The college football season is set to begin and it is never too early to share picks and insights on the opening week. One of the biggest games for the first day of college football is the game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the South Carolina Gamecocks. They will be just two of the teams across the country gearing up to make a run at the BCS National Championship.
North Carolina vs. South Carolina Odds: The college football week one odds are posted at top-rated sportsbook BetOnline. The current odds* have the Gamecocks listed at (-12). It is no surprise that South Carolina starts the season off as double-digit favorites, but is this number too inflated?
*Odds are subject to change leading up to kick-off, click HERE for the latest point spreads for week one.
That number may not be too big considering that head coach Steve Spurrier has led South Carolina to back-to-back 11 win seasons and he returns 12 starters from a very successful team. One of those returning players is
defensive stand out and Heisman candidate Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney is the country’s most talked about defensive player and will have a realistic chance of being drafted No. 1 in the NFL draft. With Clowney leading the way the Gamecocks finished third nationally in yards allowed in 2011 and 11th last season. Who could forget this hit in the game against Michigan? Certainly not Vincent Smith the running back that was on the receiving end of this devastating blow.
Despite having Clowney on defense, the gamecocks still have some question marks as second-year defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward is replacing all three of his linebackers from last season, as well as free safety D.J. Swearinger, the defense’s most vocal leader and hardest-hitting threat over the middle.
That adjustment could take a few games to take place and that could open the door for the Tar Heels to keep this game close. The Tar Heels return six starters on offense and 7 starters on defense from a team that went 8-4 on the way to the ACC Coastal division regular season championship. Albeit self-proclaimed since due to NCAA sanctions the Tar Heels could not play in the ACC Championship game, the team had a good season to build on. Coach Larry Fedora begins his second season and the offense he installed in season one showed immediate dividends. The hurry-up offense set school records in points (487) and points per game (40.6).
That offense will keep up that pace with the return of senior quarterback Bryn Renner. That offense will be tested against the Gamecock defense, but will be able to score with the defense still adjusting. IN a Thursday night atmosphere both teams will be excited to kick off the season.
The Tar Heels will not be able to pull off the upset, but don’t be surprised when the Tar Heels make this game closer than the experts think.
North Carolina vs. South Carolina Pick Against the Spread: North Carolina +12
North Carolina vs. South Carolina Predictions: South Carolina 20 North Carolina 17
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See the expert picks for this game as they are released.