Friday, November 14, 2008

Florida vs South Carolina Preview and Prediction


South Carolina at Florida
Line: Florida –23

The Gators have already clinched the East Division, but still have their sights set on a BCS Championship when they take on Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks. Florida is playing as well as anybody in the country right now, but South Carolina has been on a hot steak as well. Spurrier came very close to derailing his alma mater’s national title hopes in 2006 with a blocked FG saving the day.

Keys to the Game:

1. South Carolina’s Rotating QBs

Spurrier has said he will likely rotate QBs Stephen Garcia and Chris Smelley by series and even by play if necessary. He feels the Gamecocks do better with this setup although South Carolina has not done a whole lot on offense all year mostly due to a lack of a running game. I am skeptical of how much cohesion can happen with rotating QBs on the road.

2. Can South Carolina Contain Florida’s Speed?

In other words, can they do what Kentucky, Georgia, and Vanderbilt could not. South Carolina has one of the best if not the best defense in the SEC. Florida’s game is speed on the edges with Demps, Rainey, and Harvin. If the Gamecocks can force the ball into the middle of field, they have a chance.

3. Letdown

I don’t think this will happen with all that Florida has on the line, but it is really hard to play for an extended period at the level Florida has for the past 3 games. Last week, they still had the SEC East to clinch but they will be heavily favored in their final 3 games (incl this one) until meeting Alabama.

Prediction

Last year being an aberration, Spurrier has played more talented Gator teams pretty tough in his first three years at South Carolina. I think Florida takes a small breather here that allows South Carolina to hang around until mid way through the 3rd quarter when the Gators speed breaks out and pulls away, but not by as much as the experts think.


Florida 35 South Carolina 14
South Carolina Covers +23


Last Week: 2-3 ATS, 4-1 SU
Season: 25-16-2 ATS, 28-15 SU

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