College Football 2023 Win Totals: Gamecocks Are a Lock For Over
We’re just one day away before Navy and Notre Dame kickoff the college football season (Saturday, Aug. 26, 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCA) and I’ve already written about my predictions for that game.
So that’s seven that I like to exceed odds on their win totals, which I’m using from FanDuel Sportsbook, one of our favorite sports betting sites among many, including DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM.
Let’s make it a great eight with one more pick: South Carolina.
(Aside: Tomorrow I’ll give you my picks to make the four-team playoff).
As far as the Gamecocks go, first, they have a great coach in Shane Beamer, the son of College Football Hall of Fame coach Frank Beamer.
They also have a potential NFL first-round draft pick at quarterback: Shane Rattler. His last name is apropos because he can be rattled at times behind the pocket.
But he and South Carolina’s offense improved dramatically down the stretch last season, winning against Tennessee and Clemson in back-to-back weeks – both uspets – and then damn near beating Notre Dame in the highest-scoring Gator Bowl ever (45-38).
South Carolina’s passing offense finished 41st in the country last season (260 yards per game) and that figures to improve this season because of two special talents arriving in Columbia, S.C., that will help Rattler and new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, the former tight ends coach at Arkansas.
The first is a five-star freshman do-it-all athlete extraordinaire, who many claim will become a household name during this season: Nyckoles Harbor.
He is going to be like Calvin Johnson was at Georgia Tech. He certainly looks like the real deal. When writing about this top freak, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic wrote:
“In two decades of doing this, I don’t think I’ve ever had a true freshman No. 1, but this player is different. At 6 feet 5, 243 pounds, the prized former five-star recruit is insanely fast. Videos of his high school races in which he roars past other speedsters that barely come up to his shoulders have gone viral.
Seeing Harbor in person last fall on his official visit to Michigan, I couldn’t believe just how big he actually was. He looked more like a young power forward than a potential future Olympic sprinter. The son of former U.S. national soccer team forward Jean Harbor put up some eye-catching track times in high school, clocking a 10.22-second 100-meter dash, a 6.64 in the 60 and a 20.63 in the 200. In training with the Gamecocks this summer, Harbor hit 22.9 miles per hour on the GPS.
Earlier this month, I asked one of his coaches at South Carolina, Jody Wright, who has coached in the NFL and with Alabama — where he worked with both Julio Jones and Derrick Henry — how he compares. “I would say a taller Julio with a Derrick Henry-type build is a great comparison,” Wright says. “He has the potential to develop into a mismatch nightmare with his size and speed.” Harbor is much taller and heavier than both former Alabama stars, and yet his 100 time in high school was almost a full second faster than both of theirs.
Head coach Shane Beamer has loved what he’s seen from Harbor so far. “Great kid. His speed is as advertised,” Beamer says of the Washington, D.C., native, who averaged almost 30 yards per catch in 2022 after notching 17 sacks in 2021. Beamer and his staff also have been impressed by Harbor’s toughness; he’s not one to shy away from contact.”
The second new piece is Arkansas transfer/tight end Trey Knox who’s also 6-foot-5 and will pose problems for opposing defenses.
There is no doubt that South Carolina’s offense is going to put up plenty of points.
Here’s the problem: Their schedule is brutal.
College football expert Phil Steele calls it the most difficult in the country and it all starts with an opening week showdown against rival North Carolina in Charlotte.
The Tar Heels have star quarterback and potential Heisman winner Drake Maye and tons of weapons on offense.
This rivalry game will be a fun battle and we’ll know about both Carolinas by the end of that one
South Carolina suffered a major loss when defensive end Jordan Burch transferred to Oregon and it’s anyone’s guess how the D will be.
I’m expecting shootout contests in many of these games. Here’s their schedule for 2023 with bolded games picked as victories.
Sept. 2 North Carolina (in Charlotte)
Sept. 9 Furman
Sept. 16 at Georgia
Sept. 23 Mississippi State
Sept. 30 at Tennessee
Oct. 14 Florida
Oct. 21 at Missouri
Oct. 28 at Texas A&M
Nov. 4 Jacksonville State
Nov. 11 Vanderbilt
Nov. 18 Kentucky
Nov. 25 Clemson
South Carolina Regular Season Wins 2023
Over 6.5 Wins +144
Under 6.5 Wins -178
Money is going against the Gamecocks but I’m saying they’re going to get to 8 wins, but at least 7, simply because of their dynamic offense.
They’ll be fun to watch and put up a ton of points.
Book this one now.