South Carolina football fans exit the off week on the concerned side, their team likely needing one more SEC win to at least reach a bowl game. Tennessee comes to Williams-Brice Stadium two weeks removed from a big upset of Auburn, the first SEC win of the Jeremy Pruitt era, albeit a bad loss to Alabama brought things back down to earth a little.
But despite the relative moods on each side, the Gamecocks will be favored Saturday, and by a comfortable margin.
Will Muschamp’s squad has mostly had tight spreads this season in SEC play. After being a nine-point underdog against Georgia, USC’s past four games haven’t seen one team favored by more than 2 1/2.
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The Gamecocks are 3-3 against the spread, covering in wins and failing to cover in losses. Tennessee is 2-4, covering a large spread against Georgia and winning as a 15 1/2-point underdog against Auburn.
Muschamp’s South Carolina teams are 2-0 against Tennessee and 2-0 coming out of the bye week.
The game Saturday will mean a lot for the Gamecocks’ bowl prospects. A win means USC should have a clear route to the postseason, with an FCS game and likely a rescheduled game against a mid-major on the docket as wins five and six. If the Vols win, USC will need to win on the road at Ole Miss or upset Florida or Clemson to secure the path to six victories.