CFN: South Carolina - FAU Analysis

College Football News, an affiliate of, takes a look at this weekend's match up between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Florida Atlantic Owls.

Florida Atlantic (0-3) at South Carolina (2-1) 7 pm EST GamePlan Saturday, Sept. 23

Why to watch: Either South Carolina is still trying to find its way through the first part of the season as it's inexperienced defense and shaky offense gets some experience, or this team just isn't all that good. It's probably a little of both. If USC is going to turn a corner and start playing like a real, live SEC player, it needs to throttle a Florida Atlantic team that's in a dead-heat with Temple to be the nation's worst team. The Owls are on the fourth of a five game road streak to open up the season, and it needs to find something to hang its hat on before diving into Sun Belt play at UL Monroe. The Gamecocks have to patch up the leaks in a big, big hurry with Auburn up next week.

Why Florida Atlantic might win: You don't come this close to losing to Wofford if you don't have major problems. South Carolina escaped the embarrassment with a 27-20 win last week after its run defense got ripped apart for 290 yards by the funky Terrier wingbone attack. This is still a Gamecock team trying to figure out who's starting in several spots after making wholesale changes last week, especially on the offensive line. Florida Atlantic has to take advantage of every opportunity and it must play sharp. South Carolina is hardly going to be at its best.

Why South Carolina might win: Florida Atlantic is awful. The offense can't move the ball and the defense is dead-last in the nation in scoring getting outgunned 147 to 14 in the first three games. Getting whacked around by Clemson is acceptable, getting pummeled by Kansas State and Oklahoma State isn't. The biggest problem is with an offensive line that's getting nothing going for the running game and can't protect the quarterback with 12 sacks allowed so far. For all the team's problems, the South Carolina defense has been able to generate pressure.

Who to watch: And the South Carolina quarterback is ... still up in the air. Steve Spurrier is looking for someone to grow into a steady playmaker for the offense, so he'll try out two quarterbacks to see who gets hotter. Syvelle Newton moved from receiver back to his former quarterback spot last week and completed an efficient 12 of 18 passes for 196 yards with an interception, but his real worth is as a runner. Former starter Blake Mitchell is back in the mix after being suspended for his involvement in a bar fight and will rotate with Newton.

What will happen: South Carolina will still have problems finding its groove, but it'll still win in a walk.

CFN Prediction: South Carolina 40 ... Florida Atlantic 7

Line: South Carolina -30

Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ... 1.5

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