Editor's note: Brian Edwards owns a 30-13 record (70%, +1577) in college football this year. Get signed up for his season package now or check out his pick pack for Saturday!
South Carolina stole the show in Week 6 of the college football season, announcing itself as a legitimate national-title contender by smashing Georgia early and often in a 35-7 win as a 1 ½-point home favorite. The Gamecocks raced out to a 21-0 lead with 5:18 remaining in the first quarter and it was over that quickly.
The 42 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 54 ½-point total.
South Carolina won for the 10th straight time, breaking a school record. Connor Shaw produced 240 yards (162 passing, 78 rushing) and three touchdowns, throwing for a pair of scores without being intercepted. Marcus Lattimore rushed 24 times for 109 yards and one touchdown.
With the victory, South Carolina saw its odds to win the BCS Championship reduced to 7/1 at Sportsbook.ag. The Gamecocks have the second-shortest odds (3/1) to win the SEC.
As of early Tuesday morning, most betting shops had South Carolina listed as a 2 ½-point underdog for Saturday’s game at LSU. The total for ‘over/under’ wagers is 40 ½ points.
During Steve Spurrier’s tenure, the Gamecocks own a 12-8-1 spread record in 21 games as a road underdog. The Tigers haven’t lost at home since losing a 13-3 decision to the Gators in 2009.
Before Spurrier’s squad dealt out woodshed treatment to UGA, improving his career coaching record against the Dawgs to 15-5, his alma mater appeared to be the story of the day.
In the biggest game of Will Muschamp’s brief two-year tenure at Florida, his team took on his personality and won a football game the way most SEC games were won in 1980s. In other words, the Gators looked nothing like Spurrier’s Fun-N-Gun teams.
Instead, they won with defense and running the football. For the first time in a long time, the Gators beat an elite team by physically dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
Mike Gillislee ran 34 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns, while UF’s defense allowed LSU only one third-conversion in 13 attempts. Florida still hasn’t allowed its five foes to score a point in the fourth quarter.
UF plays Saturday at Vanderbilt in a classic sandwich spot. The Gators are coming off the huge win over LSU with South Carolina on deck.
While Florida fans celebrated its biggest win since 2008, the good times only got better when North Carolina St. rallied from a 16-0 deficit to stun previously-undefeated Florida St., 17-16, in Raleigh.
Mike Glennon threw a two-yard TD pass to Bryan Underwood on fourth and goal with 16 ticks left to lift the Wolfpack to a huge win as a 16 ½-point home underdog. The fourth-down conversion was the third on the game-winning drive.
West Va. stayed undefeated by capturing a 48-45 win over Texas as a 6 ½-point road underdog. Geno Smith threw four touchdown passes without an interception, improving his touchdown-to-interception ratio to 24/0.
The Mountaineers are back on the road again this week, venturing to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech. Speaking of the Red Raiders, they lost for the first time Saturday when Oklahoma avenged last year’s loss in Norman by collecting a 41-20 triumph.
At this point last week, we could’ve accurately said that there was no campus in America going through a tougher 2012 campaign than the one in Fayetteville. However, following Arkansas’ 24-7 win at Auburn, the Loneliest Village on The Plains has to take the honors.
Welcome to the hot seat, Gene Chizik. Two years after winning it all behind the talents of Cam Newton and Nick Fairley, the Auburn head coach is in trouble. No fan base in the nation is more prone to turning against a head coach faster, and we’re being reminder of that fact right now at AU.
If the Tigers lose in Oxford this weekend, watch out! And don’t think for a second that Auburn is above bringing in Bobby Petrino as its next head coach.
Duke improved to 5-1 for the first time since 1994 with a 42-17 demolition of Virginia, which remains the nation’s only team without a spread cover. The Blue Devils are one win away from being bowl eligible for the first time since ’94.
Missouri remains winless in SEC play after dropping a 19-15 decision to Vandy as a 6 ½-point home favorite. Things don’t get any easier for Gary Pinkel’s squad, which will host top-ranked Alabama this week without starting QB James Franklin, who is ‘out’ with a knee injury.
**Games of the Year**
--Sportsbook has had South Carolina’s regular-season finale at Clemson as a pick ‘em for the last several weeks. However, after their domination of Georgia, the offshore book has moved the Gamecocks to four-point favorites against their bitter in-state rivals. South Carolina is a three-point underdog at Florida and a 20-point home favorite vs. Arkansas.
--Oregon is favored by 2 ½ for its Nov. 3 showdown at Southern Cal. The Ducks are favored by 19 at California, 17 ½ vs. Stanford and 13 ½ at Oregon St.
--With UF’s vs. LSU, coupled with Georgia’s loss at South Carolina, the line for the UF-UGA showdown in Jacksonville is now a pick ‘em. The Bulldogs were favored by five last week.
--Alabama is now a seven-point favorite at LSU on Nov. 3.
--Iron Bowl line: Alabama -30 vs. Auburn.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--Florida is a 7 ½-point favorite at Vanderbilt. The Gators haven’t lost in Nashville since 1988. Vandy owns a perfect 9-0 spread record at home under James Franklin.
--Although Ole Miss has lost 16 consecutive SEC games, it is favored by 4 ½ at home Saturday vs. Auburn.
--Oregon St. starting quarterback Sean Mannion is ‘out’ indefinitely with a knee injury. Cody Vaz has been named the starter Saturday at BYU. The Cougars also lost QB Taysom Hill to an injury last week, so Riley Nelson will get the starting nod. Nelson had missed the last two games with a back injury. As of Tuesday morning, most spots still had the game off the board, but a few books had BYU installed as a 2 ½-point home favorite.
--Fresno St. is the nation’s only team with a 6-0 spread record. The Bulldogs are seven-point underdogs this week at Boise St. They have lost six straight to the Broncos by an average score of 50-16.
--Could Penn St. be the second-best team in the Big Ten? The Nittany Lions have covered the spread in five consecutive games following Saturday’s 39-28 come-from-behind win over previously unbeaten Northwestern as three-point home favorites. Senior quarterback Matt McGloin completed 35-of-51 passes for 282 yards and two TDs without an interception. For the season, McGloin has a 12/2 TD-INT ratio and five rushing touchdowns. PSU has an open date this week before playing at Iowa.
--By covering the spread in a 6-3 loss at BYU on Friday night, Utah St. improved to 13-2 ATS as a road underdog on Gary Andersen’s watch.
--Click here to check out my Power Rankings going into Week 7.
Brian Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For daily sports gambling analysis, follow Brian Edwards on twitter at Vegasbedwards.