The South Carolina Gamecocks are back in action this week, set for a big Homecoming date under the lights with Texas A&M and coming off the heels of a program-boosting upset of Kentucky. There’s no need to belabor the fact that the Gamecocks have never beaten A&M, but this is almost certainly the best opportunity USC has had to finally notch a victory over the Aggies. Here’s how the GABA gang is feeling about one of the biggest games yet in the Shane Beamer era.
Kody: I’m going to be straight here and say that until I see the Gamecocks actually win a game in this series, I won’t expect it to happen. We’ve seen a couple competitive games against the Aggies, but most have been blowouts, and many of them head-scratchingly bad. That being said: A&M appears to be vulnerable, having taken some deflating losses so far this season, and the Gamecocks have their best chance yet to get on the right side of the win column here, especially with a bloodthirsty home crowd at their backs. While the offense still struggled to get off to a good start and sustain drives against Kentucky, there were reasons to take away a more optimistic view of that side of the ball in Lexington, so hopefully USC can carry that over after the bye week. I’ll lean into said positivity and go with 21-17 Cocks.
Brent: This is another one of those opportunities for South Carolina in a home game where the fans are going to be excited. This is also the same type of game that South Carolina has been so bad in going back to the 2014 Texas A&M game. 2014 Missouri, 2015 Kentucky, 2017 Kentucky, 2017 Clemson, 2018 Georgia, 2021 Kentucky, and 2021 against Clemson have all been games where the game was hyped up with the fans showing up to rock Williams Brice Stadium only for the game to be all but over in the first quarter. Ironically this is the same team returning to the scene of the crime that took place in 2014. South Carolina is 0-8 against Texas A&M since the Aggies joined the league and many of these games have not even been a fair fight. Texas A&M has struggled this season to a 3-3 record and has injury issues on offense but they are coming off of a bye week just as the Gamecocks are. South Carolina is going to have to figure out a way to get off to a good start at home, especially on offense. It is time for Spencer Rattler to have his breakout game for the Gamecocks. I think he is getting really close, for what it's worth. Last season, following their bye week and a humiliating loss to these same Aggies, Carolina came out and turned their season around with a 40-17 thumping of Florida. Can Carolina repeat the same performance coming off of a bye this season? The Aggies, despite their record, still have some of the best talent in the country that is assembled on their roster. Jimbo Fisher always seems to have a great game plan for South Carolina and I am in the same boat that I was two weeks ago against Kentucky. Until Carolina can prove that they can beat the Aggies, I can’t pick them to win. I am going to pick the Aggies to win 30-24. I still like this Carolina team a lot more than many people do, though.
Matt: This game is very interesting to me because I feel like people would look at it much differently if the names of the teams were removed. If we were doing a “blind resume” comparison, who would you take: a 4-2 squad that (understandably) got blown out by Georgia but also has a statement win over Kentucky or a 3-3 squad that scored more than 24 points once this season with a loss to App State and a close win versus a dreadful Miami team, BUT a victory against Arkansas? I feel like team #1 would have a compelling argument there. Reveal the teams and now we see South Carolina, a school that has never beaten Texas A&M ever and has struggled of late against them. Let’s not forget the routine letdown games following statement victories. Things changed a bit right? On paper this should be a close game, but we’ve seen this before. The Aggies are one of the teams that cause me to lose belief in the Cocks when playing them, and my fears won’t subside until they secure that much-needed victory. Although I don’t think the game will be as lopsided as years past, I’ll still take Texas A&M 31-24.
Katie: My ANY GIVEN SATURDAY energy worked for the Kentucky game, so I’m going back to that well here. Every year I predict that the Gamecocks will finally beat Texas A&M, and every year that does not happen. Some years, it doesn’t even come close to happening. However, THIS is the year that streak ends (hopefully). Why? No thoughts, just vibes.