Media Predictions: USC-Arkansas

Each week this season, a panel of media members will make their predictions for South Carolina's upcoming game. How does the panel see today's South Carolina-Arkansas game playing out? Find out here.
David Cloninger, GamecockCentral: A bad week to get better. South Carolina has been lacking in pass defense, Arkansas lives on the pass and is very, very good at doing it. With both teams not sporting much in the way of the other's strength (USC can't defend the pass, the Razorbacks aren't very good at stopping the run), this game turns into a shootout. USC has never been the kind of team that has won those kinds of games, and with this game meaning nothing but a small, small checkpoint on the team's list of goals, it's under no pressure to today. Not to say the Gamecocks will mail this one in, but they know, as should everybody else, this game is a small fish with the bigger one waiting next week. Arkansas 42, USC 35
James Harley, The Side Line: The home field is an advantage in a game of evenly matched teams, but the real difference this week will be in the motivation to earn a bigger prize. USC still has that, Arkansas does not. USC 34, Arkansas 27
Scott Hood, The Gamecocks will control the ball with Marcus Lattimore getting 30-plus carries and 150-plus yards rushing. They keep the explosive Arkansas offense off the field. The secondary plays well enough to limit Ryan Mallett, who typically doesn't play as well on the road. USC 37, Arkansas 24
Will King, 107.5 The Game: It will be a high scoring game, against a talented offense, but the Gamecocks have been perfect at home this year. Like most Carolina fans, I'm concerned still about the secondary, especially with the loss of Chris Culliver. Carolina has one good stop in their defense, no doubt about that. That stop will win the game. USC 38, Arkansas 31
Phil Kornblut, SC Radio Network: Despite wins in their last two games, the Gamecocks have not played really good football since the first half of the Kentucky game. Now, against Arkansas, would be a good time for the Gamecocks to turn in that "complete" performance. Arkansas has a hot offense led by quarterback Ryan Mallett. But he was rattled late in losses at home against Alabama and on the road against Auburn. Look for the Gamecocks to unleash a furious rush on Mallett. If they can't sack him, they can at least make him uncomfortable in the pocket. Plus, he'll be without his top receiver who's down with an injury. I would expect the Gamecocks to lean heavily on Marcus Lattimore. This could be a 35-40 carry game for Lattimore. Arkansas yields 163 rushing yards per game. By successfully attacking the Razorbacks on the ground, the Gamecocks will keep Mallett on the sideline. Mix in a few big plays from Stephen Garcia to his talented receivers, and you've got a Gamecock victory. USC 31, Arkansas 24
Kevin McCrarey, SC Radio Network: Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is licking his chops for this one. Mallett is coming off a career day against Vandy last week and the Gamecock secondary has made most every quarterback they've faced look like a future NFL QB. The difference this week is Mallett is truly a future NFL QB. First one to 35 wins. Arkansas 38, USC 31
Roger Olivieri, GamecockCentral: The good news: I've been wrong a lot this year (let's hope that trend continues). The bad news: Ryan Mallet is no joke and the USC secondary has been prone to the big play. While George Rogers, I mean Marus Lattimore, piles up yards again, Mallet will do the same. In a fun game to watch if you like offensive battles, the Razorbacks will squeak out a wild shootout. Arkansas 41, USC 38
Alex Riley, Waxahachie Newpapers: Can it happen? Can Carolina really win the SEC East? Saturday will be the testing point. If the Gamecocks win, the East could be theirs (granted Florida loses to Vandy) but if the Gamecocks really want to prove they belong in that championship conversation they must win on Saturday. USC 24, Arkansas 21
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