- Skip all the blather about the game being important because Spurrier needs to have the program make a statement and step up to join the big kids on the block in the East, or because Georgia fans loathe Spurrier. This is a big game for one reason: the loser – as Georgia won’t likely win in J’ville and S. Carolina has a very tough road schedule – will be effectively eliminated from the SEC East race early on.
- Remembering how poor Georgia’s run defense looked against Georgia Southern’s triple option attack a couple of years ago does, at least on the surface, make me want to discount the fact that ULL gashed SC’s run defense last week to the tune of 252 yards (and a 5.36 yards per run average). And it’s true that Georgia won’t be running an option attack against the ‘Cocks on Saturday. But I suspect that Brown and Moreno are more talented than the backs ULL threw out. And I anticipate that Georgia’s passing game will pose a far more credible threat than ULL’s did – surely Stafford will be able to throw for more than the 63 passing yards that SC allowed. It also sounds as if SC’s run defense came up somewhat short fundamentally last Saturday in terms of poor tackling and missed assignments (sound familiar?). Dawg fans will be the first to tell you that that’s not something likely to be cleaned up in a week’s worth of practices.
- In 2006, South Carolina was a blocked kick away from going 5-0 on the road in the regular season.
- In 2006, South Carolina played six teams ranked in the top 12. The Gamecocks lost all six games.
- I’m not sure what to take from all the personnel shuffling the Ol’ Ball Coach has engaged in this week. He’s already had to change course once, as Kevin Young was injured after being named the starter at offensive guard. And this attempt to be sly about waiting to name the starting QB until today seems about as clever as Charlie Weis’ lame exercise last week. After all, it’s not like Georgia hasn’t seen Blake Mitchell play before.
- I’ve never been too impressed with South Carolina’s special teams on coverage, so the fact that Ryan Succop put 4 of his 5 kickoffs in the endzone last week could be big for them in limiting Georgia’s field position in the game. On the other hand, they’ll still have to come up with something to account for Mikey Henderson.
- Sidney Rice, arguably South Carolina’s best receiver ever, is gone, so USC spread the wealth last week: eight different players caught 21 passes, including six to running backs and 6 to tight ends.
- There’s no question that coming into the season, SC wins the experience battle. The Gamecocks returned their two leading rushers, three of their top four receivers, their starting QB (at least if he goes to class) and fourteen of their top fifteen (including the top six) tacklers on defense.
- For what it’s worth, Phil Steele picks South Carolina to finish with the same conference record as Georgia this season – and to tie for the lead in the SEC East.