Thursday, September 11, 2014

Georgia vs. South Carolina Implications, Williams-Brice, and Visor Throwing

Georgia vs. South Carolina, a cross state rivalry game that has grown from a regional rivalry to a rivalry with national implications on it year in and year out. Typically the first SEC slotted game on each schools schedule, this game puts the winner in the drivers seat to win the SEC East. This year will be no different.

Two years ago Georgia rolled in to Columbia, SC as the fifth ranked team in the country, South Carolina ranked number six. A highly touted showdown turned out to be no contest what so ever. The game was over mid-way through the first quarter as USC jumped out to a 21-0 lead. Aaron Murray and the Georgia offense turned in a dismal performance and might as well have just stayed on the bus.  Something about Georgia playing in Williams-Brice has always given them issues. This series has historically been a battle and Georgia's historically had trouble putting up offense and points in Columbia. Their point totals for their last six trips tell that story:

2012 - 7
2010 - 6
2008 -14
2006- 18
2004 - 20
2002 -13

 Saturday's game is a really intriguing matchup. I think it's going to be a battle as usual and has the potential to swing either way.  South Carolina is going to come in with a chip on their shoulder after an opening embarrassment to Texas A&M, but Georgia comes in with a lot to prove as well. It's going to be interesting to watch the game develop. I think the key player to watch is Hutson Mason. Mason wasn't asked to do much in week one as Georgia's four deep running attack wore down Clemson's defense. Georgia comes in missing their top two deep threat receivers so they don't bring anything intimidating in the downfield passing game. But, with the early issues shown by the USC secondary I think Georgia at least takes a few shots down field early. Georgia presents issues in their secondary as well, but I was impressed with the halftime adjustments they made against Clemson. Dumping Granthem and hiring Pruitt was a smart coaching decision.  If Mason were to come out and make a few early mistakes, I think that would put UGA in a position where it would be difficult to win the game.  Mason gained some experience in a few starts last year, but this is the highest pressure start he has had in his career and will certainly be the toughest environment he has every played in.

  Interestingly enough, Georgia and South Carolina both play the same SEC teams on their remaining schedule: Auburn, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky and Missouri. Both teams lucked out and  as they don't play any powerhouses from the West outside of Auburn (LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M). Again, this just sets this game for huge implications on who wins the east.

I think Georgia wins a close battle, but it wouldn't surprise me if they come out flat and have to fight from behind to do it based off their recent history in Columbia. If your Georgia, give the ball to #3 until South Carolina proves they can stop you.  When healthy, Gurley is the best running back in college football. If they are in a lot of third and longs, they won't win this game. I think if South Carolina's Mike Davis stays healthy he could be in for a big game as well.

On a separate note, I have always wished they would come out with a line for how many times Spurrier will throw his visor over the course of a game. Though Spurrier doesn't look it, he is aging. Thus I think there could be a drop in visor throws over the course of this season compared to previous years. However looking at this game and the potential of frustration that Georgia's running attack presents, I think the spread for visor throwing would come in at 2*

*Visor throwing point system
 1 point for visor off the head, makes contact with the ground.

Might be a good week to take the over.


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