Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE
South Carolina appears to have a statistical advantage against the Vols this weekend, but it's not exactly what you might think, and it should actually be a good, close game.
A weekly look at our upcoming opponent's recent history, with animated drive charts, links to SB Nation game pages, and statistical comparisons. Caveats. The sketchy conclusions and predictions are at the end, so skip ahead if you like.
Schedule and Animated Drive Charts
|@ Vanderbilt Commodores||8/30/12||win 17 - 13||coverage|
|East Carolina Pirates||9/8/12||win 48 - 10||coverage|
|UAB Blazers||9/15/12||win 49 - 6||coverage|
|Missouri Tigers||9/22/12||win 31 - 10||coverage|
|@ Kentucky Wildcats||9/29/12||win 38 - 17||coverage|
|Georgia Bulldogs||10/6/12||win 35 - 7||coverage|
|@ LSU Tigers||10/13/12||loss 21 - 23||coverage|
|@ Florida Gators||10/20/12||loss 11 - 44||coverage|
|@ N.C. State Wolfpack||8/31/12||win 35 - 21||coverage|
|Georgia State Panthers||9/8/12||win 51 - 13||coverage|
|Florida Gators||9/15/12||loss 20 - 37||coverage|
|Akron Zips||9/22/12||win 47 - 26||coverage|
|@ Georgia Bulldogs||9/29/12||loss 44 - 51||coverage|
|@ Mississippi St. Bulldogs||10/13/12||loss 31 - 41||coverage|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||10/20/12||loss 13 - 44||coverage|
According to the NCAA's "Toughest Schedule" PDF, Tennessee's schedule is now tied for 4th, and South Carolina's is 40th. Apart from the Georgia game, the Gamecocks have not really been all that impressive. LSU and Florida are very, very good teams, though, and Georgia's pretty good, so this is a dangerous team. Note, too, that Georgia was at home, and the losses to LSU and the Gators, as well as the squeaker against Vandy, were on the road. This one's at home. Of course.
Here are the drive charts from the Gamecocks' games against our two common opponents:
FULL SCREEN VERSION
Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.
Thumper against the Bulldogs, Thumpee against the Gators. But look at that short field they gave Florida. They didn't really give up that many long drives. Cordarrelle, are you listening?
National Unit Rankings
|Rushing Offense||81||144.88||Army||389.14||10||Texas A&M||221.29|
|Total Offense||95||354.88||Oklahoma St.||605.33||10||Texas A&M||524.57|
|Scoring Offense||50||31.25||Louisiana Tech||56.14||7||Texas A&M||43.00|
|Sacks Allowed||102||2.75||Air Force||.00||12||Tennessee||.43|
Offensive observations. Wow. Raise your hand if you thought South Carolina would be 81st in Rushing Offense with Marcus Lattimore playing. Yeah, he was limited against Florida, but one game doesn't equal 81, I don't think. And the rest of the offense . . . not what I expected. Lattimore is expected to start against the Vols this Saturday. Of course.
|Pass Efficiency Defense||20||109.70||Alabama||83.11||6||Alabama||83.11|
|Pass Defense||15||175.88||Arizona St.||130.43||4||Alabama||136.86|
|Tackles For Loss||7||8.00||Arizona St.||9.43||3||Missouri||8.43|
Defensive observations. Here's where the Gamecocks are tough. Balanced against both the run and the pass, and 9th in Total Defense because of it. Their awesome sack machine and backfield disruptor will be going against our brick wall and turrets. That should be fun to watch. Let's hope, anyway.
|SPECIAL TEAMS AND TURNOVERS RANKINGS|
|Punt Returns||14||14.18||Kansas St.||26.25||3||Missouri||20.53|
|Turnover Margin||73||-.25||Mississippi St.||2.43||8||Mississippi St.||2.43|
Special teams and turnovers observations. Mixed bag here. The main thing to watch is punt returns.
Players to Watch
|Passing Efficiency (Min. 15 Att./Game)||Connor Shaw||28||147.02|
|Total Offense||Connor Shaw||88||180.00|
|Receptions Per Game||Marcus Lattimore||3.00|
|Receiving Yards Per Game||Damiere Byrd||37.88|
Offensive Observations. Again, I'm quite surprised that Lattimore isn't ranked higher despite missing most of the Florida game. QB Connor Shaw is efficient, but not particularly spectacular. Note that Lattimore leads the team in receptions, so watch for dump offs, screens, and wheel routes.
|Tackles For Loss||Jadeveon Clowney||T-10||1.75|
|Punting (Min. 3.6 Punts/Game)||Tyler Hull||81||38.59|
|Punt Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game)||Ace Sanders||10||15.70|
|Kickoff Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game)|
|Field Goals||Adam Yates||T-83||.75|
|All-Purpose Runners||Marcus Lattimore||95.25|
Special teams. Oh, yes. Punt Returns is attributable to that Ace Sanders guy. Let's not kick to him.
Head to Head Comparisons
Result Against Comps
|UT rush v. South Carolina rush defense||168.43
|UT pass v. South Carolina pass defense||285.29
|South Carolina rush v. UT rush defense||186.43
|South Carolina pass v. UT pass defense||258.86
|UT scoring offense v. South Carolina scoring defense||34.43
|South Carolina scoring offense v. UT scoring defense||33.29
|Again with the caveats: These are informed guesses rather than mathematical calculations. But here's the general analytical framework: We are averaging X in a certain category. The opponent averages Y against that, which is most closely comparable to some identified previous opponent, against whom we did Z. All of that leads to an informed guess labeled as Prediction. And one more time for emphasis: The less data you have, the more sketchy the guess, and the guesses range from ALL CAPS SKETCHY WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS at the beginning of the season to merely lower case sketchy for the last game. We're currently somewhere in the middle.|
Semi-Serious but Sketchy Conclusions
- The Gamecocks have been a bit inconsistent, thumping Georgia and getting thumped at Florida. It may be related to whether they're playing at home or on the road and whether they have Marcus Lattimore in the starting lineup. They're at home and will have Marcus Lattimore in the starting lineup this weekend. Of course.
- Surprise! South Carolina's offense is not what you expected. Rushing Offense, Passing Offense, and Total Offense are all ranked 81st or below in the nation. They do score better than that, but still.
- As always, however, they are solid on defense.
- The matchup to watch is disruptor defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (ranked 18th in the nation in sacks and 10th in tackles for loss) against a Tennessee offensive line and QB that ranks 2nd in sacks allowed and 14th in tackles for loss allowed.
- Memo to punting unit: Kicking to Ace Sanders is hazardous to my health.
- This could be a very good game and actually should be fairly close, although South Carolina appears to have the advantage.
- South Carolina 33, Tennessee 27