Preview and predictions for #21 North Carolina vs. South Carolina
The college football season gets rolling with games that figure to be both exciting and competitive, and such is the case Saturday night. The Duke’s Mayo Classic Game features a border battle between the No. 21 North Carolina Tar Heels and the South Carolina Gamecocks.
It will be played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, packed with fans of both sides. With the preseason predictions fairly similar around each side, odds in this game are tight.
Heels Slight Choice
North Carolina is a slim 2½-point favorite in this game (total at 64), according to college football odds. Moneyline has the Heels priced at -135, while the Gamecocks are at +115.
UNC 'Maye' Score
North Carolina, 9-5 in 2022, comes into this game with Drake Maye ready to shine at quarterback. That after a season with 4,300 passing yards and 38 touchdowns.
North Carolina did lose superstar wideout Josh Downs (now with the Indianapolis Colts), but the Tar Heels have been known to develop explosive playmakers in a hurry.
UNC didn’t defend very well a season ago, having surrendered nearly 31 points per game. It ended 2022 losing its last four, a final-minute, 28-27 loss to Oregon at the Holiday Bowl wasn't good. Carolina will try to push the tempo, figuring that outscoring the opposition is easier than stopping them.
Gamecocks’ Suspect 'D'
The South Carolina Gamecocks, coming off an 8-5 season. were not happy about being left off the preseason poll. Thus a chance to do something about that in the opener.
USC ended 2022 with regular-season wins over ranked opponents Clemson (63-30) and Tennessee, but lost to Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl. As with the Tar Heels, the Gamecocks were a porous precinct, as in nearly 29 points permitted per game.
Spencer Rattler is back at quarterback in Columbia, able to make plays with his arms and legs. He was a wild card in 2022, 3,000 passing yards, 18 touchdowns but 12 interceptions.
Hail the Heels
North Carolina is eyeing revenge against South Carolina, the latter winning, 38-21, in 2021’s last meeting. While UNC holds a 35-20-4 lead in the series, USC is 13-6 in the last 19.
There’s a ton of offense in this game, but UNC has more playmakers than SC.
It’s our opinion that the Heels are going to keep South Carolina at bay, a late score leading to a UNC cover and the game ending over. UNC is 10-1 (+1000) to win the ACC, while the Gamecocks are 80-1 (+8000) to win the SEC, as per college football conference odds.