Florida vs. South Carolina prediction, pick, odds, spread, how to watch live stream, game time, TV channel

By OnlyGators.com Staff
October 14, 2023
Florida vs. South Carolina prediction, pick, odds, spread, how to watch live stream, game time, TV channel

Image Credit: Michael Nash

The Florida Gators got back in the winning column last week back in the friendly confines of their home stadium. The environment will be far less welcoming this week as they visit Williams-Brice Stadium to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks while looking to overcome the road woes that have plagued the program for significant portions of the last three seasons.

Florida is 1-7 away from home under head coach Billy Napier, getting outscored in those games by an average of 10.6 points. Even worse, the Gators are 1-10 in their last 11 true road games and 2-4 in their last six trips to Columbia. In other words, the setting won’t be on UF’s side.

The matchup? That’s another story (which you can read about below). A win over South Carolina would end the first half of Florida’s season on a positive note with the Gators sitting only one game away from bowl eligibility. While a 6-1 mark entering the bye week would have been the best-case scenario this season, 5-2 would hardly be something to thumb one’s nose at … particularly if Florida is able to simultaneously end its road struggles.

Given the Gators have dealt with significant injury issues across the offensive line while integrating a new quarterback and defensive coordinator, a 5-2 record would show progress and take a lot of heat off Napier’s back. The opposite, though, would be true if Florida sits 4-3 after this week. It would be a mark below expectations for a Gators team that should be making strides in Year 2 under their new chief.

Plenty rides on this result. What will go down Saturday afternoon? Let’s find out.

Don’t miss our Florida Football Friday Final covering thoughts from Napier entering this Week 7 showdown. Plus, take a look at the updated Gators depth chart.

Tale of the tape

Florida GatorsSouth Carolina Gamecocks
Head coachBilly NapierShane Beamer
Record4-2 (2-1)2-3 (1-2)

Injuries and absences

Active (3): OL Austin Barber (lower body), RB Trevor Etienne (concussion), DB Ja’Markis Weston (upper body)
Questionable (1): TE Dante Zanders (Lower body)
Out (7): C Kingsley Eguakun (ankle), WR Caleb Douglas (leg), WR Andy Jean (lower body) TE Keon Zipperer (lower body), OL Caden Jones (foot), TE Jonathan Odom (upper body), WR Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman (lower body)
Out for season (2): DL Justus Boone (knee), RB Cam Carroll (knee)

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Oct. 14 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Williams-Brice Stadium — Columbia, South Carolina [77,559]

TV: SEC Network (Taylor Zarzour, Matt Stinchcomb, Alyssa Lang)
Live stream: ESPN+ | SiriusXM: 134/192 | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Game notes

» Florida is 30-10-3 all-time against South Carolina with a 12-8-1 edge in Columbia.
» The Gators won last year in the first meeting between Napier and Beamer. UF has won four of the last five and seven of the last nine meetings since 2015; however, it is just 2-4 over the last six in Columbia.
» Florida is 1-7 away from home under Napier. It has lost three straight such games and been outscored across all eight contests by an average of 10.6 points.
» Dating back to the prior regime, UF is on a 1-13 drought away from The Swamp with a 1-10 mark in its last 11 true road games.
» The Gators entered the season with 35 new scholarship players on the roster, tied for 12th most in the FBS. They also had just 115 combined starts returning, second-fewest in the nation, and only 69 returning players, ninth-fewest in the nation.
» UF has played more freshmen in every game this season (11) than any other team in the country.
» Florida under Napier is 9-0 when leading after the third quarter and 9-2 when rushing for at least 150 yards. However, UF is 3-6 when opponents score first, 1-5 when scoring less than 21 points, 3-9 when allowing 21+ points, 1-9 when tied or trailing after the third quarter and 1-6 when being outrushed.
» Florida is only 34-11 against unranked opponents since 2018.
» The Gators have scored in 442 consecutive games, an NCAA record.

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida +2 | O/U: 52

These teams are somewhat mirror images of one another this season when it comes to results: taking care of business against lower teams but struggling against top competition. The one difference is Tennessee, against which Florida won in dominant fashion at home, while South Carolina got whipped by nearly the same margin on the road. But even with such drastically different results against a common opponent, the Gators’ road woes have to weigh into any prediction. Florida has been straight abhorrent away from home under Napier — and it’s a trend that dated back to the final year of the prior regime.

Looking at the metrics, the Gators outclass the ‘Cocks in nearly every advanced analytics category; however, South Carolina has a decisive special teams advantage to go along with its homefield advantage. The ‘Cocks also have a rest advantage (coming off the bye). That would normally speak to a South Carolina victory.

The problem is that the hosts struggle to stop the run and bring in a secondary that is week against high-efficiency passers … which is exactly what Florida does best offensively. The other key is that kickoff is 3:30 p.m. ET. Diving into the Gators’ road woes, they are far more susceptible to poor play with noon kickoffs. Even in afternoon and evening losses, they have played far better at those times than in games held during the first window.

This is a coin flip, but it’s worth siding with the Gators. Florida outrushed South Carolina 374-44 last season and held Spencer Rattler to 193 yards passing with a worse defense. Anthony Richardson only completed 11 of 23 passes for 112 yards in that game, which was a 38-6 win. The margin will be far closer this year, but UF should have every chance to win (and cover) in a game more likely to fall under the elevated total.

2023 records: ATS picks 2-4 | O/U picks 4-2 | Underdog SU picks 1-0

Odds and ends

» Uniforms: Florida will wear white jerseys, blue pants and orange helmets. (Fun fact: UF will not wear orange jerseys or pants at all this season.)

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