After a couple home dates, the South Carolina Gamecocks get this show back on the road as they make the trek to Knoxville, Tenn., for a clash with the suddenly surging Volunteers. As is appropriate for spooky season, Neyland Stadium has often been a house of horrors for the Garnet and Black, yet this contest could still be one of the more winnable games left on the schedule. Here’s how the GABA gang is feeling.
Kody: Man, I just don’t know. The line currently pegs Tennessee as a double-digit favorite, but this has been a close (and frankly, bizarre) series for most seasons stretching back over a decade now. After watching UT blow Missouri out of the water last week, I’m trying to talk myself off the ledge: Mizzou has one of the worst defenses in the entire country, after all, and for all the Gamecocks’ current faults, defense has not been one of them. That performance against Troy, though, was so dispiriting that it’s hard for me to trust that the Gamecocks can pull off a wacky win against UT like they have in the past. I think South Carolina beats the spread in this one, but likely comes away with something like a 21-13 loss.
Matt: I said this previously in my weekly odds article, but I feel like confidence in Tennessee is at a season high right now. I don’t think it will match these heights either (unless the Vols blow out the Cocks, of course). Although the Vols’ running ways don’t exactly match up well with the Gamecocks and their sub-par run defense, I still have a hard time believing we will be witnessing anything but a close game on Saturday afternoon. Eight of the last nine matchups between these two teams have resulted in a single-digit score differential. We’ve also seen much better Tennessee teams and much worse South Carolina teams over the years. This is a game that both squads want desperately, and I think the score will reflect that. Am I calling for an SEC dub? Like I said coming into Kentucky, I need to see it to believe it, so I’m not quite there yet. Give me a 24-20 victory for the Vols.
Katie: Well well well, if it isn’t the resident Eternal Sports Optimist here to predict a win. Like the guys pointed out, the series between South Carolina and Tennessee is weird and full of close scores, and I think this is the year we get to be on the right side of things. Sure the Vols routed Missouri last weekend, but the Tigers have also given up at least 24 points in every game they’ve played this season. The USC-UT series is divided with five wins apiece going back to 2011, so it’s time for a tiebreaker in our favor imo. I also want to predict fewer penalties from the Cocks this week, but unfortch I’m not super confident in that. If they stay undisciplined, the chances of my prediction being correct go way down, and after striking out against Georgia and Kentucky already this season, I personally could use a win on SEC game predictions. Do us all a solid here, Gamecocks.