As recently as Thursday afternoon, this game seemed like an afterthought on South Carolina's schedule, bookended by an exciting season opener against Texas A&M and a critical battle against the other favorite in the SEC East, Georgia. After getting throttled by the Aggies at home to open the year, this game against ECU, a very strong opponent as Steve Spurrier would like to remind you, has taken on greater importance.
ECU was 10-3 in 2013, and is one of the favorites in their new conference, the AAC. The Pirates cruised to an easy 52-7 win against North Carolina Central in week one.
Date: Saturday, Sep. 6
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Williams-Brice Stadium (Columbia, SC)
Betting Line: South Carolina (-16) via 5Dimes
Prediction: South Carolina needs a bounce back in a big way, and with a few extra days of preparation, expect Spurrier and his staff to have some of the issues that plagued them against Texas A&M ironed out a bit. However, ECU is still a legitimately good team, and a 16 point spread is a huge one, especially considering how these two teams looked in week one. If South Carolina did anything well against the Aggies, it was hitting on big plays down the field, so expect Dylan Thompson to continue to take shots. The Gamecocks defense looks quite vulnerable, especially on the back end. Pirates quarterback Shane Carden should be able to lead his offense to some scores as well. South Carolina should come back with a week two win, but ECU seems like a good bet as a 16-point dog.