After a blessed bye week, the South Carolina Gamecocks resume play under the lights tonight against the Florida Gators, who are surprising owners of the same 4-4 record. UF remains, however, a talented and dangerous team, so the Gamecocks will have their work cut out for them if they want to spring the upset. Here’s how the GABA gang is feeling about it.
Kody: I had this marked down as a loss before the season started, and honestly, there’s not a whole lot that has moved my mind from this opinion. However, I do think there’s a solid chance at a moral victory here, much as many of us hate the term — put another way, at least an opportunity for the Gamecocks to compete with a better team without looking like they’ve never seen a football before. Florida is dealing with some turbulence of its own right now, thanks to Dan Mullen being the extremely unlikeable person he is and a quarterback injury, so this isn’t exactly a team that’s flying high and clicking on all cylinders. A bye week can’t fix everything, but if Shane Beamer wants to prove he’s got some chops and is actually trying, the Gamecocks will put forth some kind of effort here. I’ll be optimistic and say they do, but UF’s superior talent and depth wins out in the second half in something like a 34-13 result.
Sawyer: It’s not impossible to be optimistic going into this game but it is difficult. Even with the Gamecocks having a night game under the lights at home, that just doesn’t mean the same thing it used to. Although the Gators are coming in with a disappointing 4-4 record, this team is still loaded with talent at positions the Gamecocks aren’t near as talented. This game could go multiple ways, and unfortunately I think the Gators win based on pure talent. Sometimes a team can show up and have the heart, wanting the win more than the other team, and the other team is just too much. I really do think the Gamecocks want this win more than the Gators, and I think that will show. Sadly, even with the disappointing season, the Gator program is just in a different place than ours. Because of this, I see the Gamecocks losing a well-fought battle in Columbia. I’ve got the Gators in this one, 34-20.
Matt: There are many things to unpack here. Is this Florida team perhaps a bit underrated at this point because it has failed to meet the high expectations that were there to start the season? I believe so. Skeptics of the Gators are acting like the sky is falling in Gainesville after losses on the road against LSU (obviously a very tough place to play) and at home versus Georgia — the best team in the nation. On the other hand, the Gamecocks had an extra week to prepare for this game, and they have not gotten killed at home… yet. Could South Carolina feed off the energy of the Gamecock faithful to keep things close? Not sure. USC handled Kentucky defensively at Williams-Brice about a month ago, but they don’t exactly have the fiercest offense in the conference either. The only way to secure a dub here is to create turnovers because with an eight-game sample size, I am confident in saying the offense won’t be spear-heading this attack. I see Florida struggling in the beginning while the fans are into it, but once the crowd’s positivity dims a bit, I think the Gators will take a hefty lead and never look back. Give me Florida, 38-13.
Katie: [insert Eternal Sports Optimist “we’re gonna win!” prediction here]