Football is finally here ladies and gentlemen!
And the first game to kick off the 2012 season is one that will certainly be worth watching, as the Vanderbilt Commodores host the South Carolina Gamecocks.
South Carolina is a team that has the SEC East title on its mind, while Vanderbilt is just looking to take another step in the right direction after winning six games last season. A win over Steve Spurrier's club would be a great start to the season for James Franklin and his troops.
Here is all of the information you need to know about this big SEC matchup.
TV: ESPN, 7:00 p.m. ET, August 30, 2012
Line: South Carolina -7
About the South Carolina Gamecocks
The Gamecocks return 13 starters from a year ago and will have a healthy running back in Marcus Lattimore to help carry the offense. Quarterback Connor Shaw played well last season considering what he had to work with and finished with an 8-1 record as the starter.
Defensively, the Gamecocks return six starters from a unit that finished third in the country a season ago. This is by far the most talented team head coach Steve Spurrier has ever had since arriving in Columbia.
About the Vanderbilt Commodores
Vanderbilt seems to be heading in the right direction under head coach James Franklin. In just one season, Franklin led the Commodores to more victories than the two previous seasons combined. The offense averaged nearly 27 points per contest, the most in school history since 1915.
The Commodores have a nice combination in quarterback Jordan Rodgers and running back Zac Stacy, who is one of the more underrated players in the SEC. The defense that finished ranked 29th in scoring defense returns seven starters.
I expect a hostile crowd in Nashville for this game, which will provide the Commodores with a great home-field atmosphere. While I think this Vanderbilt team will continue to surprise some people throughout college football, I just don't see South Carolina losing this football game. The Gamecocks are just too good on both sides of the ball and have won 10 of the last 12 meetings. Last season, Vandy was only able to generate 77 yards of total offense when South Carolina cruised to a 21-3 victory.
The Gamecocks are 7-2 against the spread in their last nine Thursday games and the road team is 6-2-1 against the spread in their last nine meetings.
The Pick: South Carolina -7