Nine years is a long time for Nick Saban to draw up the gameplan. Much will be talked about regarding the Tide’s last visit to Williams-Brice Stadium in 2010. But Steve Spurrier won’t be calling the plays this time, and Stephen Garcia won’t be under center. Alabama has opened as a 25-point favorite on the road at South Carolina on Saturday with the over/under set at 60 points.
South Carolina remains a little bit of a mystery entering this week’s SEC opener. The Gamecocks lost to North Carolina as an 11-point favorite Week 1. Quarterback Jake Bentley was viewed as one of the conference’s best passers, but his season is already over with a fractured foot. Head Coach Will Muschamp has turned the reigns over to true freshman Ryan Hilinski. Rivals’ No. 3 quarterback prospect went 24-of-30 for 282 yards, two touchdowns and one interception last week against FCS-level Charleston Southern.
Perhaps the bigger question mark, aside from the quarterback position, is what happened to the South Carolina defense? Injuries could be blamed for a lot of the Gamecocks’ struggles last year, but there’s no excuse for allowing 483 yards to the Tar Heels in Week 1. North Carolina averaged 10.2 yards per pass attempt with a freshman quarterback and racked up 238 yards on the ground.
A few betting nuggets, courtesy of The Gold Sheet:
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James Bunting has written for a number of national outlets over the last decade and is currently a sports book manager, in addition to analyzing the odds for WagerTalk.