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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Make note of the late afternoon starting time! Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. CT, and 3 p.m. Las Vegas time, the North Carolina Tar Heels and South Carolina Gamecocks will square off in the first college football game of the 2013 season. ESPN’s cameras will be there for what’s shaping up as a fascinating battle between the high-speed North Carolina offense and the crushingly physical South Carolina defense.

We’ll run some numbers from you every day this week in the marquee TV games. Let’s jump right in to this one…a game we know ALL of you will be watching while trying to win your Vegas bets!


2012 Records

North Carolina: 8-4 (ineligible for bowl)

South Carolina: 11-2 (beat Michigan in Outback Bowl)

South Carolina’s only two losses were on the road against LSU and Florida. No shame in that in the brutal SEC. They scored double digit wins over both Georgia and Clemson…highly regarded teams you’ll see playing each other this Saturday Night. Their win over Michigan in the Outback Bowl was a highlight show for both teams.

North Carolina’s pedigree isn’t nearly the same. They dropped games to Wake Forest and Duke last year. The Heels did have a quality loss at Louisville which looked better as the season went on. They weren’t eligible for a bowl appearance because of off-field issues.


2012 Offense Rankings

N. Carolina: 14 in total offense (26 in passing, 33 in rushing)

S. Carolina: 82 in total offense (57 in passing, 89 in rushing)

You may not have seen North Carolina much on TV in your neck of the woods last year. They weren’t in many prominent national telecasts. You may not be aware that they’ve installed a VERY fast-paced offense that can lead to some shootouts. They have the more potent of the two attacks on the field Thursday…so some of that is an illusion created by pace. Carolina runs more plays...which helps them pad the boxscore. In terms of pure talent, there’s not nearly the kind of difference between these teams that those numbers would suggest.


2012 Defense Rankings

N. Carolina: 56 in total defense (81 in passing, 40 in rushing)

S. Carolina: 11 in total defense (21 in passing, 17 in rushing)

South Carolina has one of the scariest defenses in the country…which the NFL is looking to take advantage of very soon! North Carolina’s numbers are hurt a bit by playing in up-tempo games. The Heels probably aren’t as bad as those rankings make it look. Still, there’s no doubt about who had the better defense.


Returning Starters (Projected Quarterback)

N. Carolina: 6 on offense, 7 on defense (Brynn Renner)

S. Carolina: 6 on offense, 5 on defense (Connor Shaw)

Both teams are in similar boats in terms of returning experience. Some pundits think Renner has NFL potential. But, that may be the yardage talking rather than his true talent. We’ll have a much better sense of that tonight when he faces a much better defense than anything he saw last year. Shaw of SC is more of a game manager. That will get the job done generally…but makes it hard to sweep the board in all of your toughest games. You have to do that to win the SEC!

Current Vegas Line: South Carolina by 12, total of 57

South Carolina is getting respect for home field…respect for being from the SEC…and respect from the public who saw them on TV much more often last year than the Heels. Has the line gone too high? Or, will North Carolina get bullied badly while stepping up in class against a national power?

JIM HURLEY has literally been handicapping this game since the moment the schedules were announced. He knows YOU want to get the 2013 season off on the right foot. He knows that every dollar you win Thursday can be multiplied over and over again through the Labor Day Weekend. That’s why he’s covered every angle with a fine-toothed comb. If there’s an edge to be found on the side or total…HE FOUND IT!

You can purchase the full Thursday slate right here at the website with your credit card. Be sure to take care of business early in the day because of this NC/SC starting time! If you have any questions about service, call the office at 1-800-323-4453. Sign up for the full season of college and pro action to get the most bang for your buck!

Back with you tomorrow as our opening week game previews continue…

Friday: Texas Tech at SMU on ESPN

Saturday: Georgia at Clemson on ABC

Sunday: Ohio at Louisville on ESPN

Monday: Florida State at Pittsburgh on ESPN

The KICKOFF IN THE CAROLINAS is going to bring you COLD, HARD CASH! Hook up today with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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