You're going to hear a lot of people talk about how this game was more important than other conference games, or how this could be a turning point. Don't believe any of it. This loss was one thing, and one thing only: A tough conference road loss to an excellent team with a difficult stadium to play in.
The Gamecocks should only have two goals:
1) Get to Atlanta and see what happens
2) Beat Clemson
Their recent loss to Auburn had an impact on the first goal, because it's a conference game, but it will have no impact on the second one.
Who thought South Carolina would be able to just waltz into Jordan-Hare and come out with a win? Very few rational people. The team played well, but not flawless, and that's essentially what it takes to beat good SEC teams on the road, especially when the other team has an all-world individual performance put up, like Auburn got from Cam Newton.
Some talked about this game as some sort of "statement game". Single games only make statements when they are for championships, and as best I can tell, this game wasn't for a championship of any sort. It was simply a road SEC game.
Some talk about this game as "exposing" the Gamecocks. What in the world is that even supposed to mean?
The team didn't run particularly well, and the defense gave up a lot of rushing yards to the best runner, in my mind, in the SEC outside of Mark Ingram. But does that mean that the team is different after this game than they were before it?
No. It means the running game was slightly overrated based on a performance against UGA, that we now see didn't prove very much. However, this game didn't make the team a worse running team, it merely showed that the OL is going to have issues against good rushing defenses. That is something close observers of the team actually were very fearful of PRIOR to this game.
A loss to Auburn doesn't make the Gamecocks a worse rush defending team; they just had trouble with one player that is going to give a lot of teams trouble.
So what is this team? A very good, but not great team that has just as good of a chance of getting to the SEC Championship representing the East as any other team. Same thing as they were before the Auburn game.
Agree? Disagree? Let 'er rip in the comments.