Georgia – South Carolina – Expectations Versus Hope
Bulldog Nation expects to contend for the Southeastern Conference Championship. The Gamecocks hope the past two weeks were not a harbinger of things to come. After giving up 52 points at home in the SEC opener, Steve Spurrier and South Carolina enter week three with their backs against the conference wall. Still, the Ole’ Ball Coach has made a living turning Bulldogs into bad Dawgs.
Bulldog Nation – Maintain Momentum
Sanford Stadium featured a raucous crowd firmly behind the home team, leading UGA to a convincing week one win over Clemson. Now, the Bulldogs must visit South Carolina to face a desperate conference foe. The Dawgs must not give Cocky and company anything easy early, as Georgia has the talent to pull away late.
Feed the Beast – Embrace the Heisman Hype
Todd Gurley leads the way with regard to early Heisman Trophy hype. After scoring four touchdowns in the first game of 2014, the eyes of the college football world are on TGIII. Bulldog Nation has a stable of running backs in its arsenal. TGIII leads the way, but running backs such as Keith Marshall, Nick Chubb, and Sony Michel have proven able to contribute when called upon.
Jeremy Pruitt Makes Immediate Impact in Athens
Georgia’s biggest move this past offseason occurred off the field when the Dawgs hired Jeremy Pruitt to be their defensive coordinator. In 2013, Pruitt’s FSU defense dominated college football. At present, the Bulldogs appear poised to bring defensive dominance back between the hedges. Let us not get ahead of ourselves though, two great quarters only represents progress, not a finished product.
South Carolina’s Secondary Sucks
Georgia’s running game was special in week one. However, the Gamecock’s biggest weakness is found in their secondary. After giving up more than 500 yards through the air against the Aggies of A&M, Carolina gave up 321 more passing yards to East Carolina last week.
If one puts their ear to the crowd anywhere in the college football universe it is almost possible to hear the Georgia bandwagon piling up. From a fan standpoint the hype is a lot of fun, but it will be interesting to see whether UGA can manage expectations. As for the opposition, Steve Spurrier’s mouth is the only thing crowing right now in Carolina.
Prediction: Georgia Bulldogs 31, South Carolina Gamecocks 17.
Other than Steve Spurrier’s propensity to make life miserable for Georgia, there is not much to indicate the Gamecocks can keep up with the Bulldogs. South Carolina has looked average at best, while UGA is in pretty much every early College Football Playoff bracket. If South Carolina is victorious Saturday afternoon, it will speak far more about Georgia being overrated than the fighting Spurrier’s being underrated.
For what it’s worth, Steve Spurrier has a record of 15-6 coaching against the University of Georgia. Even so, five of those losses have come during his tenure in Carolina. The father of the “fun n’ gun” offense may not have much fun in 2014.
UPDATE: Urgent Memo to Georgia – Be on the lookout for fake punts.