South Carolina Gamecocks (3-9) at Vanderbilt Commodores (4-8)
|Date & Time||Thursday September 1, 2016, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Vanderbilt Commodores -3.5-- Over/Under: 42.5
The Vanderbilt Commodores and the South Carolina Gamecocks face off on Thursday in a college football opening night SEC battle.
It’s been a rough stretch for the Vanderbilt Commodores and they are hoping to have a turnaround season. QB has been a major issue for Vandy and it looks like it will be Kyle Shurmer who started five of the last six games last season. Running back Ralph Webb is Vanderbilt’s best offensive player gaining over 1,000 yards last year. Receiver has been another issue for the Commodores and Trent Sherfield and C.J. Duncan look to improve on that situation but a lot of their productivity will depend on QB play. The Vanderbilt defense doesn’t return much up front but their best player from last year, All SEC linebacker Zach Cunningham, is back to lead the defense. Cornerback looks to be a strength for the Vanderbilt defense with Torren McGaster and Tre Herndon leading a deep unit. Derek Mason hasn’t had a lot to work with during his tenure as Vanderbilt head coach but he is thinking this year’s team should be much better than what he fielded last season.
The South Carolina Gamecocks are looking to turn things around this season and head coach Will Muschamp is also hoping that this opportunity works at better than his first at Florida. The starting QB battle has been fierce for the Gamecocks but all indications are that freshman Brandon McIlwain will get the nod over senior Perry Orth. South Carolina freshman running back A.J. Turner also looks like he will be getting the bulk of the carries along with David Williams. South Carolina will need someone to step at wide receiver and Deebo Samuel is a burner but tight ends Hayden Hurst and Kevin Crosby should see plenty of targets. The South Carolina defense disappeared last year and only Skai Moore, their leading tackler returns. South Carolina was one of the worst teams in the nation rushing the passer the secondary looks to be a major concern as well. South Carolina needs to rebuild and I am not sure they have the roster to make a giant step forward this season.
Vanderbilt is 5-2 against the spread in their last seven home games, 13-6 against the spread in their last 19 SEC games, and 5-2 against the spread in Thursday games. South Carolina is 3-8 against the spread in September and 5-2 against the spread in Thursday games. The home team has covered the point spread in four of the last five meetings of these two teams.
This is a lousy game for an opening night ESPN game but I will take Vandy and it is a lean at best.