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Better Know a SEC Opponent: South Carolina

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Vanderbilt and the Gamecocks have a lot in common. For example, both teams won last week thanks to missed field goals from less than 30 yards out. I'm pretty sure that means the Commodores will be able to win this one.

The time-honored South Carolina tradition of sacrificing a teammate to the shrubs before every home game.
The time-honored South Carolina tradition of sacrificing a teammate to the shrubs before every home game.
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The School: The University of South Carolina

Record: 2-1 (2-0 SEC) (11-2 in 2013). By beating East Carolina in week two, the Gamecocks have made their case as 2014 Big Ten Champions.

Ranking: 14th in the AP poll, 16th in the Coaches' poll. South Carolina is ranked 11th in the Real Time RPI (52 spots ahead of Vandy, who is somehow ranked 63rd) and are ranked 36th in Warren Nolan's rankings (Vanderbilt is 112th).

Mascot: Gamecocks

Location: Columbia, South Carolina

Conference: SEC East (you knew this)

All-Time vs. Vanderbilt: 19-4. Vandy's wins over USC come in pairs every seven years. We'll see you in 2016-17, Spurrier.

In the past 10 years vs. Vanderbilt: 8-2. Carolina is currently riding a five-game win streak over the Commodores.

The Last Time We Saw These GuysSouth Carolina 35, Vandy 25. The 'Dores fell behind early due to James Franklin's superstitions about scoring in odd-numbered quarters and trailed 21-0 after 15 minutes of play. Vanderbilt rallied to 25-35 and looked like they'd make it a one-possession game when they recovered a USC fumble at the five-yard line, but Austyn Carta-Samuels threw an interception that sealed this one up.

On the plus side, Jadeveon Clowney failed to hit any Vanderbilt skill players so hard that they instantly became immortalized in .gif form.

Is Vanderbilt Favored?: hahahaha no. (+21.5)

Most Potent Offensive Threat: Dylan Thompson, quarterback. Through three games, Thompson has passed for 903 yards and eight touchdowns. His three-touchdown performance on a rainy Columbia day helped USC defeat #6 Georgia. After three years of backup duties, the senior is ready to stake his claim as an upper-tier quarterback in the SEC. This week's matchup with the 'Dores will give him a chance to pack some big yardage onto his stat line.

Vanderbilt struggled with the South Carolina offense in seasons where Conor Shaw was playing with one arm or the Commodore secondary was loaded with NFL-bound veteran talent. Now they'll face another strong Gamecock QB with a secondary that struggled to contain UMass last week. This may not go well.

Most Potent Defensive Threat: Skai Moore, linebacker. Moore chose South Carolina over Vanderbilt on National Signing Day back in 2013. Since then, all he's done is blossom into a Freshmen All-American and defeat three top-six teams in just 1.25 years of college football. BUT, it's entirely likely he'll go an entire career without facing UMass. So...you know, point for Vanderbilt.

Matchup to Watch: Nick Jones vs. Torren McGaster. It seems likely that Vandy will stick McGaster on USC's #1 wideout after watching Tre Bell get burned on several occasions last week vs. UMass. The Commodores' corners have plenty of questions to answer after last week's performance, but they'll get no respite from a Carolina team that's averaging four touchdowns per game this season. Vanderbilt has yet to force an interception this season - can McGaster and Bell recover from last week's performance to create some momentum-shifting turnovers in the secondary?

Interesting Fact: Steve Spurrier failed in his run as an NFL coach in part because he didn't have the annual support of Vanderbilt fans. Or, at least, that's what I choose to believe this quote was about:

An old friend, Pepper Rodgers, told him, "There are no Vanderbilts in the NFL." But Spurrier felt, how hard could it be to win in this pro league?

Bonus Fact!: There are 2,400 more female students attending South Carolina than male students. Strong ratio, Gamecocks. Maybe we change that nickname to [NICKNAME REDACTED BEFORE TUMBLR SHOWS UP].

If South Carolina wins, we: just keep drinking. Hey, at least it's a night game and not 12 minutes into an 11AM start time.