SEC Predictions Week 2: Picking Games Against the Spread

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Sep 3, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Connor Mitch (6) hands the ball off to running back Brandon Wilds (22) during the second quarter against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

  • Date: Saturday September 12, 2014
  • Time: 5:30PM Eastern
  • Location: Columbia, SC
  • TV Channel: SEC Network
  • Spread: South Carolina -7.5
  • Over/Under Total: 55.5

South Carolina kicked off the 2015 college football season with a 17-13 victory over North Carolina, but we really didn’t learn very much about the Gamecocks in Week 1.

On offense, starting quarterback Connor Mitch was okay – he completed nine of 22 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown without an interception – but he certainly wasn’t spectacular. Running backs Brandon Wilds, David Williams and Shon Carson were productive – particularly Carson, who raced 48 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter – and we already knew that Pharoh Cooper is one of the most diverse weapons in college football this year (25 receiving yards, 20 rushing yards, -6 passing yards).

Defensively, the Gamecocks surrendered 440 yards of offense, which was actually slightly more than last year’s terrible unit averaged, but linebacker Skai Moore saved the day by picking off two passes in the end zone and South Carolina actually showed the makings of a decent pass rush with four sacks.

By playing Thursday night, the Gamecocks have had a couple of extra days to prepare for the SEC opener against Kentucky, and South Carolina surely wants revenge. Last season, UK beat South Carolina 45-38 in Lexington.

The Wildcats, who held on for a 40-33 victory in Week 1 over Louisiana-Lafayette, are seeking the first road victory of the Mark Stoops era. They certainly have the talent to pull off the upset, particularly on offense. Last week, UK gained 435 yards of offense. The defense allowed 479 yards, but forced four turnovers.

Stoops has closed the talent gap between his squad and the Gamecocks, but because the game will be played in Williams-Brice Stadium, and Stoops’ team hasn’t yet figured out how to win on the road, South Carolina appears likely to win. However, the Wildcats should keep it close.

Next: LSU at Mississippi State