The Gamecocks improved to 5-2 against Tennessee and we’re here to bring you our predictions about how they’ll do against Vandy coming off of last week’s bye.
Demetri: So who’s ready to get bowl eligible? That Vandy team that beat K State and then so desperately wanted Bama seems to be a thing of the past. The once-vaunted defense has given up at least 38 points in each of the Commodores’ last four games, and this won’t surprise you: they’ve lost every single one of them.
This could be a nice chance, coming off of a bye for the Cocks to get healthy and keep working on life after Deebo. Vandy’s DBs have left a lot to be desired of late, so this could be a big day for Edwards, Hurst and Shi. Defensively, Vandy’s porous line and terrified-lap-dog-shaped-as-a-quarterback Kyle Schurmur’s desire to just not get hurt should lead to a coming out party for the defense.
CAROLINA 35 - 16
Katie: As you likely expected, I am again here to predict a win. I will also be in Columbia for the game, and I haven’t seen the Gamecocks lose in person since my senior year (aka the 2010 season), so I don’t expect that streak to end now. As for the final score, I’m going to guess South Carolina wins by at least two touchdowns. Happy Homecoming!
Chris: It feels like an eternity since I last watched South Carolina sink a death nail in Butch Jones’ coffin, leaving me with some optimism about the Gamecocks vanquishing another team from Tennessee. Vanderbilt started off the season looking like a dark horse, the pinnacle of which was a 14-7 win over Kansas State in Nashville.
However that 3-0 start was been made null ever since Alabama broke Vandy over their knee like Bane did Batman. Much like the caped crusader, Vandy’s been hobbled ever since -- losing four in a row with their defense being the main culprit. It’s been a strange development to watch: a Derek Mason team that’s bad at defense and running the ball but is proficient at passing.
Kyle Shurmur has quietly been the best quarterback in the SEC East -- posting 14 touchdowns to just two interceptions. However he hasn’t been able to throw Vanderbilt past their horrific defense. The ‘Dores can’t stop the run and are very susceptible to deep completions in the air -- a perfect recipe that could cure the ails which afflict South Carolina’s offense.
That matchup that really favors Carolina here is their ability to defend the deep ball and force short completions. The Gamecocks are fresh off their best defensive performance of the year and should follow it up well off a bye week. I think Carolina wins 28-17 in an aesthetically pleasing contest.
Thomas: I feel kinda eh about this game. I’m confident in a win, I just don’t know how much. Vanderbilt has been giving up in the high forty mark on defense, so if Roper can’t get it going against them then we’re just SOL for the rest of the season. The defense will play well, the only person who concerns me is Kyle Shurmur. He’s secretly been having a somewhat good season, so shutting him down early would be great. I’m going 31-13 Gamecocks, which is absolutely obtainable by this team.
Matt: Carolina all the way. Win a big game against Georgia lurking, look for the Gamecocks to go all out in a convincing win on homecoming weekend. The bye week will serve them well.
Carolina 34 Vandy 14.
Kaci: I also feel good about this game and I think the Gamecocks walk away with a nice win. The Commodores have been uninspiring on defense and have been beaten soundly in every SEC game they’ve played. The Carolina offense and defense are both good enough to make sure that trend continues. Gamecocks win it 31-17.
Kody: Like everyone else, I’m feeling optimistic about this weekend, but Vanderbilt games always find a way to be a chore — and the Gamecocks don’t like doing things the easy way. I’m hoping the bye week and a reeling opponent will add up to an overdue offensive breakout for the Gamecocks, but you never know. USC has a long history of playing ugly, low-scoring, and otherwise forgettable games against Vandy. I’ll go 24-10 Gamecocks in a matchup that has some exciting highlights, but also moments of teeth-grinding frustration.