South Carolina is coming off its most improbable win of the year – a season-saving rally against Florida that included two blocked kicks in the final four minutes. Lurking on Nov. 29 is Clemson and the game that could truly salvage something from the season.
Stuck right here in the middle is South Alabama. The Jaguars are 6-4 in the Sun Belt this season, and they are nearly four touchdown underdogs.
It’s a good thing, as Steve Spurrier says, “We don’t believe in overlooking, we don’t believe in any of that kind of stuff.”
It would be a perfect time to overlook someone, and South Alabama fits all the criteria. However, in this season no one expected one odd advantage South Carolina might have this week is how badly it has struggled at times this season. The Gamecocks, despite coming off a win, should not suffer from any overconfidence no matter the opponent.
“We have had some tough losses, but we have had some close wins, too,” Spurrier said. “We are not overlooking this team. This team really gets your attention when you watch them on tape.”
Spurrier clearly has been watching mostly tape of the Jaguars defense. South Alabama is 36th in the country in scoring defense (allowing 23.1 points per game) and 51st in total defense (allowing 380.2 yards per game).
The Jaguars offense is not nearly as imposing to watch. South Alabama is 108th in the nation in scoring (21.3 points per game) and 88th in the nation in total offense (376.9 yards per game). South Alabama is juggling quarterbacks, alternating between senior Brandon Bridge and sophomore Hunter Vaughn. Both quarterbacks can move enough to give the Gamecocks the occasional headache on defense, but, overall the Jaguars provide an excellent opportunity for South Carolina to continue its defensive momentum from the Florida game.
The betting line on the game opened with South Carolina as a 22-point favorite. Through the week, it increased to as high as 25 points in some places. That’s a lot of points for this Gamecocks team even if they aren’t overlooking their opponent.
South Carolina 30, South Alabama 10
Around the SEC:
You know, South Carolina probably ranks pretty highly in the country in “game control” all things considered. If you needed another reason why “game control” is a pretty stupid statistic, here’s an AL.com column about it.
First, let me warn you. This is a basketball story. Second, let me apologize. Third, let me promise this will never happen again. But I love Jeff Van Gundy, and I didn’t know until I read this that Van Gundy hangs around Georgia’s basketball team a lot.
OK, one more basketball story, but only sort of. Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan had some kind words for Will Mushchamp as he heads out the door.