Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
South Carolina QB Jake Bentley has 5 touchdown passes and no turnovers in his last three games.

Previewing the South Carolina-Vanderbilt game; plus, Gamecocks to appear on SEC on CBS

Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more. Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.

South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt on the ‘Winnability Meter’

With five games left in the season, the Gamecocks could be favored in as many as three. SEC Country’s David Caraviello previewed the rest of the schedule and assigned each a score on his “Winnability Meter.”

Caraviello likes South Carolina’s chances over Vanderbilt, putting the game at a 7 out of 10 in terms of winnability.

“That Gamecocks defense, at home against an opposing offense that doesn’t really know what it is right now? That South Carolina offense, with an extra week to throw in a few wrinkles, against an opposing defense that’s been lit up the last month?” Caraviello wrote. “The Gamecocks have long had a Jedi mind trick over Vandy, winning even in the train wreck of Steve Spurrier’s final season, and again in the opener last year. It’s hard to believe it won’t continue when so much is going right.”

Ready to start

As the Gamecocks prepare for the second half of the season, one of their biggest priorities is to get off to faster starts.

“For whatever reason, sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley has started slow in several games this season, though he’s finished strong in most of them, the exceptions being North Carolina State and Texas A&M,” SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan wrote. “In order to maximize the Gamecocks’ potential win total this season, it would help if Bentley plays well from the opening whistle to the final buzzer.”

The Gamecocks’ sophomore signal caller is fourth in the SEC with 1,585 yards and tied for fourth with 12 touchdown passes.

South Carolina-Georgia set for CBS

South Carolina and Georgia’s annual showdown will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS on Saturday, Nov. 4, the conference announced on Monday.

This will be the Gamecocks’ first appearance on the SEC on CBS program this season.

South Carolina and Georgia have split the last 10 games, with the Bulldogs winning 28-14 last season in Columbia. Georgia is looking for their third straight win in the series.

Gamecocks check in on 2018 QB

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp was in the Charleston area on Friday checking out 3-star 2018 QB and Wake Forest commit Sam Hartman before going to see his son’s team play.

Hartman plays for Oceanside Collegiate Academy (Mount Pleasant, S.C.) and coach Chad Grier, father of West Virginia QB Will Grier. The younger Grier signed to play for Muschamp at Florida.

Hartman is rated as the No. 26 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2018, according to the 247Sports composite.

South Carolina to host hurricane relief exhibition

South Carolina basketball will host Virginia Tech for the Hoops 4 Hurricane Relief exhibition game on Nov. 5.

“During our August NABC Board of Director meetings, we asked the NCAA to consider allowing schools to play an additional exhibition game to help give relief to the different communities that have been affected by the storms,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said.

“The NCAA should be commended in allowing schools to play games like the one we will play against Virginia Tech to help raise much-needed funds to the communities that are in dire need of our help.”

Both teams made it to the NCAA Tournament last season. Virginia Tech lost to Wisconsin, 84-74, in the first round, while South Carolina made its first-ever Final Four appearance, falling to Gonzaga, 77-73.

The Gamecocks officially open the season on Nov. 10 at Wofford.

Best shots of the season

Katie Dugan of The Big Spur unveiled her favorite photos from the South Carolina football season thus far.

The collection includes shots from throughout the season, from wide receiver Deebo Samuel’s season-opening kickoff return touchdown against North Carolina State to the Gamecocks’ postgame celebration at Neyland Stadium following their 15-9 win over the Tennessee Volunteers in Week 7.

All-American on the field, in the ring

Jeff Owens of Spurs & Feathers has a detailed look at the life of former South Carolina offensive lineman Del Wilkes.

Wilkes, a Columbia native, grew up idolizing the Gamecocks and eventually starred for his hometown team in the mid-1980s under legendary coach Joe Morrison.

After earning All-America honors following the 1984 season, Wilkes went on to a successful professional wrestling career as The Patriot.

Following his retirement from the ring in the early 2000s, injuries had taken their toll and Wilkes became addicted to painkillers, spending time in and out of rehabs and prison. It was behind bars that the former All-American became a winner beyond the gridiron and the squared circle, clean and sober for nearly 15 years.

“Prison helped me,” Wilkes told Spurs & Feathers. “Getting there where I couldn’t get that medication and those pills, you finally get clearheaded enough to realize, brother, you have made a mess of your life, a big mess. You can keep doing what you’re doing when you get out and you will be back, if not dead. Or you can put this behind you and still have a very productive life and do something.”

Craving more Chicken & Waffles? Get your fix with previous versions here.