North Carolina Tar Heels (0-0) at South Carolina Gamecocks (0-0)
|Date & Time||Thursday September 3, 2015, 6:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: South Carolina Gamecocks -3 -- Over/Under: 64
The North Carolina Tar Heels and the South Carolina Gamecocks face off on Thursday in Charlotte as they start their 2015 college football seasons.
The North Carolina may have had some off the field problems over the past several years that have carried themselves onto the field but regardless this team has been a disappointment. For UNC this is a monster game with Delaware and North Carolina AT&T on the schedule they are going to neede very win they can get. Larry Fedora hasn’t been able to deliver a real contender for the Tar Heels since taking over and last season it was the defense that was just awful. Marquise Williams is back at QB for hat could be an explosive UNC offense. North Carolina is fully stocked at receiver with game breaker Ryan Switzer, Mack Collins, and Quinshad Davis. The OL returns five starters Landon Turner, Caleb Peterson, and Jon Heck. Gene Chizik, the former Auburn national Championship winning Head Coach takes over as the Tar Heels defensive coordinator but this group has a long way to go. LB Jeff Shoettmer leads the North Carolina defense along with DE Nazir Jones as the Heels move to a 4-3. In short, North Carolina should score plenty of points but it will still be a challenge to outscore opponents if they can’t stop them.
The South Carolina Gamecocks are coming off of a disappointing 2014 campaign and while they ended the season with a bowl win over Miami and a winning record at 7-6, it was a far cry from the early season expectations. Connor Shaw is gone at QB and red shirt sophomore Connor Mitch looks like he will take over. The clear star of the South Carolina offense is WR Pharoh Cooper who can do it all and score from anywhere on the field but as the opposition attempts to take him away Shaq Roland will be called upon more often. Running back Brandon Wilds always looks dominant when running the football for the Gamecocks but can he stay healthy enough to carry the load in the backfield, if not it will be David Williams who is capable. The SC O-Line returns several starters including Clayton Stadnik, Will Sport, and Brandon Shell. The defense was the real problem last season and they have eight returning starters who will need to take it up a notch. Gerald Dixon Jr. provides senior leadership on the DL and SS T.J. Gurley is the senior in the secondary while junior Skai Moore is in the middle at LB. Steve Spurrier is a former national Champion winning Head Coach and the Gamecocks have a ton of talent but in order to find success they will need more consistency at QB than they had last season and simply better tackling and QB pressure on defense.
South Carolina is 5-1 against the spread in their last six games against ACC opponents and 1-6 against the spread in their last seven September games. North Carolina is 1-4 against the spread in their last five non-conference games, 0-5 against the spread in their last five September games, and 6-1 against the spread in their last seven Thursday games.
This one just has a lot of variables and throw in opening night on a neutral site and it just gets even tougher. I don’t love this game from a betting standpoint but since I am conflicted I always feel better starting with points so my pick is UNC.