Vegas does not put lines on games between Division I-A teams and I-AA schools (sorry, as a graduate of a I-AA school I don’t do the ‘Football Championship Subdivision’ thing unless an editor is reading).
But USC coach Steve Spurrier provided a pretty good clue about what he thinks of Wofford this week when he announced tailback Mike Davis and the other players facing one-game suspensions for missing class would sit out next week’s Alabama-Birmingham game. (Defensive end Jordin Lindsey also will miss, btw.)
That USC’s policy allowed the Gamecocks to pick and choose which game the players would sit, rather than being suspended for the first game of the season, is a blog for another day.
But it seems pretty clear Spurrier’s staff views Wofford as more of a threat than the Blazers, who are ranked last among all 119 I-A teams in total defense.
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And why not? The Terriers had the ball at the USC 10-yard line, down by a touchdown with 30 seconds left, before a fourth-down turnover ended their upset hopes in 2006.
No doubt, Mike Ayers’ triple option will cause the Gamecocks some problems, as it did two years ago. While USC’s front seven is bigger and stronger than the ’06 group, the Gamecocks have to stick with their assignments to avoid choking on the flexbone.
Offensively, look for a big game from USC quarterback Chris Smelley. If Smelley gets the protection he received against Georgia, the right-hander should shred a pass defense that ranks last in the Southern Conference, giving up 300 yards a game.
I’m expecting Smelley to spread the ball around to a bunch of different receivers, then sit down and let Stephen Garcia play the entire fourth quarter.
USC will not need a late defensive stand this year.
Prediction: USC 38, Wofford 13.