Any time two SEC teams match up it is bound to be a good game, and this game between the Auburn Tigers and South Carolina Gamecocks doesn't look to be any different.
Auburn is coming off a national championship season, but because they lost so many players to the NFL they just don't seem to be the same team. They were ranked in the middle of the pack and have since completely dropped out of the rankings with a record of 3-1.
The Gamecocks are coming into the game determined to show the SEC that they are legitimate contenders and can do some serious damage when playing with the big-boys.
They are currently undefeated, even though they've looked somewhat shaky getting to this point, so a resounding win over last year's champion would be a huge boost to the team and the home crowd.
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia SC
When: Saturday Oct. 1. 3:30 p.m EST
Listen: 97.7 WKKR FM Auburn; 105.5 WNKT FM South Carolina
Stream: AU All-Access on AuburnTigers.com, gamecocksonline.cstv.com
Betting Line (Bodog.com): South Carolina -10
Auburn Injury Report: Offensive lineman Ed Christian questionable (back), tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen questionable (leg), wide receiver Trovon Reed out indefinitely (shoulder).
South Carolina Injury Report: Running back Eric Baker probable (knee), cornerback Akeem Auguste questionable (foot), wide receiver Jason Barnes questionable (undisclosed injury).
BCS/Top 25 Implications:
Every game means everything in the SEC, but for the Gamecocks this game is extremely important. They are trying to hang with the likes of Alabama and LSU in the SEC, which means they will most likely have to go undefeated to have a chance. The games only get harder from here on out for South Carolina. Auburn can bring themselves back into the BCS picture with a big win here.
What They're Saying: According to the Auburn Tigers Practice Report the team is very upbeat during practice and is preparing for the speed and experience of South Carolina. Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn talks about how the Gamecocks are extremely well coached and talented.
Pete Iacobelli on chron.com writes about how even though the Gamecocks offense had their struggles on offense last week against the Commodores, they are still confident in their abilities.
Auburn Player To Watch:
Keep your eye on junior quarterback Barrett Trotter. He had huge shoes to fill this season with replacing Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, and so far he's done a good job. With eight touchdowns and three interceptions on the year so far, he needs to do a better job protecting the ball and leading the offense, especially against a very opportunistic Gamecocks defense.
South Carolina Player To Watch:
Senior quarterback Stephen Garcia has simply looked horrible so far this season. If the Gamecocks want to win the SEC the need him to really improve and stop turning the ball over. He has three touchdowns compared to seven interceptions so far. Those are stats that really need to change in order for South Carolina to continue winning.
How will South Carolina's offense play against a very stingy Auburn defense? Garcia has given the ball away far too many times, and that is something the Gamecocks won't be able to do against the Tigers. I expect Heisman hopeful running back Marcus Lattimore is going to get a lot of carries in an attempt to control the ball.
Can South Carolina continue their undefeated season at home against a very tough SEC opponent? Their schedule is going to continue to get tougher, which means they will not be able to get away with any more mistakes. They need to play perfect from here on out, but can they?
I really like South Carolina at home. The crowd will be behind them and I think Garcia will be able to protect the ball. Auburn will give them a good shot, but the Gamecocks will win.
South Carolina: 31 Auburn 20
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