Where is the love for South Carolina? This program is having it's greatest season ever, but no one seems to give the Gamecocks a chance to win in Atlanta on Saturday; well, except for Tim Brando, who only picked Carolina because he wants BCS chaos.
To put it simply, South Carolina has a pretty damn strong football team. Back in September they had Auburn by the throat in Jordan-Hare and collapsed at the end with four fourth quarter turnovers. They also took Alabama behind the woodshed. Why wouldn't they have a shot on a neutral field against the War Cam Eagles?
Steve Spurrier has what I would call a somewhat decent record in that SEC Title Game down in Atlanta. He only went 5-2 in such games during his stint at Florida. I think Spurrier has seen first hand how to torch Auburn's defense. In fact, if he had not have had a rare brain lapse in the fourth quarter in Jordan-Hare, he would have beaten them.
I think Spurrier is going to Fun-and-Gun (or Cock-and-Fire) it in the Dome on Saturday.
Alshon Jeffery had nearly 200 yards and two scores in the first meeting. I expect a similar performance Saturday. After a poor showing in September against a stout Auburn run defense, I expect Marcus Lattimore to come out with a chip on his shoulder Saturday. He may not be outstanding, but I think he will provide enough balance for Carolina to outscore Auburn.
You may wonder how Carolina can possibly slow down Heisman Newton and Friends after Evil Genius Nick Saban's plan for Yellowhammer State domination fell apart at the seams because of Newton's greatness. Remember, when these two teams first met, we did not know how spectacular Cam Newton was. Carolina was his breakout game. Now, Ellis Johnson has seen a lot more of Newton.
More importantly, he has seen what has slowed him down, and what has not. Johnson also knows a thing or two about winning SEC Titles himself. He was OLB coach for Alabama in 1992 and defensive coordinator at Alabama in 1999.
Johnson said the 1999 Alabama team that beat Florida in OT in the regular season learned from mistakes they made in that game, and that they were able to improve on those mistakes and beat Florida 34-7. His defense needs to do the same Saturday, and I think it will.
I think we are in store for another classic SEC Championship Game. Auburn is a special team, but I think South Carolina will spoil the wild and sweet ride Auburn has been on. With all the Gamecocks have coming back next year and the state of the SEC East, I believe it will not be the last time we see Stephen Orr Spurrier on top of the Southeastern Conference.