My, what a difference a week makes. After struggling to find one national writer pick Kentucky to beat Mississippi State last week, the national media is now all in on Benny and the Cats. Here’s a rundown of expert picks from across the interwebs.
The Kentucky hype train kept rolling Saturday night against Mississippi State, and it will be full steam ahead this week against South Carolina. Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley will be under fire from Wildcats linebacker Josh Allen and that fierce front seven, and he won’t be able to hold up for a full four quarters. Benny Snell will have another big day and break off a big run or two in the fourth quarter against a worn out South Carolina defense to lead the Wildcats to 5-0. Pick: Kentucky (-1.5)
From Eric Single, who picked South Carolina:
South Carolina has lost four straight against Kentucky, all by 10 points or less, and the extent to which the Gamecocks failed to slow down Georgia’s rushing attack in Week 2 doesn’t bode well for their chances of containing Benny Snell Jr., the nation’s third leading rusher. But Kentucky hasn’t played a team yet with an even moderately dangerous passing game—Florida’s Feleipe Franks and Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald both failed to surpass 50% completion rates against the Wildcats—and South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley has the weapons to put the hosts in an early hole, Deebo Samuel foremost among them. Kentucky may have to move away from Snell and into unchartered territory to play catch-up in this one.
Kentucky has a long, long, long history of getting its fans’ hopes up only to disappoint them, so coming out and laying an egg this week against a comparably talented South Carolina team would surprise absolutely no one. But I’m a believer in Benny and the ’Cats. Their 13th-ranked defense nationally should cause problems for Gamecocks QB Jake Bentley. Kentucky 30, South Carolina 21
In Benny we trust. Kentucky has been a revelation so far, and it was very impressive to see how much more physical they were last week against a talented Mississippi State team behind star RB Benny Snell. At home, I think the ’Cats keep rolling. Kentucky 27, South Carolina 20
Expect Kentucky to feature a heavy rush attack against South Carolina on Saturday. The Wildcats average an SEC-best 269 rushing yards per game; South Carolina’s defense ranks 75th nationally by surrendering 163 per contest. Benny Snell Jr., who leads the conference with 540 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, might be too much for South Carolina to keep up with. Kentucky wins tough and goes 3-0 in SEC play for the first time since 1977. Kentucky 31, South Carolina 23