2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl Preview
The Chick-fil-A Bowl will feature two teams coming off of losses in their conference championships. Florida State lost in the ACC title game to Virginia Tech and enters the bowl game with an overall record of 9-4. South Carolina got blown out by Auburn in the SEC championship, the second time they lost to Auburn this year. The Gamecocks went 5-3 in ACC play and 9-4 overall this year. The Chick-fil-A Bowl will be the second bowl game featuring an ACC team against an SEC team this bowl season. North Carolina (ACC) plays Tennessee (SEC) in the Music City Bowl on December 30th (Music City Bowl Preview).
When South Carolina has the Ball
The Gamecocks played well on offense under coach Steve Spurrier, averaging 32 points per game this season. Quarterback Stephen Garcia was solid this year with 2816 yards and 20 touchdowns. Garcia has one of the best wide receivers in the country to throw to in Alshon Jeffery. The sophomore wide receiver had a big year 1387 yards and 9 touchdowns. Jeffrey is a match up problem for anytime with his blend of size (6’4″, 233 pounds) and athleticism. The Gamecocks can also run the football with running back Marcus Lattimore. As a freshman this year Lattimore ran for 1198 yards and 17 touchdowns.
The Florida State Seminoles had a great season defensively holding their opponents to 19.8 points per game on average. The Seminoles defense lead the nation with 46 sacks on the season. Defensive end Brandon Jenkins was a beast this year with 13 sacks, second most in the country this year behind Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers. The Seminoles pass rush will be getting after Stephen Garcia all day.
When Florida State has the Ball
The Seminoles averaged 31.8 points per game this year thanks to a balanced offense. Florida State averaged 167 yards rushing and 219 yards passing per game. Quarterback Christian Ponder played well this season with 2038 yards and 20 touchdowns. Ponder sat out the ACC championship against Virginia Tech with an elbow injury, but he is expected to start practicing on December 26th and be ready to play against South Carolina on New Year’s Eve. Chris Thompson and Ty Jones will split carries at running back. Thompson averaged 6.5 yards per carry and Jones averaged 6.3.
South Carolina’s defense looked pretty good this season until giving up 56 points to Auburn in the SEC Championship game. The Gamecocks also gave up 41 points in a loss to Arkansas on November 6th. For the season, South Carolina gave up 22.9 points per game on average.
2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl Prediction
The offenses seem pretty equal in this game so the team with the better defensive performance should come out on top. The Seminoles are stronger on defense and do an outstanding job of getting after the opposing quarterback. South Carolina will need to find a way to neutralize the pass rush and give Garcia time to find Alshon Jeffrey.
If you are betting on all the college bowl games, South Carolina is favored by 3 points and the over/under is set at 54.5. I think Florida State will win the game outright and I would put my money on the under. Good Luck!
Prediction: Florida State 27 – South Carolina 21