North Carolina vs. South Carolina Picks
Date/Time: August 29th, 6:00 ET
College Football Odds from WagerWeb
Point Spread: South Carolina -12 Total: 56.5
The South Carolina Gamecocks are opening up their 2013 season with high hopes of challenging for a National Championship this year. They start by taking on the North Carolina Tar Heels as double digit favorites on the college football odds, but they could be tested in this one.
The Tar Heels aren't a bad team by any stretch of the imagination. They aren't ranked in the Top 25, but perhaps they should be. They weren't bowl eligible last season, but they did go 8-4 and finished with a share of the ACC Coastal Division title in the regular season. Gone is RB Giovani Bernard, whom many think has the ability to be a starting running back for the Cincinnati Bengals at some point this year. In is RB AJ Blue, who averaged 5.3 yards per carry in his own right last season. Blue has a hamstring problem that could keep him out of this game though, and that could hamper an offense which averaged 485.6 yards and 40.6 points per game last season. This team though, will only go as far as QB Bryn Renner takes it. UNC's pivot threw for 3,356 yards and 27 TDs last season against seven picks, and he has the chance to really do some damage when push comes to shove.
South Carolina is clearly built upon its defense, and DE Jadeveon Clowney is going to try to do the same thing to Renner that he was doing last year to great quarterbacks like QB Tajh Boyd and QB Devin Gardner down the stretch of the season. In spite of the fact that they faced a brutalizing schedule, the Gamecocks still ranked 11th in the nation in total defense at 315.5 yards per game allowed and were 13th in scoring defense at 18.2 points per game. That said, the offense struggled under the direction of QB Connor Shaw, as the team only ranked 84th in the country in total offensive production. That's what is really going to have to improve if SC is going to challenge some of the big boys in the SEC this season. Remember that both RB Marcus Lattimore and WR Ace Sanders are both gone for the NFL at this point, and at least until Lattimore was injured, these were amongst the only truly explosive players that the Gamecocks were able to bring to the table offensively. The only man left from last year's team that caught more than 14 passes is WR Bruce Ellington.
We're not necessarily smelling a brutal upset in this game, but we want the points on our side for sure. South Carolina is a good team, but to cover against another good team like the Tar Heels, it's going to take some major offensive production. We don't think that the Gamecocks will get to 30, and if they don't do that, they won't cover.
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels +12