“Yes, folks, this is going to be a big game.”

Enjoy Gamecock Man’s breakdown of this year’s Georgia-South Carolina matchup.

It’s a close call, and I can’t fault him for backing his team (at least if Lattimore is healthy).

That being said, I think the garnet-colored glasses show through a little bit in his conclusion:

Until proven otherwise, I think we should be able to handle Georgia’s running game, and while Murray is a dangerous passer, Clowney and Taylor are likely to have a field day with him, hopefully leading to some of the classic Murray breakdowns. Georgia’s defense will likely make things tough on us, too, but if we can stay steady running the read-option with Shaw and Lattimore, we should be able to move the ball with a bit more consistency and without putting the ball in danger. I’m concerned about our ability to throw the ball against a team with such a great defensive front, but Shaw’s ability to improvise with his feet should keep us out of trouble until our running game opens things up down field.

I’m not sure I see why Carolina’s offense will be more likely to have its way against Georgia’s defense than vice versa.  That certainly wasn’t the case last year.  And, yes, Murray versus the Gamecock ends is worrisome, but he still managed to put up a 175.98 passer rating with Clowney and Taylor on the field last year.  (That’s not a number Shaw managed to hit against SEC competition in 2011, by the way.)

The big question to me is whether the Dawgs can avoid self-destructing.  If they can, I think Gamecock Man’s got his prediction backwards.

59 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football

59 responses to ““Yes, folks, this is going to be a big game.”

  1. Blinding Whiff

    Clowney, Taylor, Lattimore, Jeffrey, and trickeration and they only won last year by 3 because we stepped on our face with a hob-nailed boot.

  2. Rebar

    Not to worried about his predictions, he can’t even spell feet correctly.

  3. Castleberry

    We will see. There will be a different group in front of Murray this year and we’re on the road. Our o line needs to grow up in a hurry or I think It could be a big day for Clowney.

    I think the Cocks are more likely to self destruct than Georgia. Without Jeffrey. I wonder how long spurrier can be patient running zone read against our d.

  4. gastr1

    Gamecock Man perhaps doesn’t remember that the difference last year was special teams, not Murray, Clowney, Lattimore, et. al.

  5. Macallanlover

    His overall direction is on-target, both defenses seem superior to the offenses so it should/can be a close game. If that plays out, STs and home field advantage give them a chance to upset a team that looks superior going into Fall Camp. Where I think he, and many others, are off is expecting to see the Lattimore that has played for them the last two years. No way a running back coming off an ACL is going to be 100% the next season. We have seen this numerous times in the past, the RB just doesn’t trust the knee enough to make those cuts that buy them additional yardage until years 2-3. Add to that the fear of losing the big NFL dollars if he suffers another tear and I think you are looking at an average SEC RB in Lattimore. Let’s just say if that is what he thinks will propel them to victory against UGA, the odds of us winning have just gone up. I think UGA wins this one because they are just better overall and they should be motivated after losing a game they gave away last year. But it should be close so they have a shot. If they could outscore us in that one last year after getting kicked all over the field, it is certainly possible. I just think Murray comes loaded to get some revenge, and our guys don’t want to lose two straight to a SC program that has become very mouthy….with little to back it up.

    • Skeptic Dawg

      “I just think Murray comes loaded to get some revenge, and our guys don’t want to lose two straight…”. I for one hope that Murray “comes in loaded”. We have seen what happens when the kids gets amped up = fumbles, poor decision making, INT’s, a breakdown in mechanics. Hopefully he shows up and plays within himself and within the offense. If that happens the Dawgs have a better shot at winning. After two full seasons it still remains uncertain if Murray is capable of playing within himself. And the Dawgs have lost 2 straight to USC (2010 and 2012). A loss this year makes it 3 in a row.

      • Skeptic Dawg

        I hope Murray DOES NOT “come loaded”.

      • Careful Brad

        I would say he was pretty amped up for Auburn last year. I liked what I saw. It’s not always bad news Skeptic.
        I have a feeling I’m going to like following your posts this season. Always makes for good reading with my Sunday morning coffee in the Fall.

  6. charlottedawg

    It should be a great game. I too think that it will come down to if we self destruct. That was the difference last year between a blowout Georgia win and the actual result. However, it’s worth pointing out that their defense was just as good as ours last year in terms of total defense and our defense has never stopped Lattimore. I’m going to put on my red and black colored glasses and predict Georgia winning a classic on the way to an East title.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Charlotte it was the year before that we couldn’t stop Lattimore all game. Last year we held him in decent check until the 4th quarter, when our D grew tired because the other squads were giving the game away. Bear in mind that SC only scored 3 offensive TD’s last year. All of our TD’s were on offense last year.

      That being said, SC worries me because we’ve always been Spurrier’s white whale and SC’s white whale, and because I live in SC and have to hear it all year long when they win.

      • Macallanlover

        If I were them last year, I might have been laughing and celebrating but I sure wouldn’t be running my mouth. They got a gift from Heaven and should have been very humble about it. Naw, guess that’s just not in a group that has never had much success and is led by someone with SOS’ personality. They are kind of like Florida fans once they tasted their first SEC title….no, wait……

      • charlottedawg

        Lattimore had 176 yards on 26 carries last year including big runs in a TD drive in the 4th quarter where if the D holds we win. (I think the score was 35-31 Georgia at the time) That’s not stopping him. Not saying we can’t stop him this year, just saying’ we haven’t in the past.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          Good point. Jenkins was finding and growing his stamina later in the season. I’d like to think that the D that held UT,UA and UF to a combined 51 yards rushing shows up. We will be playing our 6th game. We were pretty stout against the run by that point in the season last year. I actually am more worried about Franklin at Missouri getting loose and running wild than I am about Lattimore.

  7. OKDawg

    I think the fate of that game will rest largely on the health of Lattimore. We have yet to stop him for 4 quarters, and he is one of those rare backs who shows no letdown late in the game (he even seems to run stronger then). If Lattimore is 100%, I give USC the edge (slightly) at home. If not, UGA should win.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      It takes until the second year post ACL to get a knee back to pre-injury form. And that’s if you don’t beat it up anymore. Coming back and playing rb in the SEC doesn’t enhance the odds. There are not only the physical aspects post surgery but the mental ones as well. Focusing on the game and not on how the knee will respond and where it is in space is a very hard place to get to. Straight ahead running is easier than lateral and stop go running. At what point in the season the initial injury took place influences rehab time available. Lattimore hurt his the seventh game of the season. In addition it looked like a “twisting injury” after he was tied up with someone while blocking. I mention twisting while engaged with someone cause they are a little more difficult to repair and bounce back from vs. a tear while planting and cutting . Finally, uSC opens with Vandy and plays Missouri and Kentucky before Georgia their 6th game this season. I’m sure The Visor would have been glad to catch us early while undermanned and before any wear and tear on his prize rb.

      • Cojones

        But if he is running in stride by the time we meet them, we could be all-dependant on the D. I would expect that our D, boasting a couple of good games under their belt, can get up for that 4th qtr where they lost it last year.

      • OKDawg

        I agree with you. Lattimore’s work ethic is highly regarded (many of us hoped Crowell would share his), and I hear his rehab is ahead of schedule. With you, I do like the fact we catch him after more mileage accrues post-injury than our traditional date. I hope Lattimore is more human and typical in his recovery than superhuman.

        *The later date should help with the heat too – anyone else there 2 years ago in that sauna? Brutal.

  8. David

    Turnovers are usually the culprit when we lose to the Gamecocks. Our D will hold it’s own. The question is…can Murray & Co. take care care of the ball and capitalize when we’re in the red zone (think TDs, not FGs). Either way you dissect it, this game will down to the wire once again. And the losting team will be talking about “what ifs” all the way home. I just hope it’s not us or that will make for #3 in a row.

  9. Hogbody Spradlin

    Grantham needs to channel his inner Erk. In 78, Tech had us 20-0 in the 2nd qtr., with Eddie lee Ivery shredding us, then Eddie Lee got unintentionally injured. We caught up a little, but dadgummit if Eddie Lee wasn’t back in the game in the 3rd qtr. Lo and behold he got unintentionally unjured again, allowing Buck Belue to start writing his story.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      That was a twisting knee injury. Ouch.

      “Ivery played the position so well at Thomson High School, both Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia heavily recruited
      him. Ivery’s hometown is located in Bulldog country, so naturally everyone around him wanted him to play there.

      Against his better judgment, Ivery made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Georgia, but on the day he was supposed to sign with the Bulldogs, former Georgia Tech assistant coach Dick Bestwick came to his high school and called him out of class for a meeting with his high school football and basketball coaches. In that meeting they could tell something was wrong with Ivery.

      “Coach Bestwick said, `Eddie Lee, do you really want to go the University of Georgia?’ I just remember breaking down in tears when he asked me that question,” Ivery said. “I said no sir, I want to go to Georgia Tech, and I busted out in tears. I was crying for the first time in my life and I became honest with my inner-spirit and how I felt. I was so much wanting to please other people that I was being displeasing to myself.”

      That was a defining moment in Ivery’s life. He changed his mind about going to Georgia and told Bestwick that he wanted to attend Georgia Tech. Looking back Ivery says that one of the main reasons he chose Georgia Tech was academics.”
      Eddie play 8 years with Green Bay retired due to leg injury later finished his degree at GT in 1995. Wiki has him listed as on the current SC staff at …..GT.

  10. uglydawg

    No way the “better” team won last year. It was a gift, but not necessarily “from heaven”.
    There will most likely be some key injuries between now and “then”.
    CMR has the luxury of knowing what cards he’s actually holding in the running game. We know what SS holds. SS knows Georgia can throw the ball some. CMR knows SC has a lethal running back and a crafty QB. SS has to wonder what CMR is holding to let a quality back like IC go. It has to worry him…he knows HE wouldn’t have done such a thing…if OJ had a year of eligibility left, he’d sign him up (while insisting it was his “last chance”) They both have very good defenses. It’s going to come down to special teams and injuries.
    But they’ll both see the whole deck of cards before they meet in the garden of Williams Bryce. So will we and I hope we’ll be smling! Will we be smiling? Frowning? Scratching our chins?

  11. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Special teams. Special teams. Special teams.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      I am with you Major!
      Quote post 1981 Clemson game: “But on that night offense was overrated for the Dawgs – they won the game the old-fashioned way: with defense and special teams.”

    • AusDawg85

      ^This^ Tell me how good our FG kicker is going to be, and I’ll tell you who wins the game.

  12. Thanks for the link, Senator. No doubt there were some garnet-colored shades at work there at the end. It was a prediction, nothing more. Both teams should be good next year, and I had to come up with some kind of rationale for why I feel–not know, mind you–that my team will win. I can’t make any claims to a scientific approach. Homerism admitted!

    A a couple of responses to some of what I’ve read here:
    –I’ll never quite get this nonsense about how “the better team lost” last year. I’ll buy that Georgia gave the game away, but that’s different than saying that the better team lost. That’s like saying you get to take credit for the good plays your team made but don’t have to admit fault for the bad ones that cost you the game. It’s particularly ridiculous because most of you openly admit that your QB has problems keeping his head on straight in crunch time. That’s who you have been as a team for the last couple of years: Talented, able to look dominant at times, but unable to win big games due to self-inflicted wounds and a general inability to put it all together. Maybe things will be different this year. At any rate, trust me on this: If I had a $1000 for every time I felt Carolina could have beaten Georgia if not for a couple of boneheaded plays by the Gamecocks, I could buy a new car. Doesn’t make the outcomes any different. Move on and try to win the next one. Obsessing over moral victories is no way to go through life. Trust me, I speak from some experience here.
    –Re: Lattimore, I am also concerned that he won’t be back to speed next year, and I should have addressed that more thoroughly. (Keep in mind that the article was mostly intended for my regular readers, and they already know how I feel about Lattimore’s rehab.) But it’s worth noting that, contrary to what some of you have said, it may in fact work in Carolina’s favor that the USC-UGA game is later in the season this year. Some of you have mentioned that Lattimore may be spent by this point, but with a deep stable of reliable (although not Lattimore-level) RBs and a relatively easy opening slate, Spurrier, if he’s wise, may elect to take it easy on Lattimore until the Georgia game. Vandy and Mizzou are the only decent teams we play pre-UGA next year, and we shouldn’t need to run Lattimore into the ground to win those games. We can let him get his bearings again and be ready for a bigger role against UGA.

    • OKDawg

      How do you feel about his rehab?

      • More or less like you guys do, only with a little more optimism. Obviously, it’s hard for someone to come back from that kind of injury eleven months later without skipping a beat. I’m not expecting him to walk out and run for 200 yards in the first game. However, Lattimore is known for having a very good work ethic, so I see his chances of making a strong recovery as being better than average. I also think it benefits us that most of our biggest games are later in the season. By that time, he might be slightly better recovered, and in any event he should have a better idea of what he’s capable of.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Rehab? I thought Garcia was off the Cocks team.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      It may take more Lattimore than might be expected to get through Missouri and Vandy. It can only help Georgia. It will take all of a pre injury performance to get through Georgia. I still think he will be at about 90% and won’t have that 4th quarter grind in him. And then there is always, LSU,UF, UT and Arkansas to help get Georgia back to Atlanta. It will be fun to watch.

      • I’m sure Vandy and Mizzou will be tough, and that we might need Lattimore in either game. However, I doubt we’ll need a 37-carry performance out of him in either, and if we do, we’re probably not a good team and can kiss beating UGA goodbye.

        Agree that getting through that late-season stretch with less than two losses is unlikely.

    • Macallanlover

      Uh, the better team was outscored last year gcman, and it wasn’t close. We aren’t talking a couple of bone-headed plays, that game was close to being a rout except for a collection of “stupids”. And UGA looked better the rest of the year. But that doesn’t matter now.

      In evaluating the game you are right, it does look close enough at this point that SC could upset UGA. It is certainly a game neither of us can chalk up in the W column now. It isn’t my most worrisome game now, but it will be that week, and it could become a more likely loss based on what we may find out in the next 9 weeks. Way too early to be picking games that late in the season when neither team has even opened camp yet. Too many unknowns. I know we are basing everything on what is known now, so I have to like our chances if everything plays out as projected. You have a much better chance of dislodging TN as 3rd best in the conference again this year.

      • Don’t take this the wrong way, because I appreciate your meeting me halfway here. But many national prognosticators are picking USC in this game (example: http://cfn.scout.com/2/1201221.html), and it won’t be an “upset” in the minds of non-UGA folks if Carolina wins, at least if things play out like most expect. Most of the media is picking UGA to win the East, but it’s almost always with the caveat that UGA has an optimal schedule. Of course, like you said, we’ll have to see what these teams actually look like a few weeks into the season before we start trying to decide who the favorite is.

        Also, I’d have to disagree that UGA looked better the rest of the season last year. You did destroy Auburn, a team we lost to. But you also almost lost to Vandy and Kentucky, both of whom we thoroughly curb-stomped. In your defense, both of those teams got better as the season progressed. Also, though, you lost your bowl game, while we won ours going away. And we finished with eleven wins and ranked sixth in the nation. So I’d say it’s a draw on who looked better the rest of the season. And I’d probably argue that we looked better once Garcia was out of the way.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          The Gamecocks are a solid football team. H/T to The Visor he has brought them a long…long way. The Dawgs will need their A game. “You did destroy Auburn, a team we lost to. But you also almost lost to Vandy and Kentucky, both of whom we thoroughly curb-stomped. ” But let’s be fair here. Nether of those “almost lost” games were as close as your escape from Navy Midshipman 24-21 or Miss State 14-12. We beat the pretend Bulldogs by two touchdowns. Auburn got lucky that second half. We threw it 3 times. We told Auburn our plays for the second half. Run…run… and then …. run. Put as many in the box as you want…. we are going to run. Georgia was an inspired team post that Auburn loss the previous year. Georgia will be inspired again this year. Will that inspiration be enough to beat a very good USC team. Man, I hope so. ;-)

          • That’s a fair assessment, although you forgot to explain how your team that did so much better than us for the rest of the year lost your bowl game while we won ours. ;-)

            You do hit on something that gets to the heart of my impression of what kind of team Georgia was last year: Georgia was capable of playing “inspired” football at times and looking like a national title-caliber team, while at other times it couldn’t get out of its own way. Smack Auburn around one week, almost lose to Kentucky the next. Look great against Carolina one drive, commit a game-blowing gaffe the next. That’s more or less what I was getting at when I was saying that I don’t buy the “better team lost” talk; to me, Georgia was a team that did things like lose games where it looked like it should have won. The USC-UGA game may have been an extreme case, but it wasn’t really an exception, if that makes any sense. JMO. Your ceiling was higher than ours last year, but your basement was lower, too.

            You may have a completely different team this year, particularly if Murray has matured. Of course, we’ll have a better QB situation, too, so there’s that.

            • Heathbar09

              “Your ceiling was higher than ours last year, but your basement was lower, too.”

              No truer words have been said about UGA last year.

            • Cojones

              A few SEC teams “almost” lost to Ken and some did. Ask Tenn. They played hard and had a good RB. Their D was tough and we didn’t give away shit. They earned their level of play last year by playing hard-nosed. I didn’t overlook them at all last year since they beat us the previous year. Kudos for what they did in the SEC with lesser talent.

              • Well, Carolina beat Kentucky 54-3. Outgained them something like 700 yards to 75. I really don’t think they were any good. Beating Tenn. wasn’t an accomplishment last season. I do think UGA’s performance against them was more of a let down after playing Auburn the prior week than an indication of UGA’s talent level, but still, you guys should have killed them.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Nice of you to visit Gamecock.

  13. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Where does depth kill you? Special teams and 2nd half of games. Big plays from big breakdowns. Basically 2011.

    It’s coin flip game IMO, except SC has more bodies. How many 1st round athletes are we going to trot out on punt coverage this year?

  14. The Ghost of Dawgs Past

    Living in USCe country, I have to listen to this crap on an almost daily basis. Don’t care if we win another one I just want the Dawgs to put them back into their rightful place.

    • Macallanlover

      They actually are there, just don’t realize it. SC had a pretty good team in 2010, maybe the best since they joined the SEC but were not competitive in the championship game. I feel they were pretty fortunate UGA and UF were having off seasons at the same time. But when you look at the whole picture, they are struggling to be in the top tier of a division, and have yet to win a title.

      Also, gcman has yet to realize that bowls are exhibitions and not really the measure of a team….and I felt that way when they looked bad in prior years. If anything, UGA has a much stronger argument about winning bowls and OOC games than USC so this is a weak case for them to make. (Bringing up bowl performance and how they fare against their ACC rival is a bad comparison.) I hate to spend the winter wallowing in a loss as much as anyone but bowls are just about the money, not the quality of match-ups, preparation, and team passion. I would never use a meaningless game as a test of team worthiness. The SC and Auburn games were the best indicators and they both were pretty decisive so I stick by my better team declaration…..I am not the one whining about the way titles are earned, that would be the SC coach. We have never been mired in that one, and I suggest they focus more on this year and put it behind them as well.

      And all of that is irrelevant to the 2012 outcome. Turnovers saved them last year (and it took a ton of them), turnovers also represent their best chance again this season. I am just expecting very average OL and ST performance so I am conceding the edge to SC in both of those areas but they trail significantly in the others so I still think they are the 3rd or 4th toughest game we will play behind Mizzou, Florida, and about equal to Auburn. Who knows for sure at this point? The future is all just opinions at this stage.

      • Cojones

        You forgot SC’s bowl game with U Conn.

        • 81Dog

          Did Rebecca Lobo play in that game? Should bowl games against programs with better athletes in women’s basketball than they have in football really be something for Chickens to celebrate? Oh wait. It’s the Chickens. Of course they’ll celebrate it.

      • Benito

        I applaud you for taking Mizzou seriously. I do as well. I think Mizzou could sneak in here as a contender for the East. But to say that USC is behind Mizzou and Florida? It’s 2012, so all the poor history for Carolina football is what is really irrelevant. And, your point about bowl games, that’s exactly what I would expect you to say after losing two bowl games in a row. We finally won one, and finished with double-digit wins. It’s not as much about patting ourselves on the back as it is that we finished the season strong, which was uncommon for us in the past.

        It’s ok though. I understand the traditional powers struggle with it. At least Georgia is still a great team. Tennessee fans are particularly delusional. Turnovers are part of the game. And the better team is the one that makes the least mistakes and comes away with the win.

        The better team won this game in 2011. And the better team will win in 2012. Not sure who that is yet.

  15. One last thing I wanted to touch on: Shaw may not have hit that 175 passer rating in SEC competition last year, but he was at 200+ in his two most mature games last year, against Clemson and Nebraska. He also ran for over 100 against Clemson. Don’t sell this guy short.

    • I’m not. I think Spurrier’s done a good job structuring the offense around Shaw’s skill set.

    • Macallanlover

      I thought in his freshman year looked like a guy who knock Garcia out of the box but when SOS got on his knees last summer for Garcia I felt I had misread it. When Shaw stepped up after Garcia abdicated, I thought he looked more like the QB I thought he would be two years ago. It will be interesting to watch him under SOS’s demanding whip. I think he is the ultimate key to SC’s season, much more so than Lattimore. I realize Lattimore can take heat off Shaw and give him a boost but Shaw’s performance will decide if the offense can produce enough to capitalize on what looks to be a pretty good defense. Working with new receivers and being able to keep drives moving with his legs will determine if SC has a below expectations season, or not. I think 8-4 looks about right, but 9-3 could happen if everything breaks well for the Cocks. As long as one of those Ls is to UGA, it doesn’t matter to me.

      • I know I’m going to get flamed for saying this, partially because I remember the Senator saying the exact opposite several times last summer, but I believe Spurrier kept Garcia around because Spurrier wanted to help Garcia get over his demons. Shaw is the better QB and has been all along, and late last season proved that. Less physically talented, perhaps, but a more accurate passer with his head screwed on straight. Also a guy who is well-suited to Spurrier’s coaching style. I’m sure Spurrier wanted to have both available so he could have options, but I don’t think that he kept Garcia around because he thought our chances hinged on Garcia. In fact, I think we would have gone 12-2 with a loss in the SECCG if Shaw had started all season.

        Big question, IMO, for Carolina this year offensively is the lack of proven talent in the receiving corps.

  16. Atticus

    When is the last time a big time RB had a major knee surgery and came back in the 1st year just as effective. Umm, never. It takes 2 years. One physically, one mentally.

    • Cojones

      Maybe not if Lattimore’s work ethic is as high as they say.

    • Benito

      Lattimore’s knee does make me nervous. but our running game performed well enough with Kenny Miles and Brandon Wilds last year. Lattimore will get rest and we’ll be able to platoon the carries.