Texas A&M Aggies at South Carolina Gamecocks (-10.5,
The post-Johnny Manziel era is set to get underway for No. 20
Texas A&M, which faces a brutal season-opening test at SEC
rival and ninth-ranked South Carolina on Thursday. Even though
the Aggies must replace the former Heisman Trophy winner, many
will argue that the Gamecocks endured an even bigger loss than
Manziel with the departure of all-world defensive end Jadeveon
Clowney, the top overall pick in the NFL draft. It will mark
the first-ever meeting between the schools.
South Carolina, which never has won an SEC championship, is
coming off three consecutive 11-win seasons under legendary
coach Steve Spurrier and was the preseason choice to win the
East Division. Texas A&M was expected to struggle upon
moving from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2012 but, buoyed by the
wondrous talents of Manziel, the Aggies went 20-6 in their
first two seasons and capped each with a bowl victory.
Sophomore Kenny Hill will be in the spotlight after narrowly
beating out Kyle Allen as Manziel’s successor.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, SEC Network.
LINE HISTORY: The Gamecocks opened as 11-point
favorites, where bet down to -10 and now sit at -10.5. The
total which opened at 57 has steadily climbed to 60.5.
INJURY REPORT: Texas A&M: DB Victor Davis – out
indefinitely (suspension). South Carolina: RB Mike Davis –
probable Thursday (ribs), TE Rory Anderson – questionable
Thursday (triceps), C Cody Waldrop – questionable Thursday
(oblique), T Mike Matulis – doubtful Thursday (knee).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Texas A&M (-12.5) –
South Carolina (-20) + home field (-3) = South Carolina -10.5.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The question everyone’s
asking is how will the Gamecocks replace Jadeveon Clowney, but
perhaps the biggest concern for Spurrier’s squad is whether or
not QB Dylan Thompson can step up in place of Connor Shaw.
Thompson was inconsistent at best last season, throwing for 783
yards with 4 TDs and 3 INTs.” – Covers
Expert Jess Schule.
WHAT BOOKS SAY:
ABOUT TEXAS A&M (2013: 9-4, 5-8 ATS): The Aggies
led the SEC in scoring (44.2 ppg) and total offense (538.4
yards) for the second straight season, so the onus will be on
Hill, who played sparingly as a freshman and threw for 183
yards on 16-of-22 over parts of four games. Senior Malcome
Kennedy is the top returnee at wide receiver, but Ricky
Seals-Jones and explosive freshman Speedy Noil are elite
talents and will be counted on to replace NFL first-round pick
Mike Evans, while Trey Williams, Tra Carson and Brandon
Williams head a deep running back corps. Cornerback Deshazor
Everett leads a defense that was singed for 151 points over the
final four games last season and will hope for immediately
production from freshman defensive end Myles Garrett, among the
nation’s top recruits.
ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (2013: 11-2, 7-6 ATS):
The Gamecocks also have a change under center, with longtime
backup Dylan Thompson poised to take the reins after backing up
Connor Shaw the past three seasons. Although fifth-year senior
Thompson is more of a pure passer compared to dual-threat Shaw,
South Carolina is expected to rely heavily on a ground game
featuring Mike Davis, a preseason first-team SEC selection who
rumbled for 1,183 yards last season and will be running behind
one of the top offensive lines in the conference. While
replacing Clowney will be impossible, the Gamecocks also
suffered other key losses on the defensive side and will need
big seasons from nose tackle J.T. Surratt, cornerback Brison
Williams and freshman linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams.
* Aggies are 1-6 ATS in their last seven conference games.
* Gamecocks are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Over is 7-2 in Aggies last nine conference games.
* Under is 4-0 in Ganecocks last four conference games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Almost 55 percent of the
wagers are backing South Carolina at -10.5.