South Carolina -6 (o/u 53.5) vs Virginia
With in-state rival #2 Clemson on the non-conference schedule, South Carolina had arguable the toughest schedule in the country. The fact the Gamecocks made it to the post season with a record of 7-5 is actually pretty impressive. Unfortunately, 4 of those 5 losses came to ranked teams. Considering the level of competition, it’s not surprising the South Carolina defense looked outmanned. In reality, they only gave up 27.2 PPG, an admirable number. On offense, the Gamecocks help its own, finishing the regular season ranked 66th in total offense with just over 440 YPG. A very effective passing game was led by QB Jake Bentley with 2,953 yards passing with 27 TDs against 12 interceptions.
With the AAC being a little weak as a whole this year, Virginia was able to finish third in the Coastal Division with a record of 7-5. The issue they face coming into this game is a complete loss of momentum after losing 3 of its last 4 games with the three losses coming from within its own division. The offense just never quite jelled, struggling to establish any kind of consistency from one game to the next. They ended up ranked 156th in the nation for total offense with 382.5 YPG. The only real threat on offense came from dual-threat QB Bryce Perkins, who accounted for 3,314 yards of total offense with 22 TDs passing and 9 TDs rushing. The defense was rock solid, especially against the pass where they limited opposing QBs to 180.1 YPG, good enough to be ranked #14 for passing defense.
Prediction: Both of these teams enter this game evenly matched. One would have to be concerned with how poorly Virginia played during the last month of the season. While South Carolina struggled against the best, they actually played very well against teams like Virginia. However, SC needs to pass the ball and that could be a problem. Play under 53.5