The Tennessee Volunteers take on the South Carolina Gamecocks. Check out our college football odds series for our Tennessee South Carolina prediction and pick.

The Tennessee Volunteers have a very special opportunity in front of them. If they win their next two games, they could put themselves in prime position to make the College Football Playoff. To be honest, the Vols' odds of making the playoff have to be better than 50-50, because they are a huge favorite to beat South Carolina. They will be an even bigger favorite next week against in-state rival Vanderbilt. If the Vols simply win those two games, they will finish 11-1 with wins over LSU and Alabama. That's a very impressive resume which will be hard to ignore when the four playoff teams are selected.

Tennessee just needs a little bit of help to secure a playoff spot in the event that it finishes 11-1. First, Tennessee needs LSU to lose to Georgia in the upcoming SEC Championship Game on Dec. 3. As long as LSU doesn't pull off the huge upset in Atlanta, the Tigers won't be able to make a stunning surprise run to the playoff. Tennessee will be the SEC's second playoff team with Alabama out of the mix. LSU could rise above the Vols because the Tigers would be the SEC champion with a win over Georgia. That might overcome the fact that LSU has two losses. It's the number one thing Tennessee needs, and it's a very probable outcome. Georgia will be a clear favorite over LSU.

If Georgia does beat LSU, Tennessee might still have a problem getting in if both TCU and USC win out. TCU and USC would be conference champions, which is something Tennessee can't claim. As long as at least one of the two teams — TCU or USC — loses another game, Tennessee should get in if it has an 11-1 record. The Vols would join Georgia, the Ohio State-Michigan winner, and maybe Clemson. TCU would finish ahead of Tennessee if it goes 13-0. If the Frogs lose to Baylor, that would make Tennessee very happy.

South Carolina’s passing game under quarterback Spencer Rattler has not been what anyone in Columbia hoped it would be. Rattler just hasn't been able to become the elite passer many recruiting analysts expected when he went to Oklahoma. The change of scenery in South Carolina has not proved to be transformative. Head coach Shane Beamer used to work under Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma, so the thought was that he could unlock Rattler's talents. It just hasn't happened.

South Carolina would love to ruin Tennessee's season. In order to do that, the Gamecocks would have to do something very special and play their very best game of 2022 (by a large margin).

Here are the Tennessee-South Carolina NCAA Football Odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

College Football Odds: Tennessee-South Carolina Odds

Tennessee Volunteers: -21.5 (-114)

South Carolina Gamecocks: +21.5 (-106)

Over: 65.5 (-115)

Under: 65.5 (-105)

Why Tennessee Could Cover the Spread

You saw the Vols go wild against Missouri last week. They are rolling up the numbers when they don't play Georgia. Hendon Hooker is squarely in the mix for the Heisman Trophy. South Carolina is not going to stop this offense.

Why South Carolina Could Cover the Spread

The Gamecocks are going to treat this game as their Super Bowl. They are playing at home, at night, before a roaring crowd which wants the big upset. It might not be enough to win, but it will certainly be enough to cover. Tennessee's defense is weak enough and inconsistent enough that South Carolina can make its share of big plays and stay close.

Final Tennessee-South Carolina Prediction & Pick

This is a game to stay away from. Tennessee is obviously the better team, but the Vols might be a little mentally weary near the end of a long season which has challenged them. They might let up just a little. If you insist on a pick, take South Carolina.

Final Tennessee-South Carolina Prediction & Pick: South Carolina +21.5