Carolina crushed Arkansas last week to improve to 4-2 and we’re here to predict whether they’ll keep the fun going against Tennessee.
Thomas: Yeah, the last time I predicted a blowout we got beat by Kentucky at home. I think Tennessee has one of the better backs in the league in John Kelly. I don’t think Tennessee has a good enough offense to just kill our defense and make Bentley have an amazing day, so I seriously doubt they’ll score 20. They do have a dual-threat QB making his first start, and Jarrett Guarantano is most likely walking into the hornet’s nest that was our defense last week. I think we beat UT, and do it soundly. 35-17 Gamecocks. I really hope us beating Tennessee makes Butch Jones get fired. Please football gods, I’m begging.
Demetri: **THROWS HEAD BACK AND EXHALES CAUSING HIS LIPS TO FLAP HILARIOUSLY** I have no clue. I am done predicting what this team is going to do from week to week. The defense looks the best it has all season, but the Cocks’ offense is still suspect and according to what the phrase “I’m sorry, I thought all lives matter” would look like if it were a human being, Butch Jones, the Vols just had the best bye week that has ever been recorded in human history. On top of that, this game is at the home of the 2016 Champions of Life, Tennessee. I am tepidly picking SC, but I don’t feel great about it. 23-17.
Kody: Whew, buddy. This has set up perfectly as the classic South Carolina trap game scenario. The Gamecocks are coming off a thrilling, emphatic win that could be the start of a turnaround, and are now facing an opponent that could be charitably described as a garbage fire. You really never know what you're going to get with a confused, wounded animal backed into a corner the way Tennessee is -- they could come out swinging and fighting for their lives, or they could pack it up and peace out at the first hint of adversity. The Vols are also starting a new quarterback, and South Carolina has traditionally made stars out of backups. Oh, and this game is in Knoxville, where the Gamecocks have played well on only a few occasions in their history. If USC has bought too much into its own hype again ala the Kentucky game, this could get serious. I'll still take South Carolina here, but I'm admittedly shook and wouldn't be surprised if it's a close and ugly affair. 24-17.
Chris: Here’s the dirty little secret no one is telling you about this game -- South Carolina and Tennessee are almost the exact same team. Their defenses are built in the bend-don’t-break mold -- both will stop big plays but are susceptible to giving up long drives. Both sides have played schedules of an average difficulty and have yet to find consistency in their passing games.
Here are the key differences: Tennessee has proven they can run the ball, South Carolina has an established quarterback and have benefited from turnovers far more than Tennessee has. I’m not sure how that all meshes together as analysis, but it’s a start as to how and make sense of this game. Keep in mind, last week all the metrics said Arkansas was going to kill South Carolina and that’s definitely not what happened.
I can’t predict randomness, so I’ll continue to stick to the numbers even if I’m wrong with every prediction going forward this season. When you boil everything down, Tennessee is South Carolina with slightly better talent that’s been gathered over many recruiting cycles. On the road, I think South Carolina drops a close one 28-24.
Katie: Predictably, I’m going to predict that South Carolina wins this game because I want them to. Tennessee is kind of a mess this season, but we’ve all seen South Carolina and outside of last week they haven’t exactly looked great either, so this game honestly seems like a toss-up. Being in Knoxville doesn’t help, but maybe the noted Champions of Life will have been distracted by all the #LeadershipReps they took this week and won’t be adequately prepared. Either way, I think this is a close game. And please, please, please, Coach Muschamp, for the love of Cocky, don’t try field goals unless it is 100 percent necessary. And even then...maybe don’t.
Kaci: Like Katie, I am here yet again to predict a win for South Carolina this week. I don’t feel particularly confident about this game, even after watching the Gamecocks whip Arkansas last week. But I think if the defense shows up like they did last week then the offense will be able to do enough to get a road win. Gamecocks 24-20.