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South Carolina vs. USF Prediction, Birmingham Bowl Preview

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South Carolina vs. USF prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the Birmingham Bowl matchup between the Gamecocks and Bulls.


South Carolina vs. USF Game Preview

When: Thursday, December 29 – 2:00 p.m. ET
Where: Legion Field, Birmingham, AL
TV Broadcast: ESPN

South Carolina is bowling in Will Muschamp’s first season as the head coach of the Gamecocks, while USF brings in one of the most dynamic players in college football in quarterback Quinton Flowers.

What To Know About South Carolina

The Gamecocks transformed into a competitor when Jake Bentley took over under center, as the true freshman ignited an offense that was stagnant at best. While he didn’t exactly light it up, Bentley gave a new confidence that was greatly needed. Along with Bentley was the emergence of running back Rico Dowdle, who became the main guy at running back for the Gamecocks.

The defense’s heart and soul is linebacker T.J. Holloman, who recorded 64 tackles while making three for a loss. Opposing defenses have had trouble blocking defensive lineman Darius English, who has racked up nine sacks on the season. The one problem with the Gamecocks defense: stopping the ground game. South Carolina allows 202.83 rushing yards per game. That could be a big problem against Flowers.

What to Know About USF

If fans don’t know about Flowers right now, they should get used to hearing his name. One of the best players in the nation – he’s accounted for 43 total touchdowns -, Flowers is wildly underhyped. Running back Marlon Mack is a force himself, rushing for 1,137 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The Bulls defense has been suspect, though, ranked 120th in the nation by allowing 482.1 yards per game. Putting pressure on Bentley will be important in stopping the Gamecocks.

Advantages

Offense: USF. Flowers should be mentioned in the Heisman race next season.

Defense: South Carolina. The Gamecocks defense should only improve under Muschamp.

Special Teams: Tie. Both kickers are inconsistent.

Coaching: USF. Could this be Willie Taggart’s last game as the Bulls’ head man?

Intangibles: USF. The Bulls have a chance to defeat a SEC team in SEC country. Enough said.

Matchup To Watch

Quinton Flowers vs. South Carolina defense

The Gamecocks defense is solid, but can it contain the multi-faceted Flowers?

South Carolina vs. USF Betting Odds

Spread: None available at time of publication
Over/Under: None available at time of publication.

South Carolina vs. USF Prediction

The Gamecocks will be in good hands with Bentley at quarterback, and the young players that gained experience this season, but this is the Bulls’ season to shine. Flowers will show why he belongs in the Heisman conversation next season and the Bulls will overpower the SEC East’s Gamecocks.

South Carolina vs. USF Score Prediction: USF 35, South Carolina 24

Campus Insiders Staff Picks

Brian Stultz: USF
Jeff Bartl: USF
Rich Cirminiello: South Carolina
Robert Judin: USF
Jordan Cornette: USF

MORE: Final Top 25 College Football Playoff Rankings For 2016

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