The first game of the 2012 college football season will feature the South Carolina Gamecocks playing the Vanderbilt Commodores on Thursday Night Football. South Carolina is ranked No. 9 going into this season and has national championship aspirations. Vanderbilt will look to improve upon last year's Libery Bowl appearance.
Losing stars like Stephon Gilmore, Alshon Jeffery and Melvin Ingram will hurt South Carolina, but the Gamecocks return dynamic running back Marcus Lattimore, the promising Connor Shaw and several other important weapons like Jadeveon Clowney. There are big questions about the team's receivers and how well they can defend the pass with their cornerbacks, but a solid performance opening night will do them well under head coach Steve Spurrier.
Facing South Carolina on the other side is Vanderbilt, who for once is starting to show some moxie thanks to the James Franklin era. Jordan Rodgers and Zac Stacy did their best to lead the Commodores to bowl eligibility last season, and with many players returning, Vanderbilt will rely on its run game to try and win most of its games.
Game time, TV channel: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Point spread: South Carolina favored by seven points
For news, discussion and more: For more on Cocks football, visit South Carolina blog Garnet And Black Attack, For more on Vandy football, visit Vanderbilt blog Anchor Of Gold, plus check out SEC blog Team Speed Kills.
Video: Check out these videos from our SB Nation YouTube channel on each team:
Bold Experiments (Vanderbilt)
Our South Carolina team preview.
While we’re here, let’s watch some of the many other college football videos from SB Nation’s YouTube channel: