South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier will make his triumphant homecoming to Gainesville this week, a place where he tasted the ultimate success as a head coach in the 1990s and won the Heisman Trophy as the quarterback of the Florida Gators in 1966.
It's a game that South Carolina desperately needs to win if the Gamecocks want to maintain hopes of a return trip to the Georgia Dome in 2011 to play for the SEC Championship for the second time in three years.
Will it be a happy homecoming for the Head Ball Coach?
After all that has transpired over the last seven days, probably not.
South Carolina is a good team, and on the brink of being a great team. However, they are stumbling into the Swamp coming off a loss in which the team's typically stout front seven was dominated by an LSU offensive line that was chock-full of question marks.
The swarming LSU defense held star running back Marcus Lattimore and quarterback Connor Shaw in check last week in the 23-21 win over the Gamecocks to the tune of 211 total yards.
Florida's defense may not be on the same statistical level as Florida's, but the Gators are just as athletic and just as physical.
On top of that, Lattimore's status is in doubt after the junior missed practice this week with a bruised hip. In addition, star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has been slowed by a foot injury, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles has been suspended for the game after throwing a punch last week vs. LSU and several Gamecocks have been out with the flu.
Talk about roster uncertainty.
With the exception of Quarles' suspension, all of those issues seemed to improve on Thursday (via the Times and Democrat), but there's still a ton of questions facing the Gamecocks heading into this weekend's showdown.
The Gamecocks will be facing off against a Florida team that doesn't have many weaknesses.
Sure, you can point to a passing offense that averages 145 yards per game. That's 17 yards per game fewer than Auburn's, which is the punch line of the SEC. However, games are played on football fields and inside television sets, not on paper.
Gator head coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease haven't asked quarterback Jeff Driskel to do a lot through the air because he and running back Mike Gillislee have been so successful.
Florida's plan isn't tricky, it isn't flashy and it has proven to be successful in 2012.
That, combined with a stifling defense, will send the Gamecocks and Spurrier home disappointed on Saturday night.
Nothing against South Carolina.
The Gamecocks will compete, and this game will be close in the fourth quarter. However, they've struggled in their three SEC road games this season (Vanderbilt, Kentucky and LSU) and are heading into their final conference road test of the season beat up and desperate.
That's not a recipe for success.
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