It’s an intriguing week for the Gamecocks in the NCAA week 8 Florida at South Carolina free pick. Will Muschamp’s team was the darlings of the college football world last weekend in a 20-17 win at Georgia as +20.5 favorites. There’s always potential for an SC letdown this weekend, especially with the #9 ranked Gators coming to town. Florida is coming off a 28-42 loss at LSU in a game that was winnable at times for UF. The Gators are -5.5 road favorites on Saturday morning, does South Carolina have another huge game in them?
Gators in Tough Back-to-Back Weeks
Dan Mullen’s team is a -5.5 favorite heading into the NCAA week 8 Florida at South Carolina but it’s not easy to play back-to-back SEC road games. This is especially true after traveling to Baton Rouge the week before and also having 5 of the first 7 games of the season be at home, as Florida has done so far.
Nonetheless, the Gators bring their top 25 defense into Columbia on Saturday a week after allowing 511 yards to LSU. Tigers Heisman candidate Joe Burrow picked apart the Gators secondary going 21-24 with 3 TDs. LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire also had 134 yards on the ground – in just 13 carries. It was a far cry from the Gators’ dominating performance the week prior in holding #11 Auburn to just 269 total yards. Once again though, that game was in Gainesville. In their only other road game of the season prior to LSU, The Gators held just a 1-point lead at Kentucky until a Josh Hammond 76-yard run with 33 seconds left. 3-3 Kentucky racked up 407 yards in the 29-21 UF win.
The O/U for Saturday’s game between Florida and South Carolina is 47. It could be argued that the Gators offense was good enough to win vs. LSU after Kyle Trask threw for 310 yards and 3 TD. Trask has thrown multiple TDs in the last four games and is up against a Gamecock secondary that is 98th in the country vs. the pass. Lamical Perine had 107 yards rushing and 2 TD vs. South Carolina last year, but Florida needed two 4th quarter TDs to secure the 35-31 win as -6.5 home favorites.
Can South Carolina Get Up Again This Week?
The Gamecocks own the biggest upset of the college football season thus far after their win over then #3 Georgia on the road as nearly 3 TD underdogs last week. That win was the second in a row for South Carolina, but it also brought their record to just 3-3 on the year. That includes a 20-24 loss at North Carolina as -12.5 favorites, falling to Alabama 23-47, and losing at Missouri 14-34 as +9.5 underdogs.
Looking at the box score it’s really hard to see how SC indeed scored the upset last week. QB Ryan Hilinski threw for just 116 yards and South Carolina had a modest 36 carries for 142 yards on the ground. Georgia racked up 468 yards of total offense in that game – but 3 INTs from quarterback Jake Fromm were absolutely brutal especially as one was returned 53 yards for a score. The Bulldogs also had a fumble lost in that game. Hilinski hasn’t thrown for more than 170 yards in any of the last 3 weeks and South Carolina’s offense as a whole is very mediocre except maybe the running game that is averaging 193.5 ypg. UF is 29th in the country vs. the run and has allowed the 10th fewest ppg in the country.
Can the Gamecocks defense stop the Florida offensive attack? Alabama had 571 total yards vs. South Carolina earlier in the season but were also held to just 76 rushing yards on 25 carries. Florida scored the 4 point win a year ago in Gainesville, but that was also while running through the Gamecocks defense for 367 yards on 62 carries. That was also with dual threat Feleipe Franks at QB though. Does Florida have a bigger advantage with a more conventional offensive attack on Saturday?
NCAA Week 8 Florida at South Carolina Free Pick
The Gators offense is going to be angry on Saturday and they have the talent to absolutely shut down a very underwhelming SC offensive attack. If Georgia doesn’t turn the ball over last week, they might have even covered the -20.5. The Gators would have been a 10-point favorite here if that was the case. If the Gators can hold on to the football, they win this one by double digits.
Pick: Florida Gators -5.5