Week 1: North Carolina

Five years ago the worst South Carolina team since ‘99 handed the best North Carolina team since ‘97 their only regular season loss of the season. Gamecocks can thank Skai Moore’s 2 interceptions in the end zone for that one. North Carolina leads the overall series 34 - 19 - 4, but the Gamecocks are 12 - 4 since ‘67 and have won 6 of the last 7. The last time the Tarheels snagged a win was back in ‘91. When speaking about football, ‘Carolina’ refers to South Carolina.

On paper South Carolina should be much improved this season, particularly on defense. Depth and talent is present on the DL, new blood in the linebacking corps has boosted that position, and everyone in the secondary is currently healthy. North Carolina is debuting a 68-year old retread at head coach and a true freshman QB. The coordinator hires were top notch (Longo and Bateman), but this team has only won 5 games the past 2 years. The reports from NC pre-season scrimmages are that this team has looked like absolute garbage. This should be a perfect opportunity for Will Muschamp to lay a complete beat-down on an inferior opponent, but the results of the last meeting against a mediocre ACC team gives one ample reason to doubt. I think the Gamecocks are finally ready to put it all together, however, and make a statement in this one.

Prediction: South Carolina 38 - North Carolina 13. Mrs. Teriyaki Chicken has it as 35 - 25 Gamecocks.