It seems like everyone expects South Carolina to beat Kentucky tomorrow, but one metric suggests the Cats might as well not even make the trip. According to the ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), Kentucky only has an 18.1% chance of beating South Carolina:
It’s worth noting that the No. 1 team in the FPI right now is Ohio State and they lost to Oklahoma by 15 at home last weekend, so, you know, what does it know? Stupid computer. Also, the FPI said Kentucky only had a 4% chance of beating Louisville last season and we all remember how that turned out:
Other picks from across the interwebs…
ESPN’s Sam Khan Jr. and Alex Scarborough: South Carolina
One game I’ve been eyeing is Kentucky-South Carolina. I’ve been high on the Gamecocks from the season’s start and I’m not changing that now — I think they take this one — but what do you think?
Scarborough: I’ve been more reticent on South Carolina than you — its youth and lack of quality depth still worries me despite the program obviously heading in the right direction — but I’m coming around. Maybe it’s the dark horse to win the East. The combination of Jake Bentley and Deebo Samuel is so much fun to watch. I’m going to go with the Gamecocks. Kentucky, to me, just doesn’t have enough firepower on offense.
CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee: South Carolina
Have you paid attention to South Carolina yet? No? Well, you should. The offense is in good hands with second-year starting quarterback Jake Bentley and a plethora of young weapons. The defense hasn’t been great statistically, but has been effective enough in the two wins with a 55.6 percent defensive red zone scoring percentage. The offense will light up Kentucky’s defense, hunker down defensively and win by double digits over the visiting Wildcats. Pick: Gamecocks (-6)
Nola.com’s Ron Higgins: South Carolina
Two teams fortunate to be 2-0, though South Carolina has played better competition. The Gamecocks have shown a knack for big plays on both sides of the ball, and if anything Gamecocks’ coach Will Muschamp would simply like to see some consistency, especially on offense. South Carolina is 13th in the SEC in total offense and 14th in total defense. Kentucky has won three straight games in the series, including last year’s 17-16 win when the Wildcats rushed for 216 yards. But a year ago, current South Carolina starting QB Jake Bentley didn’t play a snap, because he was far down on the depth chart as a true freshman. He’s front and center now. South Carolina covers.
Athlon Sports: South Carolina
Aside from being at home, which is a big advantage on its own, there are a couple of reasons to like the Gamecocks in this matchup. For starters, the gap between Kentucky’s rushing attack and South Carolina’s run defense seems to have narrowed greatly. The Wildcats will probably still find some success on the ground with Benny Snell Jr., but it won’t be as significant as in years past.
Additionally, key players such as Jake Bentley, Deebo Samuel, Skai Moore, Rico Dowdle and Ty’Son Williams were not on the field for the Gamecocks when Kentucky beat them in 2016. The Wildcats will have to contend with all of these major impact players on Saturday night. That should make all the difference as the Gamecocks put an end to a three-game losing streak against the Wildcats.
Prediction: South Carolina 27, Kentucky 17
Guess it’s time to go prove the FPI and all the national media wrong again.