When South Carolina lost running back Marcus Lattimore to a horrific knee injury in Week 9 against the Tennessee Volunteers, it didn't derail the team's chances at a potential BCS at-large berth. If the Gamecocks let it linger against the Arkansas Razorbacks this weekend, though, it very well could.
With the SEC's leading passer coming to town and a secondary that's looked well below average in recent weeks, the Gamecocks are on upset watch this weekend at Williams-Brice stadium.
South Carolina (7-2, 5-2) and Arkansas (4-5, 2-3) are on opposite sides of the SEC standings. South Carolina had a chance to beat LSU and lost a blowout game to Florida to account for its two losses. Other than that, they've been a quality opponent and have a win over No. 5 Georgia on the resume.
Arkansas has had a rough season. Tyler Wilson is the leading passer in the SEC, but the succession of Bobby Petrino has been less than ideal.
John L. Smith hasn't been able to replicate the success of his predecessor, totaling just four wins with three games to play. However, they have won three out of four, albeit against basement teams in the conference.
They need two wins in the next three games just to become bowl eligible, and that includes games against Mississippi State and LSU. To have any kind of chance, it appears Arkansas will need a miracle.
It also means they have nothing to lose on the road at South Carolina.
Arkansas has won five-of-six games against South Carolina, but most of those were in the Ryan Mallett-Petrino era. However, the Hogs' passing offense could pose a serious problem against this South Carolina defense.
Fresh off of a Tyler Bray 368-yard game, the Gamecocks had a week off to think about what they've been doing wrong in the secondary. That isn't going to stop Wilson, who's put together a string of nice games. He's thrown for more than 370 yards in three of his last six games, and more than 230 in all six.
Additionally, the loss of Lattimore is going to be weighing heavy in the minds and hearts of the South Carolina faithful. His presence will only compound things, as the team is set to unveil him as the all-time touchdown leader at the university.
That emotion will be great to start the game, but once it wears off, will Kenny Miles be able to establish a running game against the Razorback defense?
Connor Shaw is still a little banged up. Dylan Thompson will likely play either way, but he's been largely disappointing and hasn't been used since the disaster against Florida.
All that adds up to one thing: upset material.
Arkansas has nothing left to lose after this season. It's one that will go down in the most disappointing in school history, unless it can turn the tide win some late season wins. South Carolina can't overlook a prolific passing offense. If it does, it could spell trouble for any shot at a BCS bowl game.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.
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