Texas A&M vs. South Carolina College Football Picks

David Lawrence

Sunday, August 24, 2014 6:25 AM UTC

Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014 6:25 AM UTC

The majority of top teams in college football start their season with an easy non-conference game, but Texas A&M and South Carolina are doing no such thing. Find out what the best way to bet on this game is.

The Southeastern Conference scheduled the Aggies and Gamecocks to play each other not only in the first week of the season, but on the first full night of football, a Thursday. A weeknight start creates an unusual game week of preparation. There’s no easy way to handle this. The two teams will just have to play through the pressure and execute as well as they can.


The Aggies Can Win Because…
They are going up against a South Carolina team that just lost a special player in the offseason. South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw was 17-0 in his career at home, so the Gamecocks lost a great home-field quarterback in this game. They’re going to have to turn to the much less established Dylan Thompson as their quarterback in this game and for the season as well. If Thompson, who has been inconsistent in the times when he’s gained a chance to play in the past, is not sharp on Thursday night, A&M will have a great chance to win.

South Carolina has lost other important players as well. Jadeveon Clowney did a lot for the Gamecocks on defense, especially with his pass rush. A&M’s offensive line might be able to keep its new quarterback, either Kenny Hill or Kyle Allen, unbothered and untouched in this game as a result. South Carolina also loses receiver Bruce Ellington, whose absence will make it tougher for Thompson to pick and find targets when he scans the field and tries to generate a passing attack for the Gamecocks. South Carolina’s been a very good team over the past three years, but changes on the roster could quickly complicate this year’s situation for the Gamecocks, allowing A&M to take advantage.


The Gamecocks Can Win Because…
They are facing a Texas A&M team with a very thin defense that’s getting even thinner. Three expected contributors to the Aggies’ defense in 2014, defensive end Gavin Stansbury, nose tackle Isaiah Golden, and linebacker Darian Claiborne, were dismissed from the team in the offseason. Linebacker Michael Richardson has been knocked out with an injury. These are all modest hits individually to Texas A&M’s defensive front seven, but collectively, they represent a significant loss in expected production. Obviously, they also reduce this team’s defensive depth to dangerously low levels. How will Texas A&M rotate players in and out of this game, keeping defensive linemen fresh in what is expected to be a hot, humid, and generally uncomfortable evening? South Carolina’s offensive line is experienced, and with star running back Mike Davis in the backfield, the Gamecocks should expect to run the ball consistently against A&M’s defensive front, thereby reducing the need for Thompson to pass the ball in predictable passing situations.


Outlook & Prediction
Both teams are likely to struggle as they start the season. Thompson probably won’t play a great game, but as long as he doesn’t commit more than one turnover, South Carolina’s running game should be able to do enough to win against a Texas A&M team that begins life without Johnny Manziel. A&M will keep this close, but South Carolina will survive.

Free College Football Pick: Texas A&M +10.5 at Just Bet

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