South Carolina football: Predicting the game against Florida

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina football team closes the 2017 season with three straight games at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Up first is the final SEC game of the season: South Carolina-Florida will be televised by CBS on Saturday at noon ET.

Here are the predictions from SEC Country contributors Mike Chapman and Hale McGranahan:

Mike Chapman:  South Carolina 35, Florida 14

One thing South Carolina has not done this season is lose two games in a row, and I don’t see that happening Saturday.

Florida looks like a team that’s ready to throw in the towel. If South Carolina can strike early and often, the white flag will be out for Florida by halftime.

The one problem the Gamecocks have had this season is starting fast, so if they let the Gators hang around early, this could be a competitive game heading into the fourth quarter.  South Carolina should be able to win, no matter how it starts, but I am sure the fan base would like to see a blowout early, to alleviate doubt.

South Carolina offensive coordinator Kurt Roper should have a well-scripted opening drive ready for Jake Bentley and the rest of the South Carolina offense. Hayden Hurst and Bryan Edwards will be big factors. Look for both of them to score.

The Gamecocks defense should have the advantage against an offense that’s missing a lot of players at key positions and has struggled to score points the last two weeks. The most important thing to watch is who ends the day with more tackles. Skai Moore and T.J. Brunson continue to battle for the team lead.

South Carolina beats Florida, 35-14, closing out its conference record at 5-3, and starting off what most Gamecocks fans hope to be a 3-0 homestand to close the season.

RELATED: Sound Off | The offensive coordinator debate

South Carolina football
It could be tough sledding for A.J. Turner and the South Carolina running backs against Florida’s run defense. (Scott Cunningham/SEC Country)

Hale McGranahan:  South Carolina 28, Florida 14

To me, this game will kind of look like last weekend’s trip to Athens did, but in vice versa. It will be close for about three quarters before South Carolina pulls away in the fourth quarter.

My buddy, Ben Breiner, who works for The State, called it a crockpot game. It’s a long, slow cook, but once it’s all said and done, there’s going to be a mess on the field. This week’s menu: Gator stew.

Sure, Florida has lost its last two games by a combine total of 64 points. And South Carolina should roll with a win over Florida. The Gamecocks will cover the 7-point spread, so that counts as a roll, right?

If you took South Carolina to cover last week, as Mike and I suggested, then you did well. Do it again, take the Gamecocks this weekend, because Florida is struggling.

The Gators don’t have an interim coach. They’re missing too many good players. The quarterbacks are still battling for the starting job and that’s gotten a ugly at times, allegedly.

This adds up to a South Carolina victory.

The post South Carolina football: Predicting the game against Florida appeared first on SEC Country.

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