The Gamecocks pulled off a victory against NC State last week to start the season 1-0. We got together to predict whether they’ll be able to improve to 2-0 in the SEC opener.
Chris: This matchup scares the hell out of me. Missouri’s offense dropped an atom bomb on Missouri State last week with a seven-TD showing from QB Drew Lock in the center of it. It’s not as if the Gamecock defense was great at putting a cap on Ryan Finley last week, so the passing defense gives me real worries here. On the flip side of this, Missouri’s defense looked downright awful against an FCS offense while South Carolina offense looked below-average against a good NC State defense. Saying all of that, this leads me to believe we’re going to have a shootout on our hands. A shootout I’m not sure South Carolina will be able to handle on the road.
Kody: This one’s hard to get a handle on because there’s not much we can take away from Mizzou obliterating an FCS opponent last week, good or bad. However, it’s still safe to say Drew Lock is talented and Damarea Crockett found success against the Gamecocks last year as well, so anyone expecting South Carolina to nuke Missouri from orbit will be left wanting. While we know a little more about the Gamecocks after they opened against a quality opponent last week, the offense was one-dimensional and shaky at times, likely because of N.C. State’s veteran defense and the game-planning that unit required. The key for South Carolina is to cultivate a running game that can keep the Tigers’ offense off the field. I’m agreeing with Chris in that I think this will turn into a shootout, but I also think the Gamecocks will get that last stop they need in a 34-31 type of barnburner.
Sydney: If there’s one things the Tigers showed last week, it’s that they’re capable of putting up points. Now, I don’t know if that’s because they were playing against a sub-.500 FCS team from last year in Missouri State or if this is what to expect from them all season long. However, the fact that they gave up 43 to Missouri State? A little bit of an eyebrow raiser. South Carolina’s defense wasn’t great last week; let’s hope they have made the adjustments they needed to make in the film room to prepare them for this Saturday. With that said, I’ll have to go 38-35 Mizzou (I was wrong last week; let’s hope I’m wrong this week too!)
Thomas: I raved on Mizzou’s offense this week in the power rankings. I thought they were going to have a very good game against SC since they put up 70 on Missouri State. However, they averaged 33 points per game on Power 5 opponents last year. They scored 21 on us last year, but they do have a better offense this year. To me, I see us putting at least 42 on the Tigers. They gave up that last week, so I know we can score that much. They win this game, it’s a big first step in to winning the SEC East. I’m going 42-31 Cocks.
Demetri: I have trouble believing that this will be a shoot out. Mizzou’s performance against Missouri St certainly didn't give anyone the impression that the Tigers are capable of stopping even the worst FBS defense, but look at what the Cocks did on offense last week against NC State.
All of the pressure is on Carolina's offense this week, because clearly Muschamp and Roper have built their strategy around sustaining time-consuming drives and forcing opposing defenses to stay on the field. If they can do that to Mizzou I expect Carolina to be 2-0. If Bentley is off on his throws and Mizzou is forcing turnovers (not likely but not impossible) it's gonna be a long night in the wrong Columbia. All that being said, I'm way more optimistic going to Mizzou than I was going into Charlotte.
Katie: As one of GABA’s resident sports optimists, I would like to say South Carolina will win this game. As with last week, I have no real reason for this, other than I want it to happen, but that method worked last week, so why not again? I feel like the offenses in this game are going to be better than the defenses, and maybe it’ll come down to a #collegekickers moment or something. My totally random score prediction is...35-32 Gamecocks.
P.S. No matter the score, at least we win when it comes to who has the better Columbia.
Kaci: It’s still hard to know much about these teams after just one game, so I wouldn’t be shocked if this game goes in a weird direction, but I agree with most of the other staff members that it will probably be mostly about the offenses. I think the Tigers and the Gamecocks will trade scores for most of the game, but the Carolina defense will step up and get a couple of big stops or turnovers to pull away and seal a victory. I’ll got with a final score of something like 41-31 Gamecocks.