Week 3 predictions are here. Let’s take a look at the predictions from last week and who has been the most accurate through 2 weeks.
This week the Commodores take on a fellow 0-2 SEC opponent desperately seeking their first win: South Carolina.
The Gamecocks are coming off of a tight loss against Tennessee (31-27) and a loss to Florida (38-24).
Vanderbilt opened up as an 11 point underdog. That line has shifted out to +13.5 with 70% of the money coming in on South Carolina. A very low over/under of 41.5 with a majority of the money coming in on the under.
Some rain is in the forecast, so we may be in for an 11am kickoff with sloppy conditions. This likely favors the Commodores who have struggled in the passing game thus far, accumulating only 263 yards in 2 games.
South Carolina is 25-4 in the all-time series, and has won 11 in a row with Vanderbilt’s last Victory coming in 2008 under head coach Bobby Johnson. The Commodores will look to break this trend on Saturday.
Let’s jump right into the predictions
I can see this game going 1 of 2 ways. Vanderbilt has a history of underperforming against South Carolina, even when they were the better team. That is shown in the 11 straight losses by the Commodores and an all-time series record of 25-4 in favor of the Gamecocks.
Part of me sees Will Muschamp and company strolling into Nashville and dominating the Dores with a score of 38-10 or something along those lines. The other part of me sees a hard fought and gritty contest between the two 0-2 teams.
Vanderbilt has to shut down Shi Smith. In 2 games he has 22 catches for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the past, shutting down a playmaker on the opposite side of the ball has not been a strength of defensive genius Derek Mason, and the Commodore secondary has struggled to say the least.
Part of shutting down Shi Smith includes improving the tackling dramatically. The Commodores are currently the worst tackling team, ranked 74 out of 74, in all of FBS football. This HAS to improve, otherwise we are in for a long day.
The South Carolina secondary is susceptible, giving up 8.7 yards per attempt, but Freshman QB Ken Seals has only thrown for 263 thus far in his young career. A combination of the possibility of wet weather, an 11am kickoff, and what should be an unusual environment inside of Vanderbilt Stadium give me hope this will be a tight contest.
Hopefully HC Derek Mason and staff can come up with a more creative gameplan this week. I see the Gamecocks scoring a TD on an early drive with ease. The Commodores struggle to move the ball in the first half, and after their initial score South Carolina gets sloppy. The halftime score is 13-3 in favor of the visiting Gamecocks.
The Commodores come out rejuvenated in the 2nd half, but ultimately Shi Smith breaks 1 or 2 big plays and a late score leaves the Commodores trailing by a margin too large to overcome with their current offensive limitations.
With both defenses struggling mightily through the first two weeks, I’m getting shootout vibes in this one. Vandy isn’t necessarily built to win a shootout which is why I’m picking South Carolina. Seals has a field day but the defense cant contain Shi Smith.
Something has to give Saturday with two winless teams going at it. It’s hard to know which Vanderbilt will show up, the one that hung tough with top 10 Texas A&M in the opener, or the one that was run off the field by LSU. South Carolina’s early season has mirrored the Commodores in many ways. The Gamecocks had a great chance to upset Tennessee in their opener before fumbling a punt that sealed the game. They did manage to hang with Florida in the Swamp for a while before the Gators pulled away in the second half. You have to assume the Gamecocks see this as a great chance to get their first win and an opportunity to turn their season around. And why not? South Carolina has inexplicably won the last 11 games in the series. I haven’t seen enough from Vandy to think that streak will end here. As we feared heading into the season, the Commodore offense has been anemic, averaging an SEC worst 260 yards and 8.5 points per game. The season debut of Keyon-Henry Brooks, James Bostic, and Devin Boddie should help, but I fear it won’t be enough. South Carolina’s star receiver Shi Smith could have a career day against a Vanderbilt secondary that looked completely inept against LSU. Unfortunately, the streak goes on…
This is where we are going to see what this young team is made of. Both teams coming in 0-2 on the season, are hungry for their first win. Both teams have struggled in pass protection, and both teams have productive pass rushers on the defensive aside of the ball. The key to the game for Vanderbilt is for Todd Fitch to open up the playbook. Take shots down field. Let Seal’s take command of this offense. Vandy still struggles with tackling and can’t quite find what it takes to win, but we do see some more flashes of Ken Seals raw ability.
South Carolina, for whatever reason, has had Vandy’s number for the last decade. Couple that with the fact that they played Tennessee and Florida tough, I don’t think it looks good for the Commodores this weekend. For Vandy to be competitive, they have to start effectively moving the ball and converting when in the red zone. I think South Carolina covers the spread and wins 27-10. I hope I’m wrong..
Noon kickoffs for Vanderbilt tend to set as an advantage in years past for the Commodores. Both Vanderbilt and the Gamecocks of South Carolina come into this game with an 0-2 record and both will be hungry for a Win trying to avoid an 0-3 start to an already shortened season. The Gamecock defense has really struggled through the first two weeks of the season facing Tennessee and Florida. Will Muschamp also lacks talented and proven weapons on the offensive side of the ball so far this season. If Vanderbilt’s offense can find its identity early and put some early points on the board, the Commodores have a chance to sneak a Win out of this Week 3 matchup. The Commodore defense will have to swarm and tackle much better this Saturday as South Carolina has one of the SEC’s top receivers in Shi Smith. The Gamecocks currently have an 11 game winning streak over the Commodores and haven’t lost since 2008. Will this streak break on Saturday in Nashville? We’ll find out.
The Gamecock offense is legit, they proved that after dropping 24 points on #3 Florida last week. Unfortunately for the Commodores, their defense looked outright awful last week against the LSU Tigers. Though Vandy will comes out looking to avenge last week’s loss, they will fall short.
After a disappointing performance last week, no one on staff here at The Dore Report picked the Commodores to upset the Gamecocks.
Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below or on Twitter @Dore_Report
As always, Anchor Down
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