Happy Friday, everyone. Another week, another game in which Alabama is heavily favored. Tide fans have waited nine long years for the chance to avenge the 2010 debacle at Williams-Brice, and it goes down tomorrow. Previews:
Hummer: This might come as a surprise given the way South Carolina played against UNC, but I like Gamecocks to cover here. South Carolina is talented enough defensively to keep itself in the game. And while I don’t love a true freshman QB going up against Alabama, the Gamecocks will score enough. … Alabama 42, South Carolina 17.
Crawford: This is South Carolina’s toughest game of the year from a matchup standpoint, but at least the Gamecocks come in with confidence after lighting up Charleston Southern for a school-record 775 yards of total offense in Ryan Hilinski’s first career start. No program in college football this week goes polar extreme from opponent to opponent quite like Will Muschamp’s team, however. ... Alabama 38, South Carolina 10.
Nick Saban is always seeking teaching moments. You can guarantee that he has told his players what happened nine years ago when Alabama last visited Williams-Brice Stadium. The Tide enter this contest just short of being a four-touchdown road favorite. I would give South Carolina an outside chance if Jake Bentley was under center, but that’s not the case. Ryan Hilinski will need to find immediate success, build on his confidence, and eliminate any early jitters if the Gamecocks are to pull off a monumental upset. Expect emotions and energy to be high, with the possibility that South Carolina is able to jump out to an early lead. But as the game settles in, the Tide will wear down an overmatched Gamecocks squad. This game will be closer than the experts think, but Bama prevails.
Prediction: Alabama 41, South Carolina 17
The way an upset happens probably results from USC receivers making play after play and Ryan Hilinski playing out of his mind. It’s not really fair to ask that of a player that young, but expecting a win wouldn’t be fair either.
What can USC and Will Muschamp do to show some progress? Hang in early, maybe cover the spread that was up to 26 at one point. Every positive play for the Gamecocks can be seen as a good sign, something to build on. They’ll need something going into a crucial stretch against Missouri and Kentucky the following two weeks .
For now, they’ve got the first of three beastly squads on their schedule and a massive challenge upcoming
The Pick: Alabama 42, South Carolina 13
Alabama’s offense is once again a juggernaut. Najee Harris handles the run game while Tagovailoa handles the game through the air. The Crimson Tide defense is one of the best in the nation. Simply put, Alabama is a far superior football team and it does not matter where this game is played. Bama in a blowout for the third straight week.
PICK: Alabama -25.5
SCORE PREDICTION: Alabama 48, South Carolina 17
As you can math, Vegas has the score coming in at about 44-18. It won’t be surprising if South Carolina is able to move the ball and score some points late considering the performance of Alabama’s second and third teams last weekend, and they may even ride on emotion from what will be a raucous home crowd to get off to a fast start on defense. It’s tough to see them holding up for anything close to a full game, however.
South Carolina actually has a couple of players in the secondary in Jamyest Williams, who chose South Carolina over Georgia at the last moment, and former Alabama target Jaycee Horn. The depth just isn’t there, however, and it’s tough to see them getting much of a pass rush against an offensive line that has been stingy to opposing sack artists thus far and boasts perhaps as much pure talent as any offensive line we’ve ever seen in Tuscaloosa.
The Gamecocks have run the ball reasonably well this season and will undoubtedly attempt to play some ball control in hopes of keeping Tua Tagovailoa on the sideline while protecting their own true freshman passer. Alabama has allowed a few yards on the ground, so it’s possible that they are able to hold things down a bit. Unfortunately for Coach Boom, the defense just doesn’t have the horses to keep up for long.
Honestly, 25.5 points seems like a gift in this one. Even with a fourth quarter score, the Gamecocks go down 51-16.
Of course, that’s just my opinion. Vote and give us your prediction in the comments.
What will be Saturday’s result?
This poll is closed
Coach Boom combusts on the sideline, Tide by 26+.
Alabama wins comfortably but fails to cover, Tide by 11-25
Alabama gets all it can handle from the ‘Cocks, Tide by 1-10
South Carolina springs the upset (FLAGGED)
Moving on, Josh Jobe reportedly has placed himself in Saban’s doghouse, which is never a good sign, but we now have the starting nickel defense we expected to have.
In game one, it was Josh Jobe who got the start as the Crimson Tide’s fifth defensive back.
Last week, it was freshman Jordan Battle.
This week, it looks like senior Shyheim Carter will probably end up starting as that fifth DB.
Carter would be playing the Star/nickel back spot he started at last season, which would make him the third different starter at that position through these first three games.
Carter had been playing safety, but he’s just too good covering slot receivers to take him out, and Surtain looks much better outside than inside at this stage of his career. It will be interesting to see whether Battle or Jobe is the sixth DB this week.
Saban hit the nail on the head with the flap about early kicks.
“But I will say this -- I like and I have respect for the fact that our game is entertainment for people, and there’s a lot of fans that come to our games that are a very instrumental part of our team. They create spirit, they’re a part of the tradition, it’s very important for them. And we would like for them to be happy that we’re playing in an atmosphere that is conducive to them being comfortable and enjoying the game and being excited and cheering and all that.
“... I really appreciate the people who stayed and kind of went through the heat and some of the difficult circumstances that we had with some of the fans last week in the game. We do appreciate that. I want the stadium to be full. I want everybody to stay. I want everybody to be there. But I also know that it’s not very comfortable sometimes when we play in certain circumstances.
Yes, it’s about the fans in this case and the atmosphere that is created for the players. Football for breakfast just isn’t fun for a myriad of reasons.
Last, Minkah Fitzpatrick may get to move on from the putrid Dolphins.
Former Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick could soon be on the move.
Fitzpatrick has received permission from the Miami Dolphins to seek a trade, according to a Thursday night report from ESPN. The Dolphins are not actively shopping Fitzpatrick, but did not deny that they have given permission to his agent, Joel Segal, to discuss a trade with teams.
Good for you, Minkah. May you find a franchise that is worthy of your ability.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.