After a week off from ranked competition, the South Carolina Gamecocks are right back at it when they host the No. 15 Auburn Tigers in Columbia at noon on Saturday. USC hasn’t seen this particular set of Tigers since 2014, and the Gamecocks’ futility against Auburn is well documented — but nonetheless, anything can happen in this strange season. Here’s how the GABA crew is feeling about things.
Matt: I’m not letting the Vanderbilt game clog my vision. Crushing the worst team in the SEC, with them being even worse than usual with so many players out, shows nothing. With that being said, this game is a quality test for the Cocks. I do believe Tennessee and Florida are better than Auburn, and the Gamecocks stuck with both of those teams for a while. So, shouldn’t that translate into a close game or a win? I’m not going to commit to that, knowing South Carolina’s terrible recent history in playing ranked opponents. I think Auburn is going to come into this game angry from how they played last week and play like the 15th best team in the country. The USC secondary wasn’t too great in the first two games, and I think Bo Nix will use this game to get back on track. I’ll take the Tigers 34-24.
Adam: I believe South Carolina stacks up against Auburn just about the same as they did against Tennessee. Vegas obviously feels the same with such a similar line and Auburn being the slight favorite. Muschamp and Co. deserve to be the default underdog in close match-ups like these until they can prove otherwise. Auburn is a perfect opportunity to do just that. The first of the 3 “tigers” that USC plays in a year without Clemson (must be embarrassing to have such a generic name) has really struggled so far this season and is coming into this game with none of the swagger that Tennessee brought to the opener. In contrast, South Carolina was fortunate enough to have what equated to a tune-up game last week in Nashville and has plenty of reasons to feel confident playing at home. If we don’t beat ourselves, we beat Auburn. 27-17.
Katie: I have never forgiven Auburn for 2010 and I will never forgive them for it, so I demand that South Carolina wins every game the two play ever again, which I think is reasonable. Plus, like Adam mentioned, they have an overused mascot and they also have a non-unique color scheme (aw, burn … see what I did there? I hear your groans and I’m not sorry). Anyway, I think the Gamecocks have a legitimate chance at winning, and not just because I’m the resident Eternal Sports Optimist (mostly for that reason, but). I know Vandy was...Vandy, but hopefully USC can keep things rolling after last weekend’s blowout and come away with a good win at home.
Kody: I’m feeling optimistic myself. As Katie said, there’s an asterisk on USC’s dominant performance against Vanderbilt, but Auburn’s got an equally large asterisk on its win against Arkansas (#SECrefs). The Tigers have also been having kind of a weird year to this point, so conditions seem favorable for an upset. Of course, given how star-crossed we’ve been against Auburn, it’s hard to predict a win with full confidence — but I’m going to call for a Carolina victory anyway. Hopefully Bo Nix doesn’t have his get-right game tomorrow, and hopefully the Gamecocks are able to bring some of the good vibes from Nashville into Williams-Brice.