Florida State and South Carolina have one major theme in common: They both failed to win their conference championship game, although South Carolina was blown out where as Florida State gave a pretty good fighting effort without their leader Christian Ponder.
Now the two are set to face off in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl this Friday night. South Carolina brings along with them a powerful rushing attack led by true freshman Marcus Lattimore to go along with an experienced quarterback in Stephan Garcia and a monster at wide receiver in Alshon Jeffrey. Jeffrey set new team records this year with receptions (79) and yards (1,387).
The offense for the Gamecocks can be inconsistent at times and all fingers point back to Garcia. Steve Spurrier has not found a real quarterback for his system, but thus far Garcia has given him the best option. The offense can rely on a stout defense that allowed only 107 yards on the ground, which led the SEC in that category.
Florida State, on the other hand, had a great bounce back season from their 7-6 season a year ago. The finished the year with a 9-4 record, but finished with a loss in the ACC Championship game. They were without their quarterback Christian Ponder. In his place was the highly touted back-up EJ Manuel. Manuel played extensive time a year ago when Ponder went down with a shoulder injury, he may have to step up to the plate again against South Carolina.
In the backfield for FSU are three experienced tailbacks. Jermain Thomas, Chris Thompson and Ty Jones all helped FSU average 167.8 yards rushing this season. They will have to come up big against the great rush defense that South Carolina has.
Florida State's defense also provided a lot of surprises this year. They led the nation in sacks with 46 and allowed opponents to just 19 points. They will need to come up big against South Carolina's rushing attack, but cornerback Greg Reid will have the task of covering Jeffrey which is a mismatch given that Reid is 5'8 and Jeffrey is 6'4.
The Gamecocks return to the Georgia Dome where they were last seen being dismantled by Auburn. They will get a chance to win in the Dome against Florida State. They match-up gives Spurrier another chance to defeat his nemesis, only this time he will be going against Jimbo Fisher and not Bobby Bowden.