Georgia will wake up tomorrow morning trailing somebody in the East. You can read Jerry Hinnen’s preview here; it’s a good summary of the keys to the game.
One thing Jerry doesn’t mention is how dominant the Gamecocks were in last year’s meeting between the two. Vanderbilt was held to 77 total yards and five first downs on offense. The only reason the score wasn’t more lopsided was because Garcia threw four picks.
But neither team brings back its quarterback from that game. Which gets me to the three things I’ll be watching most closely as an interested party who’s a fan of another SEC East program: (1) Marcus Lattimore’s recovery; (2) Jordan Rodgers’ progress as a passer; and (3) the South Carolina secondary.
My gut tells me that the first item is the most important. If Lattimore is able to come back tonight without missing a beat, it feels like a long night for Vandy. It’s a big season for Spurrier and he’s not screwing around with his preparations for an opener against a conference foe. James Franklin is going to learn what it’s like to be taken seriously in the SEC. If Lattimore is shaking off the rust, I still like the ‘Cocks, but it’ll be a closer time for them.
And speaking of being taken seriously – you can’t sell out a home opener against a division opponent after last season’s momentum? Shame, shame, Vanderbilt.