The streaking South Carolina Gamecocks look to extend their winning ways to a fifth game when the Missouri Tigers come to town at 4 p.m. this afternoon. The crew from Bizzaro Columbia wants to lengthen a streak of their own, as they’ve got the upperhand over the Gamecocks with three in a row despite their current struggles in 2022. While South Carolina will be riding high in front of another sold-out home crowd, nothing is a given in the SEC. Here’s how the GABA gang sees things going down.
Kody: The Gamecocks are favored for the first time in an SEC game this season, and while I think it’s merited, this could also set up as a classic trap game if South Carolina isn’t careful. USC is trending in the right direction, but it’s far from being head and shoulders above any SEC competitor other than Vanderbilt, and can’t afford to take anything for granted – even if Mizzou just barely scraped by the aforementioned Commodores last week. Both teams are actually fairly similar statistically, but the Tigers haven’t gotten some of the breaks that South Carolina has been able to create both defensively and on special teams. Even with Eli Drinkwitz’s seeming mojo over USC, I still think the Gamecocks have enough juice to pull this one off – though I envision it as a low-scoring slugfest that isn’t particularly decisive and may leave some fans grumbling. I’ll go with 24-21, USC.
Brent: How does South Carolina handle success and people patting them on the back for the last week? The better question may be how long can Carolina continue to rely on special teams scores and turnovers? I have been having PTSD flashbacks to the 2007 Vanderbilt game all week, and this Missouri team is way better than that Vanderbilt team. This Missouri front 7 is one that has found success this season against some really good competition and this feels like a really bad matchup for the Gamecocks up front. I will say that as bad as that matchup feels for the Carolina offense, I really like this matchup on defense. Missouri is struggling this season to find the endzone, yet the most points that they have scored in SEC play was against Georgia. If the Gamecocks can find a way to start fast like they did last week against A&M, I do not see the Tigers being able to find enough offense to climb out of that hole. I believe this will be an ugly game, and while I am worried about a letdown, I will pick the Gamecocks to win this one 26-20 to move to 6-2 and become bowl eligible.
Matt: USC may have the better record, better victories and (probably) the better roster, but I’m still going into this one cautiously optimistic. The Gamecocks have struggled mightily to move the ball over the last two weeks — despite winning — without a turnover setting them up with great field position. As I said in my odds article, South Carolina only scored one touchdown against Texas A&M when a drive didn’t start at midfield or better. Guess where Missouri excels? Its defense! If South Carolina isn’t able to create some turnovers, this could be a very close, low scoring game. The Tigers haven’t allowed more than 26 points to an SEC opponent thus far, and I don’t expect the Cocks to break that trend. As long as USC plays a clean game offensively and focuses on stopping the run, I have a hard time believing Missouri will be the better team on Saturday. Give me the Gamecocks by the score of 20-17 with a game-winning Mitch Jeter field goal breaking the tie late. South Carolina keeps its winning streak going and they secure bowl eligibility while Missouri continues its trend of close, heartbreaking SEC losses.
Katie: I’ll go ahead and make us 4 for 4 on predicting a win this week, for all the same reasons the guys listed above, and because I’m me and we all know my role here. It’s also Homecoming weekend and I’m in (the better) Columbia for the game, and my track record is, if I do say so myself, pretty good. The Tigers have had our number in recent years, but it’s time for them to feel some mizzoury. Bowl eligibility, here we come.