Send In The Clowns: Georgia at South Carolina (Sept. 13)

Geoffrey TannerContributor ISeptember 9, 2008

First, let me tell you what is funny. 

Seeing a new, even more exasperated look on Steve Spurrier's face when you think you've seen them all?  That's funny.

Watching as the man slips deeper and deeper into quarterback purgatory with each freshly intercepted Gamecock pass?  A veritable laugh riot.

To be blunt, South Carolina's offense has been a joke in 2008 -- a sideshow gag never gets old.  At least, I can't get enough. 

So why do I get a sinking feeling when I imagine my beloved Georgia Bulldogs playing in Columbia, S.C., this weekend?  Shouldn't my head be filled with delightful pictures of some Bozo in Under Armor tossing one interception after another to red-and-black clad defenders?  Why is the guy wearing floppy shoes Matthew Stafford instead?

Maybe it's because Stafford is 27/63 for 384 yards in his career against the Cocks with no touchdowns and four interceptions to boot.

That's not funny.

I'm not chuckling at the thought of Carolina's pissed-off defense, either.  Play-makers are abundant for the Cocks on that side of the ball.  And even though Spurrier will truly be adrift (on a Smelley creek) with no paddle when most of them go pro following this season, they still have one more opportunity to punish Stafford just for showing up in Williams-Brice Stadium.

In brief, this game represents Matt's Achilles' heel.  If he finds success in Columbia, I believe he'll be ready to lead the Dawgs to a championship.  If we start hearing circus music every time he drops back, he's probably not. 

That isn't to say UGA won't win the game without a spectacular quarterbacking performance.  In 2006, Stafford tossed three picks and the Dawgs still won, 18-0.  I can envision a similar outcome on Saturday. 

But, oh, how I'd love to see Stafford shine on this stage!  An interception-free performance would do wonders for an already confident football player. 

While we're at it, he can even throw in his first touchdown against Carolina.  I can't see the Cocks coming back from a seven-point deficit, can you? 

Bottom line:  Matt just needs to play under control.  If he does, the only reason for the big top over Williams-Brice will be the play of whichever clown Spurrier decides to sacrifice on Saturday.

UGA 27, USC 6