The South Carolina Gamecocks are a 6.5 favorite over the Vanderbilt Commodores in Thursday’s 7pm ET opening night ESPN matchup. If you want to make some easy money, take the Gamecocks and give the 6.5.
Sophomore 6-foot-6 pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney is the focal point of Steve Spurrier’s oppressive Gamecock defense which finished third in the nation last season.
Last season, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Year was credited with eight sacks forced five fumbles and is expected to be even more of a force in 2012. New defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward plans to blitz more aggressively this season and Clowney will see action at middle linebacker as well. He’s a beast and he’ll wreak havoc tonight.
Marcus Lattimore returns to the field 10 months after tearing his ACL last October against Mississippi State. All reports are that he hasn’t lost a step and he’s ready to go. In 20 career games, the junior has gained 2015 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns. Lattimore was considered a Heisman contender before his season-ending knee injury last year, and he’ll pick up right where le left off.
This is year two for Commodores head coach James Franklin. Much of his success will depend on Commodores quarterback, Jordan Rodgers. The last name may seem familiar to many football fans and that’s because his older brother is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Don’t expect Jordan and Aaron to be starring in any national commercials like the Williams’ sisters or Peyton and Eli however. He doesn’t have the decision making prowess or physical skills of his older brother.
Thursday’s opener will mark the debut of Vandy’s star recruit Shaq Roland. Unlike his namesake, Roland is not a large possession receiver at 6-1. However, 2011′s Mr. Football in South Carolina is a speedster with great leaping ability and route running skills. The problem here of course is that with Jadeveon Clowney laying on top of Jordan Rodgers in the Vandy backfield, Shaq is going to have a hard time getting the ball.
Bet the farm on South Carolina and some interesting facial expressions from head coach Steve Spurrier.
The founder and former owner of MC3 Sports Media, Mike Cardano is the Sr. Business Administrator for RotoExperts and the Executive Director here at TheXLog.com. You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.