You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Belk Bowl
– In terms of pressure in the bowl games, there’s a wee bit on Will Muschamp. The South Carolina head man was fine, and the team wasn’t awful, but it was supposed to be a breakthrough big season for the Gamecocks, and it wasn’t. With the way they collapsed against Florida and got rocked by Clemson in a shootout, the program could use a decent win to close things out. Win, and everything will be okay – for now. Lose, and Muschamp will be on just about everyone’s offseason hot seat list. Speaking or pressure …
– The fact that Virginia is going bowling for a second year in a row under Bronco Mendenhall is terrific. The team was interesting this season, and it was in the ACC title chase right up until the start of November. But after losing three of the last four games – including to rival Virginia Tech – and after closing out last season with four straight losses, six of the last seven, and with a 49-7 blowout bowl loss to Navy, winning this would be nice.
– South Carolina has been a bowl game killer over the last several years. There might have been a few down times when the team didn’t get an extra game, but after a rough start, Steve Spurrier kicked it in. He lost four of his first five bowl appearances, and then came the run of four straight wins before losing the 2016 Birmingham to USF. Muschamp’s team pulled out last year’s Outback to make it a 5-1 stretch with just that USF game as the blemish.
Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Belk Bowl?
South Carolina is the better team and should win this, but will it bring the energy and fight that Virginia will? The Cavaliers need everything to go perfectly, and that won’t happen. USC won’t make enough big mistakes, waking up in the second half to pull away on two Jake Bentley touchdown passes – and then the D will take over. UVa QB Bryce Perkins will have his moments, but he’ll be contained just enough to keep the Gamecock fans from sweating.
Fearless Prediction & Line
South Carolina 34, Virginia 20
Line: South Carolina -5, o/u: 54.5
ATS Confidence: 4
– CFN Confidence Pool
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar
Must See Rating: 3.5
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, London
1: New Year’s Eve: Times Square, New York