South Carolina will be a big favorite against Vanderbilt as the No. 12-ranked Gamecocks seek to continue to remain undefeated, despite allowing 33 points per game in their three wins so far.
After a 56-37 win against East Carolina to start the season, South Carolina has eked out three-point victories over Georgia and Navy. The Gamecocks' offense, and particularly its running game (led by sophomore Marcus Lattimore), have been very effective, but the defense is clearly a concern - when a team is allowing 5.8 rushing yards per attempt in a game against Navy, future opponents have to be licking their chops a bit.
This isn't to say the Gamecocks aren't the favorites. But not only have they struggled, Vanderbilt is a team that needs to be taken seriously. The Commodores' blowout win over Ole Miss last week (which featured a rather awesome Statue-of-Liberty play) certainly qualified as a statement, even if it was preceded by less-impressive victories over Elon and UConn. Running back Zac Stacy has a huge breakout game against Ole Miss, rushing for 169 yards on a mere 11 carries.
Can he keep that up? Doubtful. Will the Commodores win? Perhaps not, particularly on the road. But if they do, they'll easily hop into the top 25, and they'll be one of the most talked-about teams in the country, particularly as they head into their matchup against Alabama on October 8.
Game date, time: 7:00 pm ET, Saturday, September 24
Location: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, South Carolina
TV channel: ESPN2/ESPN3
Spread: South Carolina favored by 15
For further news and discussion, check out SB Nation's South Carolina blog, Garnet And Black Attack, and its Vanderbilt blog, Anchor Of Gold. Also, stay tuned to SB Nation's college football news hub.