CFN: South Carolina - Vanderbilt Analysis
South Carolina (4-2) at Vanderbilt (3-4) 3:00 PM EST Saturday October 21st
Why to Watch: Vanderbilt appeared to be on its way to yet another Vanderbilt season after a loss to Ole Miss, and then it pulled off a stunning, thrilling 24-22 win at Georgia to fuel bowl hopes. With winnable games ahead against Duke and Kentucky, and likely losses against Florida and Tennessee, this might be the swing game for a possible post-season berth. South Carolina, who has won five straight over the Commodores, had a week off after a shaky performance in a 24-17 win over Kentucky. This hasn't looked like a good enough team to beat the big boys, so this is a must win for bowl hopes with Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida and Clemson still to play, along with a layup against Middle Tennessee.
Why South Carolina Might Win: South Carolina should have a big advantage in field position thanks to the punting game, Vandy can kick, but it can't return with Alex Washington and Earl Bennett having no room to move. The Gamecock punting has been tremendous ranking second in the nation with Ryan Succop bombing away. Also expect the underrated USC defense to keep Vandy to under 20 points. The Commodores aren't sharp enough throwing the ball to be any threat to push the ball deep. However...
Why Vanderbilt Might Win: Vanderbilt's defense has been fantastic. Michigan got 27, Arkansas got 21, and Georgia got 22, with seven being generated by the Bulldog D. South Carolina has had to get tricky to make things happen, so if the Commodores can avoid giving up the big play, and sniff out some of Steve Spurrier's quirky play calls, the D should keep the Gamecocks in check.
Who to Watch: The Vanderbilt offensive line has had to undergo an overhaul after the loss of starting tackle Brian Stamper to back surgery and starting guard Josh Eames to an ankle injury. There's no replacing Stamper, who was on his way to an All-SEC season before going down, but Elliot Hood will give it a try at right tackle. Helping things out might be a bigger role for Mac Pyle, who is still having problems with a knee injury. The front five didn't allow a sack to Georgia's great line, but it might not be able to give QB Chris Nickson the same time he got last week.
What Will Happen: Don't expect many points. South Carolina will dink and dunk all game long, while the defense will generate the most pressure Chris Nickson has faced all year long.
CFN Prediction: South Carolina 20 ... Vanderbilt 14
Line: South Carolina -3.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Knights of Prosperity) ... 2.5
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