Premature Prognostication: Georgia Hosts South Carolina, a Way Too Early Preview
This is the second in a series of way, way, way too early previews of Georgia’s games in 2013.
- For a Premature Prognostication of Georgia’s trip to Clemson on August 31st, click here.
Georgia at South Carolina:
The Bulldogs follow up their season-opening trip to Clemson by playing host to the other football power from the South Carolina, Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks. The Dawgs will get their second shot at a top-15 team in as many weeks on September 7th.
About South Carolina
- After dominating the Gamecocks for over 110 years (Georgia once lead the series 44-13-2), the Bulldogs have lost four of their last six matchups with the Cocks including each of the last three meetings.
- This recent decline for Georgia directly coincides with the South Carolina Gamecocks playing the best football in the program’s less-than-storied history. South Carolina has won 11 games in each of the past two seasons (despite failing to win an SEC Eastern Division title of that period).
- Last year South Carolina played what some called the best game in Cock-ball history en route to a 35-7 win over Georgia in Columbia.
The Bulldogs are due for some payback here, aren’t they? They’re not supposed to drop four of six to the Cocks. They’re not supposed to lose three straight to Spurrier’s new team. They’re not supposed to be embarrassed like they were on October 6, 2012.
Georgia returns an explosive offense that was held to just seven points against South Carolina last season (17.4% of what the Dawgs averaged in their 13 other games). Murray and company will want some revenge. Georgia will be at home, away from the dizzying crowd and near-deadly humidity that an early game in Columbia, SC offers. South Carolina’s offense will be without Marcus Lattimore who racked up 515 total yards and four TDs against the Bulldogs in three games. Surely Georgia’s young defense can keep the slow-motion scrambling of Connor Shaw under wraps. Surely Grantham’s defense will be able to pressure Dylan Thompson as he looks downfield for his mostly under-sized wide receivers.
Upon Further Review:
But Georgia should have played South Carolina much better last season. Georgia shouldn’t have trailed 21-0 just 9:42 into the game. Georgia shouldn’t have trailed 35-0. Heck, Georgia shouldn’t have been allowed to score with 1:55 remaining in the fourth quarter.
South Carolina always plays well against Georgia. Last year the Cocks beat the SEC East Champs 35-7, but lost to Florida 44-11 and were tied 7-7 with FCS Wofford with less than 12 minutes left to play in the game. In 2011 South Carolina put together a slew of near-unrepeatable plays (68 yard fake-punt-run by a DE, INT return for TD, 5 yard fumble return for TD) to survive 45-42 against Georgia. The next week they needed a fourth quarter comeback to defeat Navy 24-21. In 2010 the Cocks beat Georgia (17-6) and Alabama (35-21) before losing to Kentucky. Georgia always plays a good South Carolina team, even when that South Carolina team isn’t always good.
It needs to be the Georgia Bulldogs who play their best game of the season in order for this trend to be reversed. Georgia has more talent and more depth than the Cocks, but for the past six years Spurrier has been the better coach.
Way Too Early Prediction:
Georgia gets out to an early (albeit small lead) and effectively manages the clock to hold on to a 28-24 win. Gurley and Marshall each put up 100 yards, but with much lower than normal yards-per-carry averages and much higher usage rates.
Hypothetical Season Outlook:
Georgia stands at 2-0 before heading into an off-week preceding a matchup with the LSU Tigers.
That’s all I got/