The South Carolina Gamecocks renew their storied “rivalry” with the Texas A&M Aggies this weekend as heavy underdogs, traveling to College Station still in search of their first win against this program. While USC is coming off an escape job against Vanderbilt, A&M is suddenly surging after toppling No. 1 Alabama a couple weeks ago. Here’s how the GABA gang feels about the Gamecocks’ prospects.
Kody: I can sum up my thoughts with: Not great! While USC has had some close calls with A&M in recent years, the games have not typically been super competitive or entertaining, and it kind of feels like the Gamecocks are catching the Aggies at exactly the wrong time. A&M proved there was no letdown from the Bama win by handling Mizzou last week, and asking Zeb Noland to be a hero again is probably a bit too much. Also, College Station is well known as a tough place to play, so I’m already cringing thinking about how many false start flags will fly. What it really boils down to, though, is that I just can’t believe USC can beat A&M until it actually happens, so I’m mostly just hoping the Gamecocks can keep things respectable in a 28-14 type of loss.
Matt: Do I think USC has a real chance in this game? Well, no, but they can use that to their advantage. The Gamecocks are playing with house money here. Remember when they came out of the gate fighting on the road against Georgia and kept things close for much longer than anyone really expected? There are four teams that were within one possession of Georgia after one quarter this year: South Carolina, Clemson, Auburn and Kentucky. With the exception of the Cocks, all those teams were ranked this year at one point in time. What that tells me is South Carolina does well when there are no expectations in addition to being a team with grit. They may not cover the spread, but I expect this game to be a lot closer than anticipated for quite some time. If Zeb Noland can be a game manager and the Gamecock defense can at least hold Isaiah Spiller to under 100 rushing yards, this could get somewhat uncomfortable for Texas A&M. I’m picking the Aggies to win 38-17 in a game where things start nice but begin to crumble in the second half.
Katie: Yeah, we’re not winning this one. Just kidding, the Eternal Sports Optimist rides forever! After watching the Zeb Noland Hero Game™ in person last weekend, 1) let’s never discuss anything about the game except the final drive ever again, 2) I still have not seen USC lose in person since 2009, where are my comped tickets to every game, and 3) I truly believe there is technically a chance South Carolina could beat Texas A&M on Saturday. I’m not saying you should bet real money - or even Monopoly money - on that outcome, I’m just saying it is a possible outcome. Since I did endure the entirety of the ZNHG™, I would like to offer a few quick recommendations for the Gamecocks to help make the unlikely-but-awesome outcome of a win against the Aggies possible. 1) HOLD ON TO THE DANG BALL. 2) Avoid penalties, especially the dumb ones. 3) Hope like heck Zeb’s got some more magic in the tank. Winning streak, here we come.