South Carolina Gamecocks Vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Free Pick 8/29/13
2013-08-29 05:00:00 EDT
The South Carolina Gamecocks and the North Carolina Tar Heels open their 2013 college football season on Thursday Night under the lights in Columbia.
The expectations are pretty high for the South Carolina Gamecocks this season and while for many SC backers that’s a nice thing; for Head Coach Steve Spurrier he has his own set of expectations. Connor Shaw is back at QB for his senior season and he has plenty of experience under his belt and he is a dual threat as he ran for 435 yards and threw for nearly 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns a season ago. Mike Davis looks to be the starter at running back after playing in 12 games last season and averaging 5.3 yards per carry in limited action though it may be closer to a committee situation. Bruce Ellington is now the number one wide out but last season working with the now departed Ace Sanders the Gamecocks had some balance and to keep that going someone is going to need to step up with one likely candidate being Damiere Byrd though look for Shaw to go to tight end Rory Anderson often as he is one of the better TE’s in the country. For South Carolina it really is about the defense and they have perhaps the best defensive player in the nation with Jedeveon Clowney. Clowney can bring the heat and he has been unblockable at times but the South Carolina defense doesn’t end there. Chaz Sutton has been banged up but he should be good to go, Jimmy Legree is another in the long line of Gamecock corners, and Brison Williams is more than just game tested at safety. The Gamecocks hit the regular season ranked anywhere form sixth to eighth in the nation but now the will need to prove it on the field as they don’t draw an easy first part of their schedule with this game followed by Georgia next week.
Larry Fedora enters year two as head Coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels and he has plenty to work with to make another winning run at the season. QB Bryn Renner can get it done coming off of a season where he threw for 28 touchdowns completing over 65 percent of his passes. With Giovani Bernard gone UNC gives the ball to Romar Morris who averaged 5.6 yards per carry last season and A.J. Blue who averaged 5.3 yards per carry and scored nine touchdowns a year ago. The Tar Heels are young but not inexperienced at wide receiver as last year’s leader with 61 catches, Quinshad Davis is back as is Sean Tarpley and freshman Ryan Switzer is turning heads in the return game. Last year’s leading tackler, safety Tre Boston is back as is corner Tim Scott and linebacker Travis Hughes. Kareem Matin can get after the passer and Shown Underwood can plug up the middle and linebacker Jeff Schoettmer has a big motor. Fedora was a winner at Southern Miss with a lot less and the pieces he was left are left over from one of the best recruiters and evaluators of hidden talent of all time, Butch Davis.
South Carolina is 7-2 against the spread in their last nine home games, 5-1 against the spread against the ACC, and 5-2 against the spread in their last seven non-conference games. North Carolina is 4-0 against the spread in their last four Thursday games and 1-5 against the spread in their last six road games.
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Look for the offenses to have some rust against two pretty good defenses and for this one to stay under the total and that is my free pick. My stronger play is on which team will cover the spread and I will post the winning team in the Premium Area.