The Georgia-South Carolina game is going to be a war. This year more than ever, there is so much on the line for both teams. For Georgia, their head coach is fighting for his job.
Another big loss for the Dawgs and the fanbase is going to flat out lose it. For South Carolina, this game is about respect. To be considered a top-tier East program, the Gamecocks have to put together consistent wins over the Bulldogs—something the Gamecocks have yet to do.
During the offseason, there has been a continual drum beat that the winner of the SEC East would either be the Georgia Bulldogs or the South Carolina Gamecocks. In early spring, the Bulldogs were the favorite with young-gun quarterback Aaron Murray and a dream team providing depth.
But when SEC media days arrived, somehow the ole ball coach grabbed the attention and got the media talking about Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery. Too many journalists took the bait and started writing preseason stories about the Carolina duo.
Spurrier basically threw some blood in the water and the sharks ate it up. Writers were way too quick to jump on the bandwagon that Steve Spurrier was back and he had resurrected another college program.
So in week one, the Bulldogs got lulled into a first-half game and gave up a touchdown right before halftime. No big deal, the Bulldogs were more physical and would make a comeback in the second half. Then before you knew it, there was a two-touchdown margin and Boise State was methodically moving the ball and controlling the game. The second half was miserable.
Nobody predicted the Bulldogs getting manhandled by a team from the Mountain West conference 35-21.
Meanwhile, the Gamecocks were getting exploited 17-0 in Charlotte by an East Carolina team that wanted to embarrass the defending SEC East champs. Spurrier chose Conner Shaw to start, and the young sophomore got much needed experience.
But before Shaw could pull his chin strap off his nose, he was being replaced by fifth-year senior Stephen Garcia, who wanted to prove that this was his team and he was going to fight for a win.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Gamecocks created turnovers on defense and the offense kept plugging away and scoring. Most Carolina fans left the stadium believing that the opener was a positive experience—this Carolina team had a lot of weapons.
So Georgia is not as bad as their critics believe, and South Carolina is overhyped for what they showed in the opening game. This combination makes Saturday a real nailbiter.
So how will this game play out? Georgia is going to light up the skies and let Murray go after the suspect Gamecock secondary. The South Carolina defense was exposed many times in 2010 and most of the starters are back.
Mike Bobo has already said he is staying with the no-huddle, shotgun formation. He and Richt believe the game plan against Boise State should have worked if the players executed properly. One more week of practice should help.
For South Carolina, Spurrier is probably going to test the run game first. Lattimore had success last time, and it’s proven to be the easiest way to get control of the game. Once Georgia commits, he will air it out. It’s going to be repeat of the shootout in Athens in 2009.
High scoring, big players making big plays. This game will determine the SEC East champion.
I will see you on the ball field.