SEC Week 1 Football Preview: Texas A&M Aggies vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

Texas A&M Aggies vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
Thursday, 8/28/14, 6:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  South Carolina -12
Current Betting Line:  South Carolina -12
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes

The South Carolina Gamecocks have some major playmakers on offense
The South Carolina Gamecocks have some major playmakers on offense

Texas A&M begins life without Johnny Manziel, who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL draft, but third-year head coach Kevin Sumlin’s offense is capable of putting up numbers with any player under center.  All signs point to true freshman quarterback Kyle Allen to earn the job, as he was one of the more decorated recruits in this year’s class.  He’ll be protected by an offensive line that welcomes back 89 career starts, but it may take a couple games for a No. 1 running back to emerge.  Texas A&M has failed to cover the number in its last four August affairs, which is important to consider when making your college football picks in Week 1.

The Aggies are hoping for a major improvement on the defensive side of the ball against an offense that will test the group early on, with nine starters returning to College Station.  Texas A&M’s defense allowed 32.2 points per game in 2013—a bad number when opening up a new year versus a Southeastern Conference juggernaut.  The program is 4-7 SU in road/neutral site openers in its last 11 opportunities in that situation.

South Carolina said goodbye to a ton of talent in the offseason, but it does have a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in junior running back Mike Davis, who gained 1,214 yards and scored 11 touchdowns a year ago.  The Gamecocks have put together three consecutive 11-win seasons under head coach Steve Spurrier, who is set for his 10th season at the helm in Columbia.  He welcomes back senior signal-caller Dylan Thompson—a player that has received some much-needed experience over the years when Connor Shaw was unable to go due to injury.  South Carolina is 4-1 ATS in its last five Thursday affairs.

The Gamecocks should be able to push the Aggies around in this affair, with nine of their top 10 offensive linemen returning—combining for 113 starts as a group.  Wide receivers Damiere Byrd and Shaq Roland are major playmakers for Thompson to target, with both average over 17.4 yards per reception last season.

Sports bettors will likely back the Gamecocks due to the Aggies being 1-6 ATS in their last seven conference games.

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