The coach got fired, players are opting out, but the Gamecocks still have a primetime matchup this Saturday night against the Missouri Tigers.
Those four straight wins against the spread to begin the year feel like ages ago as South Carolina has dropped their last three, being a mediocre 4-3 on the year. Subtract two wins and that’s their record straight up.
Missouri’s last game was Halloween night, so come Saturday, they wouldn’t have played in three weeks. Add the fact that they’ve been wildly inconsistent, beating LSU and Kentucky yet getting blown out by the rest, and you’ll get a team that no one’s really sure what they’re capable of.
South Carolina’s most recent loss featured a valiant effort on offense, but the defense struggled to do just about anything. Despite Horn, Mukuamu and Roderick opting out, I can’t see the defense getting much worse, though.
According to VegasInsider.com, the Cocks are currently 6.5-point dogs, with the line shifting 5.5 points in favor of Missouri since it opened.
ESPN’s FPI gives South Carolina a 44.2% chance of winning, predicting more of a toss-up than the line makes it out to be.
The over/under is set at 54 points.
Why was the line set at this number?
This is an embarrassing line, and even more so considering the Gamecocks are the home team.
In my opinion, Vegas probably sees all these players leaving the program and thinks USC is packing it in, looking to next year.
That and South Carolina hasn’t given the betters any reason to put money on them over the last three games.
Since these two teams started playing each other every year in 2012, the series is 5-3 in favor of the Cocks, but the Tigers demolished this squad last year 34-14 in a game that wasn’t supposed to be that one-sided at the time.
Also, it’s a night game, and I think everyone is aware how those have gone this season.
Although I’m not too sure about who the Tigers are at this point having had one good game through the air and a few on the ground offensively, everyone knows the story of this year’s Gamecock team, and I feel like many would choose to put their cash on the unknown as opposed to a recent train-wreck.
What will have to happen for the Gamecocks to cover?
With Missouri being so-so when covering the run, Harris will have to pick up right where he left off.
This team is better when they keep the ball on the ground and out of Hill’s hands, where you can count on one to two turnovers from him per game.
If Harris runs for at least 100 yards with at least 20 carries, the Cocks will have a shot. If he doesn’t come close to those numbers, good luck.
I don’t even need to bring up Hill anymore because we know who he is, a game manager who won’t leave his comfort zone. I don’t expect that to change versus Missouri.
Defensively, maybe some of these young guys can come in for Mukuamu and Horn and play hard.
Stop the run, because Larry Rountree III has been a problem in the past, and maybe South Carolina can keep it close.
What’s the better bet?
Missouri hasn’t won on the road and South Carolina hasn’t won at night. One of those streaks is coming to an end in a couple days.
I’d feel comfortable betting on just about anything other than the Gamecocks right now, so I’d go with Missouri.
I predict anywhere from a South Carolina win by three to a loss by 21.