Seriously, is there anything as good as a good old-fashioned rivalry game to help get the new college football season started? That’s precisely what happens on Saturday in prime time. No. 21 North Carolina and South Carolina will lock horns in Charlotte, North Carolina, in one of Week 1’s marquee games. Expect plenty of big plays and points if these two teams look anything like the squads we saw last season.
North Carolina scored 34.4 points per game while allowing 30.8 points per game. The Gamecocks weren’t quite as prolific on offense, nor as porous on defense, but still scored 32.2 points per game while allowing 28.8 points per game. When these schools last met in 2021, South Carolina knocked off the Tar Heels 38-21. It was the seventh win in the last nine rivalry meetings for the Gamecocks, though the Tar Heels own a 35-20-4 advantage in the all-time series.
How to watch North Carolina vs. South Carolina liveDate: Saturday, September 2 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium — Charlotte, North Carolina
TV: ABC | Live stream: fubo (Try for free)
North Carolina vs. South Carolina: Need to knowIt’s an excellent battle of quarterbacks: North Carolina’s Drake Maye is usually mentioned in the same sentence as reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams of USC. Most consider them the two best quarterbacks in the country and the top two prospects in next year’s NFL Draft. Unfortunately, both also find themselves in situations where they must be prolific because they play on teams that can’t stop anybody defensively! While Maye will get a lot of the spotlight, don’t sleep on South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler. Though Rattler has never lived up to the massive hype surrounding him out of high school, he settled in well at South Carolina last year after transferring from Oklahoma. However, he did throw 12 interceptions, which is something he and the Gamecocks need to tighten up.
South Carolina turned the ball over too much last season: The Gamecocks won eight games and finished last year ranked in the top 25. If they want to repeat that feat this year, they need to take better care of the football. South Carolina turned the ball over 27 times last season. That’s 2.08 times per game. The only teams to finish with more turnovers last year were Rice (32), Northwestern (30) and Central Michigan (28). Those teams went a combined 10-27. That’s not the kind of company you want to keep.
The Heels enter on a four-game losing streak: North Carolina finished last year with a record of 9-5. That feels like a successful season in a vacuum. In truth, it left fans with a bitter taste in their mouth. That’s what happens when you start the season 9-1 and lose four straight to end the year. That included a home loss to Georgia Tech and a double-overtime loss to rival NC State. Clemson pounded the Tar Heels in the ACC Championship Game, and then the Oregon Ducks squeaked by them in the Holiday Bowl. One thing North Carolina can do to avoid the same streak this year? Well, it’d be nice if the defense managed to get stops.
North Carolina vs. South Carolina prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Given how porous these defenses were last year, I won’t blame you for taking the over if it looks more appealing, but I prefer this route. Frankly, I’m not sold on North Carolina this season. When I look at this roster, I see is Maye and a lot of question marks. While Maye is incredible, I worry about how this squad will stack up against good teams. While South Carolina isn’t going to win the SEC East, it’s a solid team with talent on both sides of the ball. As mentioned earlier, the Gamecocks have gotten the better end of this rivalry in recent years. If you bet the SEC team against the ACC team every time, you’re going to make money in the long run. Prediction: South Carolina +2.5
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 1? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $2,500 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons — and find out.