South Carolina’s blackout last year against Tennessee was the Will Muschamp’s first big win as a Gamecock head coach. I hope this year it pulls us a game away from being bowl eligible. We have a bye week next week, so leave any questions you have about the season so far or future games and I’ll be glad to answer them.
1. Butch Jones has to be on the hot seat at this point. If he loses at home to this South Carolina team, is he gone?
His seat is on fire. Most of the base has turned on him -- things seem to be spiraling out of control. Even with all of that being said, I don't think the South Carolina game will break his back. If he gets blown away again, maybe. I really think he makes it to the Alabama game, where Tennessee will legitimately be 30 point underdogs on the road. No interim coach should have to go through that. I could be wrong, but if Tennessee wants to make a move in the season, that seems like the likely spot to do it.
2. Does what seems to be the South Carolina defense coming alive scare you for Saturday?
Absolutely. As an outsider looking in, I'm not really sure what to make of South Carolina yet. They've been a rollercoaster, but Tennessee is dreadful offensively right now. Everyone knows they're just going to pound John Kelly down after down. The passing attack is broken. I mean, UMass held them to just 17 points. I don't think South Carolina will have any trouble stopping Tennessee.
3. South Carolina only gave up 105 yards rushing to what is probably one the top three rushing attacks in the SEC. How does Tennessee get the run game going?
The run game has been decent to this point. The offensive line hasn't been bad at all. The problem is that there's just no threat of a vertical passing game. You can just key on the run and bring eight into the box. You'll see Tennessee try to pound Kelly up the gut. If that doesn't work they'll turn to the screen game. Kelly leads the Vols in targets to this point, so covering him out of the backfield is a must.
4. Who’s the QB that is expected to play against USC?
It's going to be Jarrett Guarantano. The move was reported on Tuesday. It's going to be his first career start after playing sparingly in some bad spots to this point. Quinten Dormady hasn't been very good and just really doesn't fit the offense. Guarantano hasn't shown much, but we've yet to see him with an extended look. He's a wildcard.
5. What’s one thing Tennessee does well that they should take advantage of against South Carolina?
The best and really the only consistent part of Tennessee this year has been John Kelly and the power run game. If you get him enough touches, he'll beat you a few times. He wore down Florida and started ripping off chunks in the swamp. He was the only reason Tennessee was even competent offensively on that day. But again, everyone in the stadium knows what Tennessee is going to try to do.
6. Coming off of a shutout at home, how does the Tennessee offense bounce back?
I've been begging for them to play Jarrett Guarantano at quarterback, simply to take advantage of his athletic ability. So I like the change-up. I think putting him back there with Kelly and running read-option will provide some sort of spark. Receiver Marquez Callaway has to get more involved too. After exploding against Georgia Tech, he's vanished from the offense. That's got to change.
7. Who ya taking to win?
South Carolina. I don't know why Tennessee is favored in this game. I just don't know how they score. Maybe Guarantano changes things, but I don't have much confidence. I'll go South Carolina 24, Tennessee 13.
Again, leave questions I can answer in the comments for next week!