Week 5 – South Carolina at Kentucky

Posted Sep 27, 2012

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction – South Carolina at Kentucky

South Carolina (4-0) at Kentucky (1-3) Sept. 29, 7:00, ESPN2

Here's The Deal: South Carolina doesn't have a rich football history, at least a rich football history of winning. The Steve Spurrier era has been the program's best ever, but even before him the Gamecocks had Kentucky's number winning 12 of the last 13 in the series. Several of those games were relatively even matchups that USC was able to get through, but things are different this time around. This year, this is a South Carolina team good enough to win the SEC East, the SEC, and even more. This is just a supposed to be just a stepping stone before next week's epic showdown against Georgia, but that might have everything set up perfectly for Kentucky. No one is expecting anything out of a UK team that started out 1-3 and is coming off an ugly 38-0 loss to Florida. One dream-destroying win over the Gamecocks could quickly change everything for the Joker Phillips era.

Why South Carolina Might Win: The Wildcats aren't tight enough to play the mistake-free football needed to come up with the win. This is still a rebuilding UK team, and it has showed at times with seven picks in the last two games proving to be the problem in big losses. The Cats didn't give the ball away against Kent State, and won, and they committed at least two turnovers in each of the other three games. The Gamecock defense has been air tight so far, allowing just 39 points on the year and not giving up a thing on the ground. USC has yet to allow a rushing touchdown, and while UK has had a little bit of success running the ball, it's not going to crank out more than 100 yards.

Why Kentucky Might Win: Maxwell Smith is expected to be back. The young quarterback missed the Florida game with a shoulder injury, and while he wouldn't have made the difference in a 38-0 loss, he provides the offense that wasn't there when Morgan Newton stepped in. Smith threw for 354 yards and four scores against Kent State and 332 yards and two touchdowns against Western Kentucky, and now he's going to have to test a secondary that did a nice job of keeping the Missouri passing game under wraps, but got bombed on for 333 yards by East Carolina. The UK O line is keeping the quarterbacks upright, and as long as Smith has time, he could provide an X factor for the USC D.

What To Watch Out For: Is Connor Shaw really 20-for-21 good? The South Carolina junior quarterback might be beaten up and a bit bruised, but he was on target against Mizzou with a near-perfect performance hitting 20 passes in a row for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Known for being more of a runner than a passer, he needs to take off less to stay in one piece, and if he throws like he did last week, that won't be a problem. Last year he took over the quarterback job against Kentucky and threw for a career-high 311 yards and four scores in the 54 -3 win. He might not do that this week, but he should have a nice day.

What Will Happen: Don't be shocked if there's a little bit of a lookahead factor for the Gamecocks with Georgia up next. The defense will keep Kentucky from making any sort of a big run, but the USC offense is going to be a bit sloppy early before turning it on in the second half.

CFN Prediction: South Carolina 38 … Kentucky 10
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) South Carolina -21 O/U: 47.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 2.5