Preview: Georgia at South Carolina
September 7, 2010
This is one of the week's top battles between teams that are highly-ranked in the CCR Top 120. The South Carolina Gamecocks rose from 29th to 22nd after whipping Southern Miss with surprising ease, 41-13, in last Thursday's opener. Georgia jumped from 27-15 with a 55-7 destruction of Louisiana-Lafayette.
Both teams well exceeded the computer's predicted margin of victory in their week 1 games. The Gamecocks were favored by 12.62 and won by 28, while the Bulldogs were favored by 17.66 and won by 48.
The computer likes South Carolina by 1.34 points in this border war rivalry game that has been dominated by Georgia. The 'Dawgs are 7-1 in the last 8 meetings, including the last two in-a-row. Georgia's alltime record in the series is 46-14-2 and it has won the last four meetings in Columbia.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier owned the Bulldogs when he was the head coach at Florida, winning 11 of 12 meetings. But the ol' ball coach is 1-4 versus Georgia since taking the South Carolina reins in 2005.
The winner of this game gets an early inside track to the SEC East title, but it's merely the first step down a long road.
Georgia welcomes back the top seven rushers and top three receivers from a year ago as it returns 8 offensive starters, but leading receiver A.J. Green is still out. Green was suspended for three more games by the NCAA for selling his 2009 Independence Bowl jersey to someone whom the NCAA could classify as an agent. He was held out of last week's contest, too. Green also continues to be the subject of an ongoing NCAA investigation into who did, and who didn't attend an agent's party in Miami in the offseason, though he denies attending the party..
South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders is also being investigated but was held out of the Gamecocks' opener for conduct detrimental to the team. His availability for Saturday's game is also unknown.
Georgia RB Washaun Ealey, the leading rusher a year ago, was also held out of Saturday's win, along with Tavares King, the No. 2 receiver from 2009. Both are expected to play this week after serving suspensions for offseason run-ins with the law.
The computer was 8-4 on its Georgia game predictions a year ago and is 1-0 this year. It was 10-2 with the Gamecocks in 2009 and is 1-0 this season. More importantly, the computer has correctly forecasted the Georgia-South Carolina game winner in eight of the last nine years.
The game will kick off at Noon (ET) on ESPN-2.