After pulling two huge upsets over College Football Playoff hopefuls, South Carolina will look to beat a third big name to close out the season as they face Notre Dame in the 2022 Gator Bowl this afternoon.
The Gamecocks (8-4) and Irish (8-4) are set for a 3:30 pm ET kickoff from TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, and the game will can be seen on ESPN and the ESPN app.
Both teams are 8-4, but one team’s 8-4 is more of a positive than the other team’s 8-4.
Notre Dame went into the season with a top-10 ranking and high expectations under first-year coach Marcus Freeman. But the Irish started 0-2, and even though they picked up some impressive wins, a bowl win will put only so much of a shine on a disappointing campaign.
The Gamecocks appeared to be on the way to finishing the regular season with the same record–6-6, 3-5 in the SEC–as they did last season, as they were 6-4, 3-4 SEC entering their final two games of the season against Tennessee and at Clemson.
But they scored 63 points against Tennessee in a blowout win then dug themselves out of an early 14-0 hole to stun Clemson 31-30, their first win over the Tigers since 2013.
Will South Carolina wrap things up and finish with nine wins for the first time since 2017? Read on for our Notre Dame vs South Carolina prediction, as well as our 2022 Gator Bowl picks.
Notre Dame vs South Carolina Odds
Game odds are via BetOnline as of Friday, December 30, 2022, at 11:10 am ET. This article may also include odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites.
- Notre Dame -3.5 (-110)
- South Carolina +3.5 (-110)
- Over 50.5 (-106)
- Under 50.5 (-114)
- Notre Dame -172
- South Carolina +142
Can Healthy Buchner Deliver for Notre Dame?
In Notre Dame’s second game of the season, an upset loss at home to Marshall, starting QB Tyler Buchner went down with a shoulder injury.
In stepped Drew Pyne, who would start the final ten games of the regular season, winning eight and losing to Stanford and USC.
Pyne will get another crack at the Trojans next season, but it won’t be at Notre Dame, as he transferred to Arizona State earlier this month.
So, Buchner, who has recovered from his injury, will be back in the starting role against the Gamecocks.
But he will be without the team’s top pass-catcher, as tight end Michael Mayer has declared for the 2023 NFL Draft and opted out of the bowl game after leading the Irish in catches (67), receiving yards (809), and touchdown catches (nine).
Buchner wasn’t very effective against Ohio State and Marshall, so it will be interesting to see how he does after a long layoff. Pyne didn’t have many big games, and he completed more than 60% of his passes in only two of his final seven games after doing so in each of his first three starts.
But he threw only six picks in 254 passes, didn’t take many sacks (only 15 in 10 games), and made some plays with his feet.
The ground game is going to need to flourish, either way. It didn’t in their four losses, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry, compared to 4.9 yards per carry in their wins.
Will Rattler Rack Up More Big Numbers?
After going from preseason Heisman contender to losing his starting role to Caleb Williams at Oklahoma last season, Spencer Rattler transferred to South Carolina.
For much of this season, he wasn’t overly impressive for the Gamecocks. But the light came on in the money minutes for Rattler, who threw for 438 yards and six touchdowns in the upset of Tennessee and 360 yards and tallied three total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in the comeback against Clemson.
It remains to be seen if Rattler returns to South Carolina next season, but if he doesn’t, he can leave behind some fond memories if he continues this late-season star turn against Notre Dame.
He’ll also be without some key pieces on offense, in leading rusher Marshawn Lloyd and tight ends Jaheim Bell–the team’s second-leading rusher and one of the team’s top receiving targets–and Austin Stogner, all of whom have hit the portal.
Also, receiver Josh Vann, who is third on the team in receiving yards, didn’t travel with the team, and Jalen Brooks, who finished second on the team in catches and yards, is unlikely to play.
But Rattler does at least have Juice Wells, the team’s leading receiver. Wells had 11 catches for 177 yards in the win over Tennessee and nine catches for 131 yards and two scores in the win over Clemson, and he has 63 catches for 898 yards and six scores.
Notre Dame vs South Carolina Prediction & Picks
Notre Dame vs South Carolina Prediction: South Carolina to win
Notre Dame vs South Carolina Picks: South Carolina +3.5 & South Carolina ML
Those are some heavy losses for Rattler to contend with, but the Gamecocks are in a better position than the Irish, who are starting a QB who hasn’t played since the second game of the season and wasn’t all that great when he was in previously.
You are going to get fairly similar value across the board at our recommended online sportsbooks with both the ML and spread, so you can’t go wrong wherever you place these bets.
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