By John Macon Gillespie
Ole Miss and South Carolina meet on the gridiron for the 17thtime this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The all-time series between the Rebels and Gamecocks is tied at eight apiece with zero ties, and South Carolina has won the last three meetings dating back to 2008. Ole Miss is fresh off a bye week after knocking off Vanderbilt in Nashville while South Carolina is coming off a 48-3 throttling at the hands of Texas A&M.
Coming into the season (and even in recent weeks), I believed this game would be a tossup. I traveled to Columbia, S.C., last weekend to watch the Gamecocks and Aggies and got my first close look at South Carolina, however, and I now believe Ole Miss has a decided advantage.
The Gamecocks’ defense isn’t anything special, and their offense is anemic, only mustering three points last weekend. Sure, Texas A&M is pretty good, but only scoring three points on your home field is pretty embarrassing. While Ole Miss’ defense is certainly the weakness of Lane Kiffin’s team, the offense has, for the most part, been lights-out this year, and I believe the Rebels should be able to outscore the Gamecocks in bunches this weekend.
Don’t get me wrong: South Carolina will score too. The Rebel defense is too porous not to allow some points, but the Gamecock fans are tired of their head coach in Will Muschamp and have been clamoring for their backup quarterback to see more playing time which spells trouble with a capital T to me. I think this attitude surrounding the program has permeated the locker room in Columbia as well. The Gamecocks had the looks of a team that had quit last week, and I think that will show up again on Saturday.
Overall, I think Ole Miss is the more talented team and has a lot more energy and belief than South Carolina right now. The line is hovering around 11 or 11.5 in favor of the Rebels as I write this, so Vegas and the bettors think Ole Miss has a decent advantage too. I do think that it’s possible for Ole Miss to lose this game, but things would have to go very, very wrong for that to happen. I like the Rebels to win and cover at home.
Prediction: Ole Miss 45, South Carolina 24