College Football Preview & Picks

The week all CFB fans have been anticipating has finally arrived! One of the biggest games of the week features our own South Carolina Gamecocks in a neutral field (Charlotte) taking on the North Carolina Tarheels. SI reports that their computer model gives UNC a 57% chance of winning. My question is what did you feed that computer?

We haven't seen one play this year nor have we seen any of the high impact freshmen/ transfers working with their new teammates. The best coaches, and athletes don't equal wins as underdogs prove every week. A lot of the wins come from how teammates gel.

However if I was making my prediction off better recruiting USC topped UNC 16-30. Gamecocks feature a 5 star in Nycholas Harbor (only 17 teams landed one) but 11 4 stars to their 6.

Looking at last year both were horrible on defense but the Gamecocks were better. Ranked 89th on total D to their 116th. UNC ended their season on a downward spiral on D being shredded by NC State for over 600 yards, Clemson for over 700 yards, and Oregon for over 600 yards.

Offense, North Carolina was the big winner being ranked 19th to the Gamecocks 72nd. But the Gamecocks basically switched offensive philosophy after the humiliating loss to Florida and finished the season against Notre Dame with over 600 yards, Clemson with almost 800 yards and the massive breakout against TN with 1059 yards! The last 3 games Gamecocks averaged 6.3 YPG against the best teams they played. UNC averaged 4.3.

The Gamecocks also feature what many consider to be the best special teams coach and unit in the country. They have one of the top punters in Kai Kroeger who has just about the longest average per punt at over 46 yards but also the rare ability to place kicks inside the 10 yard line. Their FG kicker was perfect last year as Mitch Jeter hit every shot he was asked to take including a couple from 50 yards plus!

The over/under line is 64.5 points and the Tarheels are 2.5 point favorites. Meaning Vegas is calling for a close high scoring affair. I'm taking the Gamecocks to cover and to actually win this game because I believe in Shane Beamer and his in game management. Mack Brown has been an amazing coach with 2 national titles at Texas (05 & 09) But he isn't that guy anymore. His last 4 years at Texas he was 30-21. He coached at Texas for 16 years and about half his total losses came during his last 4 which is the 4 years after he won the championship. in his 4 years back at UNC he's 30-22. From 1996-2009 he was elite. 2010 on he's above average. Shane Beamer is entering his third season and taken a team that has been in disarray since the 2013 season and turned it around. Basically took the same players that Will Muschamp had in 2020 which won 2 games and won 7 the next season. Recruiting is the lifeblood of a program and he landed a top 20 class this year. We ended 2022 ranked 19th and everything is pointing towards improvement. OC Dowell Loggains said the other day "Spencer Rattler's going to have a special year if he plays like he's been practicing the last 2 weeks".

It's all coming together now and I'm looking for a 38-35 type of game Saturday night on ABC!

Duke's Mayo Bowl - North Carolina v South Carolina

Photo: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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