In the “other” big SEC game of the week, the No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks and their revamped defense will be traveling west to take on the No. 7 Arkansas Razorbacks.
While this may not have the title implications of LSU-Alabama, there is plenty at stake in this one. Both teams currently sit at 7-1 and are looking to cement their standing in their respective divisions.
Here is everything you need to know in this exciting matchup:
Where: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium
When: Saturday, Nov. 5 at 7:15 p.m. ET
Watch/Stream: ESPN/ ESPN 3
Betting Line: Arkansas -4.5
(Spread courtesy of Covers.com)
Vegas sharps believe that on a neutral field, Arkansas is still the better team. With the ninth best passing offense in the nation, it’s easy to see why.
QB Tyler Wilson has been spectacular thus far, throwing for 2,327 yards, 13 TDs and only three interceptions. It’s hard to imagine the Gamecocks doing much to stop him. They only allow 17 points a game (14th in the nation), yet have given up 42 points to Georgia and 37 to East Carolina.
You also have to factor in the following gambling items when these two teams face-off:
Favorite is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
Gamecocks are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
Gamecocks are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 meetings in Arkansas.
BCS/Top-25 Poll Implications:
The loser of this game will likely kill their chances of reaching a BCS Bowl game. Two losses are too much in 2011. The winner isn’t exactly guaranteed to move up in the computers, but the loser will certainly drop at least three to five spots.
South Carolina currently has less to lose and more to gain.
South Carolina Injuries:
Jacob Baker, RB: Questionable (knee)
Corey Addison, S: Questionable (concussion)
Kody Walker, RB: Out (leg)
Marquel Wade, WR: Suspended
Can Arkansas get off to a strong start?
The Razorbacks have been outscored 87-59 in the first half of the last four games, and it has created an incredibly intense atmosphere on the sidelines in the second half. It almost cost them a win at Vanderbilt last week.
South Carolina is too good of a team to make a 20-point comeback on. Wilson can’t let his offense slide into another early game funk, or this time it’s going to come back and bite them hard.
What They’re Saying:
The SEC, because of a vicious hit on Vanderbilt return man Jonathan Krause, has suspended Arkansas receiver Marquel Wade. Before Krause could even field the punt, Wade pummeled him. Here is his take on the play:
I was wrong. I really want to apologize to any embarrassment to the fans … I messed up. I take the rep for it, everything I did.
I thought he had the ball… I thought I just made a good play.
This isn’t a huge loss considering Wade has only hauled in 62 receiving yards, but his presence will be missed on special teams. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the Razorback special teams.
Who Wins on Saturday?
It comes down to if the Gamecocks can get the key stop in the fourth quarter. The loss of Stephen Garcia and Marcus Lattimore has really hurt the offense, and now they need the 14th-ranked defense to step up in a big way.
It's not going to happen.
Expect Wilson to put up some incredibly gaudy numbers as the Razorbacks grab an early lead and cruise in the second half. I know the first half has been a struggle recently, but this is the week that all changes.
Prediction: No. 7 Arkansas 31, No. 9 South Carolina 23