Vols Open as Home Underdogs to South Carolina

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    (Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics)

    After getting their first SEC victory of the season last week and giving No. 1 Alabama a scare in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Tennessee has to be feeling a lot better about themselves than they did three or four weeks ago. Even with the improvement in play, though, the Vols will be underdogs once again this upcoming weekend.

    According to lines released by Circa Sports, an online sports betting site, South Carolina has opened up as a 4.5-point favorite over the Vols ahead of next weekend’s match-up in Knoxville. Tennessee (2-5, 1-3 SEC) will host the Gamecocks (3-4, 2-3 SEC) for a 4:00 PM Eastern kick-off on Saturday, October 26th.

    While the Vols have been playing better as of late, so has South Carolina. The Gamecocks pulled off a stunning upset over then-No. 3 Georgia last weekend, beating the Bulldogs 20-17 in double-overtime even after starting quarterback Ryan Hilinski exited due to injury. The Gamecocks intercepted Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm three times en route to the victory. South Carolina followed that up with a hard-fought contest against No. 9 Florida in Columbia, leading the Gators in the third quarter before eventually falling 38-27.

    All-time, Tennessee has dominated the series against South Carolina, owning a 25-10-2 record against the Gamecocks. But South Carolina has turned the tables over the last decade, going 6-3 against the Vols since 2010, including three-straight wins dating back to 2016.

    The Vols have never beaten South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, either. Tennessee couldn’t defeat Muschamp’s Florida Gators teams while he was head coach there, and Muschamp is a perfect 3-0 against the Vols while serving as South Carolina’s head coach.

    The last seven meetings between the Vols and Gamecocks have been decided by less than a touchdown, and six of those seven games have seen the margin of victory be three points or less. South Carolina won 27-24 in Columbia last season, 15-9 in Knoxville in 2017, and 24-21 in Columbia in 2016. The Vols won 27-24 in 2015, defeated the Gamecocks in comeback fashion on the road in 2014 by a score of 45-42 in overtime, and won 23-21 in an upset over a No. 11 South Carolina squad in 2013. The Gamecocks won 38-35 over the Vols in 2012.

    Last year, Tennessee entered the game as a 10.5-point underdog on the road against the Gamecocks, marking the first time since 2014 that the Vols were underdogs to South Carolina. This upcoming Saturday will be the eighth time in the last 12 games between the two teams that the Gamecocks will be the favorites heading into the match-up.

    On the season, Tennessee is 1-3 as an underdog with their lone win coming against Mississippi State last weekend. The Vols were five-point underdogs in that contest and beat the Bulldogs at home by a score of 20-10.

    With Jeremy Pruitt as head coach, the Vols are 3-10 as underdogs. Tennessee’s only underdog victories in the Pruitt era have come against Auburn and Kentucky last season and against Mississippi State this season.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.