Media Predictions: USC-Tennessee
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-Tennessee game playing out? Find out here.
David Cloninger, GamecockCentral: It seems like it actually may be safe to present a very comfortable USC win, and even in a conference game. While the Gamecocks have made a habit of playing to their opponents, I don't believe that will be the case this week. There is simply too much talent on one side of the ball and too less on the other. Normally, I don't criticize USC if it wins, by one point or by 20, but in this case, I may have to. If the Gamecocks don't win this one by 21 points or more, there needs to be some finger-pointing afterward. USC 35, Tennessee 10.
James Harley, The Side Line: Tennessee's two wins came against Division I-AA Tennessee-Martin and the UAB Blazers, the latter in overtime. Meanwhile, in five losses the Volunteers have averaged being beaten by just over three touchdowns. This traditional powerhouse now ranks 94th in the nation in scoring, 91st in rushing yardage, and 74th in passing. This is not the sign of a down year, as Phil Fulmer would occasionally have, this is the sign of a bad team and a program that has fallen apart. Look for the Gamecocks to roll this week. USC 35, Tennessee 17.
Scott Hood, GamecockCentral.com: The USC-Tennessee rivalry has slowly turned in favor of the Gamecocks over the last five years and with Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery around, the USC offense should have their way against the Tennessee defense in this one. On the opposite side of the ball, Tennessee hasn't scored more than 17 points against an SEC defense in four games. USC 34, Tennessee 13.
Will King, 107.5 The Game: South Carolina fans go into this game thinking run-run-run now that Marcus Lattimore is expected back. However, I believe South Carolina takes down Tennessee through the air. Tennessee is terrible in the secondary and has virtually no depth. Carolina will get out to an early lead and hold that lead throughout the rest of the game. They'll take care of leg one of the race to the SEC East. Next week will be the tough one. USC 34, Tennessee 10.
Phil Kornblut, SC Radio Network: The SEC East title boils down to a three-game season for the Gamecocks beginning with Saturday's game against Tennessee. Win out and the Gamecocks will play for the SEC Championship in Atlanta without needing help. So, we'll see how the Gamecocks react to the position of front runner as they hit the home stretch. They will get off on the right foot against a Vols team that resembles its predecessors only by the big orange T on the helmet. The Vols have struggled on offense all season and remain unsettled at quarterback. They are 10th in the SEC in offense. Making matters worse, they are last in the league in defense. Those numbers bode well for a Gamecock team coming off a near 500-yard performance in the win over Vanderbit. Scoring won't be a problem for Stephen Garcia and company and the Gamecocks will roll to a victory. USC 35, Tennessee 17.
Kevin McCrarey, SC Radio Network: Hard to believe a decade ago Tennessee was an SEC and national championship contender. Now the Vols are the bottom feeder of the Eastern division. I expect UT to be fired up for this game, the Vols always get up for a Steve Spurrier coached team. It will probably be close for a couple of quarters before the Gamecocks superior talent wears down the Vols. USC 38, Tennessee 20.
Roger Olivieri, GamecockCentral: If I'm the Gamecocks, this game scares the hell out of me. Everyone, including Vegas, is expecting the Cocks to wallop the Vols. A team who has shown very small flashes here and there, Tennessee could surprise someone soon. I'll take the Gamecocks in Columbia, but not by the amount Vegas is expecting. USC 27, Tennessee 17.
Alex Riley, Waxahachie Newpapers: Tennessee is down but Carolina isn't exactly soaring right now. A squeaker against Vandy last week was another wakeup call and the Gamecocks will respond. USC will take a big lead over Tennessee in the third quarter (say 27-3) and give up a pair of late touchdowns. In the end, Carolina gets bowl eligible and remains atop the SEC East standings. USC 27, Tennessee 17
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