It’s not worth beating around the bush: Kentucky hasn’t been good this season.
Being outgained by a not-that-great Southern Miss team: not good. Needing to stage a rally and get some fortuitous turnovers against FCS Eastern Kentucky: not good.
The Wildcats looked dreadful early last season and still beat South Carolina in one of the ugliest games you’ll see. In 2016, the Gamecocks had a freshman quarterback making his first road start, but look much better heading into Saturday’s game.
Barring some kind of sudden turn, it’s hard to see where the Wildcats can do much to the Gamecocks. Running back Benny Snell is banged up. The quarterback position is shared by Stephen Johnson, who has been OK, and Drew Barker, who hasn’t yet happened.
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The Gamecocks look like they’re on an upswing. Getting outgained in their first two games isn’t good, but there have been flashes from quarterback Jake Bentley, all the receivers and a couple running backs. Chances are, consistency comes at some point, maybe against a so-so defense.
The best chance for an upset is if the Wildcats suddenly rediscover the ground-and-pound, take-deep-shots identity they found in the meeting between these teams last year. It seems like a long shot unless USC’s offense starts to really misfire.
Prediction: South Carolina 35, Kentucky 20