South Carolina Gamecocks at North Carolina State Wolfpack
Thursday Sept. 3, 2009, 7 PM EST
The Line: North Carolina State -4
For the second straight season college football season officially kicks off with South Carolina taking on NC State. Last year's game was pretty decent, until it started. While that may be a little harsh because the Wolfpack were in it at halftime, the end of the game and all that really matters was a 34-0 blow out by the Gamecocks.
We are looking at two different teams than those who met last season. For NC State, Russell Wilson has emerged as the QB and he is the type of player who can simply do it all. For South Carolina, Stephen Garcia has the reigns as he missed a lot of the first half of last season.
I wasn't a real fan of either of these squads for different reasons last year. For NC State I thought that even once their offense got rolling, their defense couldn't stop anyone. For South Carolina, their defense was absolutely exceptional, their offense was horrendous.
What makes these tendencies even stranger are that they are exactly the opposite of what their head coaches are all about. South Carolina's Steve Spurrier has been all about offense in the past. It was his Fun and Gun offense which won him his National Title at Florida. At Boston College, Tom O'Brien's teams got it done playing solid defense.
Both of these teams have questions to answer: Can Wilson stay healthy for the Wolfpack? Can Garcia stay out of Spurrier's doghouse and improve enough on a season where he threw two more interceptions than touchdowns?
Wilson is a force and he is going to be a handful to contain all season for everyone. Garcia is a bit of an X-factor and has me intrigued. I think Garcia has all the tools including good speed and ideal size and I think the full year under his belt is gong to do him wonders. I really think he is one of the more under rated players this year.
So, can NC State rebound from the 34-0 beat down last year and can South Carolina avoid being on the wrong end of some solid revenge?
NC State finished last season as monsters against the spread and South Carolina wasn't too hot against the number, especially on the road where they are 2-6 against the spread in their last eight.
I don't feel too strongly one way or another in this one but the line is moving higher and I am hearing a lot of people backing NC State. History tells me this is a good time to go he other way and fast.
I am going to take the points with lukewarm confidence.
Mitch's Pick: South Carolina +4