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South Carolina is a seven-point favorite over Tennessee . . . BUT, BUT, BUT

The oddsmakers like the Gamecocks over the Vols by a touchdown this week. Here's why they're wrong.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina opened up as an eight-point favorite over Tennessee this weekend in Columbia (it has moved to seven since then.) . . . BUT after looking at it more closely, I honestly think that line is off and that this game could easily go either way.

It is well documented that Tennessee's rushing offense in 2014 leaves a lot to be desired. . . . BUT South Carolina's rushing defense isn't very good, either. They're currently giving up over 200 yards per game on the ground. Nobody that we've played so far this season in the FBS ranks lower. And we're coming off a game against Alabama, which was holding opponents to 78.1 rushing yards per game, and we put up 181 against them. So the Vols may not be anywhere near where they want to be on the ground yet, but this isn't a bad matchup for us, all things considered. I won't be surprised if the Vols are able to breach the 200 mark this week.

Ditto Tennessee's scoring offense. We know well the pain of not being able to put points on the board, what with final totals of nine against Florida, three against Ole Miss, and 10 against Oklahoma. . . . BUT, South Carolina has proven to be quite generous to opponents in this category so far this season. As with Rushing Defense, nobody that we've played in the FBS ranks lower than the Gamecocks and the closest higher-ranking team is not really even close. And again, we just hit 20 (and left some on the table) against Alabama, a team at the other end of the spectrum that was only giving up 14 per game. If we can get 20 against the Tide, how many can we get against a team giving up 33 per game? It sounds ridiculous, but I won't be shocked to see something approaching 40.

With the exception of their ability to defend the pass -- where the Vols are a Top 25 team and may have a slight advantage over South Carolina -- Tennessee is merely average everywhere else. . . . BUT the Gamecocks are merely average everywhere else as well. Our average passing offense goes up against their average passing defense. Their average rushing offense goes up against our average rushing defense. Their ability to put points on the board collides with our ability to keep that from happening.

To me, a seven- or eight-point spread in this game is off the mark. It looks much more like an even game to me when you look at the two teams' respective 2014 resumes to date. And when you consider the difference between the Vols' 2014 resume and the short section of it that includes Josh Dobbs' legs, well, I'm picking the Vols to win, 38-34.

Tennessee Logo South Carolina Logo Comps Result against Comps Guess
Closest Lower Closest Higher Alabama Closest Lower Closest Higher Alabama
Team Team Team Team
Rank Value Rank Value Rank Value Rank Value Rank Value
Tennessee rushing offense vs. South Carolina rushing defense 113 104.9 104 208.4 None Arkansas St. 2 78.1 None Arkansas St. 181 220
62 158.1 168
Tennessee passing offense vs. South Carolina passing defense 68 227.5 64 229.1 Utah St. Arkansas St. 25 199.1 Utah St. Arkansas St. 202 230
91 253.9 57 225 273 247
Tennessee rushing defense vs. South Carolina rushing offense 67 162.5 55 177.1 Florida/Ole Miss Oklahoma 28 218.6 Florida/Ole Miss Oklahoma 183 160
59/80 169.5/149.5 41 192 156/180 146
Tennessee passing defense vs. South Carolina passing offense 13 181.3 29 284.3 Ole Miss Alabama 23 290.3 Ole Miss Alabama 286 250
36 268.8 23 290.3 203 286
Tennessee scoring offense vs. South Carolina scoring defense 96 23.9 98 32.8 None Florida/Ark. St. 3 14 None Florida/Ark. St. 20 38
58/57 25.5/25.4 9/34
Tennessee scoring defense vs. South Carolina scoring offense 39 22.9 31 35.1 Ole Miss Alabama 25 36.5 Ole Miss Alabama 34 34
47 31.9 25 36.5 34 34