yes, USC is coming off a bye, but that can only do so much.
Clemson will win this one by at least 26 points and I wouldn’t be surprised if the deficit gets up to 40.
On top of taking the Tigers (and it pains me to say that), I would slam the under for this game as well.