#9 South Carolina Gamecocks at Vanderbilt Commodores
Thursday, August 30, 2012, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, Tennessee
Opening Line: South Carolina -4
Current Line: South Carolina – 6 1/2
Opening Total: 46 1/2
Current Total: 45
Opening Money Line: South Carolina -260 / Vanderbilt +220
Current Money Line: South Carolina -275 / Vanderbilt +235
The #9 South Carolina Gamecocks open both their season and SEC play at the Vanderbilt Commodores Thursday night. South Carolina, coached by Steve Spurrier, is coming off an 11-2 season last year. The only losses were at home to Auburn and and at Arkansas. The Gamecocks didn’t have to play Alabama or LSU last season. South Carolina beat Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl 30-13 to end last season. The Gamecocks were 7-6 against the spread and the total was 5-8 last season.
Vanderbilt was 6-7 last season under first year coach James Franklin. The Commodores went to the only the 5th bowl in school history and lost in the Liberty Bowl to Cincinnati 31-24. The Commodores had losses to South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Florida, and Tennessee. Though Vanderbilt was outscored 55-3 in the South Carolina and Alabama games, the Commodores lost the other 4 games by six points or less. The best win of the season came at Wake Forest in the last game of the regular season 41-7. The two conference wins came over Ole Miss and Kentucky. The Commodores were 9-4 ATS and the total was 8-5 last year.
This is the 22nd meeting between South Carolina and Vanderbilt. South Carolina leads the series 17-4, including 9-2 in Nashville. The Gamecocks have won 3 in a row in the series , including 21-3 last year. Vanderbilt kicked a first quarter field goal to take a 3-0 lead. However, they would not score for the rest of the game. South Carolina scored 21 unanswered points to grab the win in Columbia, including a fumble recovery in the end zone. The Gamecocks won despite 4 turnovers. The Commodores had 3 turnovers of their own. South Carolina held Vanderbilt to 77 total yards, including 4 rushing yards and 5 first downs.
Junior quarterback Connor Shaw leads South Carolina. The dual threat QB had just under 2,000 combined rushing and passing yards, with 22 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He has battled back spasms but is listed as probable against Vanderbilt. All eyes will be on running back Marcus Lattimore, who rushed for over 800 yards and 10 touchdowns before tearing his ACL in October. South Carolina says he is completely healthy, but we will see how it affects his speed and ability to cut.
The Gamecock defense will be led by star ends Jadaveon Clowney and Devin Taylor who combined for 14 sacks last year. Both will be in the NFL in the near future. South Carolina was third in scoring defense in the SEC last year allowing 18 points a game.
Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers (younger brother of the Packers’ Aaron) had just under 2,000 combined rushing and passing yards with 13 total touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He competed only 50% of his passes and threw way too many interceptions, but the senior should be better this season. Running back Zac Stacy had 201 carries, 1,193 yards, and 14 touchdowns, and also had 20 catches for 106 yards.
Vanderbilt was 7th in the SEC in scoring defense. The Commodores return 7 starters from that unit but the four they lost were some of the best playmakers Vanderbilt had. We will have to see if the defense regresses.
South Carolina has won their last 13 season openers straight up. The Gamecocks are 7-2 ATS in Thursday games, 5-2 in road games, 4-1 as a favorite and a road favorite. Vanderbilt is 7-1 ATS at home, 6-2 overall, 4-0 as an underdog, 4-1 in SEC games, and 1-5 as an underdog of 3.5-10 points including 1-4 at home. The under is 4-0-1 in the last 5 meetings between South Carolina and Vanderbilt, and 3-1-1 in the last 5 played in Nashville. The road team is 6-2-1 ATS in the last 9 in the series.
Vanderbilt is on the rise, but they simply don’t have the talent to pull off the upset against a top 10 South Carolina team, even at home in front of a fired up crowd. The Commodores keep it interesting for a while, but South Carolina wins.
We have today’s college football picks available now as the season kickoff is just days away.