South Carolina and Alabama Battle For 15th Time: What Does History Tell Us?

Joseph AlbersonAnalyst IOctober 4, 2010

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 17:  Quarterback Blake Mitchell #12 of the South Carolina Gamecocks looks over the defense of the Alabama Crimson Tide before taking the snap on September 17, 2005 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. Alabama defeated South Carolina 37-14.  (Photo By Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

South Carolina and Alabama have squared off 14 times since 1937, with seven of those games coming after South Carolina joined the SEC in 1991.

The overall series record edge goes to Alabama, which has won 12 out of the 14 meetings, with those two Carolina wins coming recently in 2001 and 2004.

Alabama has outscored Carolina by an average of 27-9 in the 14-game series history.

If the series history tells us anything about this Saturday's huge game, it's that Alabama should win this game rather handily.

But I honestly don't think it is fair to use games from the 1960s and earlier to predict the outcome of a game today.

Heck, I wouldn't even consider games from five years ago fair to compare to this year's current teams.

Many times, the two teams might not have had to face each other's "best" teams.

For example, the longest break in the series ran from 1967 to 1992. Luckily for South Carolina, they missed much of the Paul "Bear" Bryant era.

The Crimson Tide luckily missed out on the 1984 "Black Magic" season. Carolina, led by coach Joe Morrison, finished a school-best 10-2. The Crimson Tide finished 5-6.

If you consider the series since South Carolina joined the SEC, things look a lot better for South Carolina.

Consider this: Each Eastern Division SEC team has one permanent rival it faces from the SEC West every year (for South Carolina it's Arkansas).

Then they rotate the remaining five SEC West schools on and off the schedule every two years in a staggered format. (USC plays Auburn in 2010 and 2011, then drops Alabama after 2010 for Miss. St. in 2011 and 2012, and then drops Auburn after 2011...on and on and on.)

With that explained, not counting the first two years of the SEC series in 1992 and 1993, South Carolina has won one out of the two games played in each two-year rotation cycle against Alabama.

Seeing that South Carolina lost last year, it is logical to think that South Carolina picks up the huge upset this Saturday against Alabama.

Of course, football games rarely pan out exactly as predicted, and there were more lurking factors that played a role in the 2001 and 2004 wins by Carolina.

Many Alabama fans might would consider this time a "down" period for Crimson Tide football during the Dennis Franchione and Mike Shula eras.

Those Carolina teams were Lou Holtz-coached teams and not Steve Spurrier teams. Spurrier hasn't beaten Alabama since arriving at USC in 2005.

What it all boils down to (as in any game) is how prepared the players are to play and how well they execute the game plan.

So what does the history of the Alabama-South Carolina series tell us about this Saturday's game?

Nothing we didn't already know.

Alabama will be favored to win big (10 points at last look), but South Carolina will present a pesky challenge and has a shot at pulling off the major upset.

How much of a shot? Tune in to CBS at 3:30 pm on Saturday, October 9th and you will find out.

The "I Bleed Garnet and Black" fan in me wants to give this one to the underdog Gamecocks, but the realistic fan in me gives the edge to Alabama.

While I believe the Gamecock defense matches up better against the Alabama rushing attack than Auburn's rushing attack from a scheme standpoint, I just see too much of an advantage in the trenches for the Tide.

Alabama 20, South Carolina 14


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