South Carolina Gamecocks @ Arkansas Razorbacks (12:00pm ET)
Favorite: Arkansas -7.5
Arkansas passed their litmus test in week 1 hosting Cincinnati and while they only won by a touchdown, they showed expertise in key areas that South Carolina struggles in. The Razorbacks looked phenomenal on the ground as they rushed for 224 yards, led by Raheim Sanders’ 117 on 20 carries. The Cincinnati front seven is far superior to what the Gamecocks tout against the run and given the Gamecocks allowed 200 yards on the ground to Georgia State, I see the Razorbacks imposing their will. Arkansas was no slouch through the air as KJ Jefferson threw for 223 and 3 TDs, so if the Gamecocks load the box to focus on stopping the run they can still get hit over the top.
Offensively for the Gamecocks Spencer Rattler was night-and-day different than anything the Gamecocks have seen since Connor Shaw. Arm talent and pocket presence were on full display as he was constantly given no time to drop back due to horrific pass blocking. Something the Gamecocks were hoping to improve on in the offseason looked just as bad as last year, and if Arkansas’ pass rush looks anything like week 1 it will be a long day for Rattler and company. There’s too many glaring advantages for the Razorbacks at home in Week 2 and I fully expect them to win by at least a touchdown. I wouldn’t be surprised if this line moves closer to double-digits by kickoff. I’ll buy the half-point to get to 7 and take the Razorbacks.
Pick: Arkansas -7 -120 (2u)
Wake Forest Demon Deacons @ Vanderbilt Commodores (12:00pm ET)
Favorite: Wake Forest -7
Bookmakers must really be a fan of Vanderbilt through two games to make them only a 7-point underdog on Saturday. I know they’re 2-0 and closing in on their season-long win total, but they beat arguably the worst team in the country in Hawaii and had a relatively close game with Elon in a 42-31 win. The offense has obviously looked good with 100+ points through 2 games, and Wake’s defense needs to make strides this year, but still theirs is levels above the competition Vanderbilt has faced so far. Don’t expect Vanderbilt to be held to under 20 points, but also don’t be shocked if they fail to reach 30.
On the flip side, the Commodores defense looked horrible against Elon allowing 495 total yards. Spoiler, Wake Forest is better than Elon offensively. The Demon Deacons may have *only* scored 44 points in week 1, but they managed 506 yards including 212 on the ground. A.T. Perry, Taylor Morin, and Donovon Greene are a trio of recievers that will give any defense problems and the pace the Deacons put on defenses is exhausting. They’ll do just that against the Commodores on Saturday afternoon. This line feels like a drastic overreaction to a 2-0 start for Vanderbilt combined with no Sam Hartman for the Deacs, and I’ll take that 7 number and run with the Wake.