After a humbling and deeply concerning defeat on the road last week to Missouri, the South Carolina Gamecocks return to Columbia to try righting their water-logged ship against the Kentucky Wildcats, which -- sure, no sweat, right? Here’s the GABA gang’s take.
Kody: Well, we saw a three-game winning streak end last weekend -- here’s hoping a five-game losing streak can end, too! Much like last Saturday, this is another big game for both South Carolina and its opponent. Kentucky is scuffling without its core of veteran stars like Josh Allen and Benny Snell Jr., who departed for the NFL, and is dealing with a quarterback situation of its own after Terry Wilson’s season-ending knee injury. Boosted by a 7 p.m. kickoff at home, the Gamecocks have a great opportunity to get back in the win column against a team that has inexplicably bedeviled them for half a decade. USC is currently a slim favorite over the Cats, and honestly, it would be pretty on brand for the Gamecocks to get this W and continue to confuse and confound us all. Provided Ryan Hilinski’s elbow is in good shape, I’ll be optimistic here and call for a 24-17 USC win. It’s gotta happen sometime, right? (Right?)
DC3 - After last week we might need to all look into a twelve step program, but alas I have only four...again…
- ANYthing on offense - Just in case you weren’t aware, the Gamecocks managed to pile up only thirty yards in the first half against the Missouri Tigers. That’s the equivalent of walking from the couch to the fridge and back. South Carolina looked listless, and (frankly) injured. Which we found out was actually kinda the case. Here’s hoping a full speed Ryan Hilinski and a fairly lukewarm Kentucky defensive front make for a better showing on Saturday. I’ll say it here, if they hit the 400 yard mark, they win the game.
- WHERE’S WALDO I MEAN BRYAN EDWARDS - put the football in this person’s hand. I do not care how. 6 catches for 118 yards when one is a 75 yard screamer is NOT enough action for one of the most talented wide receivers in the country. Find him a way to have 9-10 catches or more and the Gamecocks sail to victory.
DO NOT DO THIS
- Try to milk the clock - I mean it. Seriously. This is one of the most infuriating aspects of the Coach Boom era thus far. The team seems to be totally incapable of getting out of its own way and just playing football. They always seem to be posturing for an angle to outwit their opponents from a logistical standpoint. This is football. Go play football. Please. Don’t get up by ten points then try to ‘play the percentages’. That’s how you get ants.
- Run from the pistol on third down - I WILL KEEP SAYING THIS UNTIL THEY LISTEN.
Okay...that being said. Gamecocks jump out to a lead but fart around and make me lose more hair for the entirety of the second half. Good Guys 31 - Bad Guys 28.
Matt: Not sure what to make of this game. I’m not sure if Kentucky has a guy they can trust at quarterback after Terry Wilson went down and if turnovers continue to be an issue for Sawyer Smith, it would be easy for South Carolina to capitalize and put up some points. Also, Missouri’s defense was sneaky good and I am confident that Kentucky’s defense will be easier to work with. Most importantly, Hilinski and this Gamecock offense are back home and under the lights. It’s possible they simply had some road woes and won’t be nearly as ineffective as last week. Games between these two teams haven’t been relatively high scoring since 2015, so I’m going to assume the trend continues for this week as well. It’s going to be about who can finish the game out, in my opinion, and I’m honestly not sure which team is more capable of doing that at the moment. This South Carolina team has given me no reason to pick them after the events of the last couple weeks so I’m going with a 24-23 win in favor of Kentucky, although I wouldn’t be shocked if the Cocks pull this one out.
Katie: [insert obligatory SOUTH CAROLINA WILL WIN THIS GAME! prediction here] Games against Kentucky have been a source of distress for us for far too long now, so I am not above begging, pleading, whatever it takes to get the Gamecocks a win tonight, so they can snap the losing streak against Kentucky specifically and the one they’re on overall right now. On the upside, I don’t think this game is gonna be a blowout - THO I’VE SAID THAT BEFORE - but close score or not, I hope it ends in me not having to eat my feelings and send puppy gifs to myself.