The last two weeks have been long for South Carolina football.
The taste of a blowout loss in a hyped game to Georgia wasn’t washed away by the game against Marshall, which itself was washed away by a storm. The best thing the Gamecocks got was getting ahead on planning for Vandy, and some intense practices, though defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw will tell you, practice “ain’t nothing like a game.”
This game carries a weight of catharsis, a chance to get back on the winning track and get this team more toward the pretty good squad most expected in the preseason.
Vanderbilt is … well we just don’t know. It was good enough to take care of a pair of inconsistent mid-majors. It was good enough to make Notre Dame, another team whose quality is unclear, sweat it out late.
Is that a sign of quality, or the kind of early-season mirage we see from college football teams from time to time?
In either case, South Carolina needs this. If this is the team it and its fans think it can be, it doesn’t stumble against Vandy, even on the road, even if Vandy is stronger than most think.
The Commodores aren’t a team that gives up style points easily (except to Alabama), but the Gamecocks possess the ability to put them up. After a solid debut and disappointing showing against the Bulldogs, expect South Carolina to come out ready to live up to that offensive potential.
South Carolina 34, Vanderbilt 17