Thursday, September 10, 2009
Georgia Bulldogs Preview / Prediction from LOHD
The undefeated gamecocks will travel to Athens, Ga to take on an unhappy bunch of bulldogs in a SEC opener for both teams. Georgia is coming off a tough loss to Oklahoma State that sent the bulldogs from 13th in the AP poll to 21st. South Carolina squeaked out a 7-3 win in Raleigh. But with this game, records don’t matter as this game is always close and seems to shed light on which team will have a better season.
It's been 13 years since Georgia started the season with a losing record and this is the first time since Mark Richt took over that UGa had a losing record for the season, at any point during the season. So trust me when I say...Georgia will be fired up against the Gamecocks! USC will try to open a season with back-to-back road wins for the first time.
Last season, Gamecocks quarterback Chris Smelley threw an interception inside the Georgia 10 with 13 seconds left in a 14-7 South Carolina loss. Georgia’s 18-0 win in 2006 is the only shutout of Spurrier since he arrived at South Carolina (the only other came at Duke in 1987). The 2007 Gamecocks are the only squad to keep a Richt-coached Bulldogs team out of the end zone.
In the past three games between the teams, the Gamecocks and Bulldogs each have just two touchdowns. Spurrier has gone 1-3 against Georgia as the gamecocks coach, his team scoring less than 10 points a game and tallying just three offensive touchdowns in four contests. Neither team has scored more than 20 points in the last six meetings between the schools. And don’t expect anything different Saturday. Both coaches are trying to jump start offenses that struggled during the opener without changing things too radically.
The offenses for No. 21 Georgia and South Carolina struggled in their openers, combining for 17 points. The Gamecocks (1-0) gained just 256 yards in a 7-3 win over North Carolina State, while the Bulldogs (0-1) had just one more yard in a 24-10 loss to fifth-ranked Oklahoma State.
Let’s look at this series, which began in 1894, since 2000:
2008/09/13 South Carolina 7 - Georgia 14
2007/09/08 South Carolina 16 - Georgia 12
2006/09/09 South Carolina 0 - Georgia 18
2005/09/10 South Carolina 15 - Georgia 17
2004/09/11 South Carolina 16 - Georgia 20
2003/09/13 South Carolina 7 - Georgia 31
2002/09/14 South Carolina 7 - Georgia 13
2001/09/08 South Carolina 14 - Georgia 9
2000/09/09 South Carolina 21 - Georgia 10
South Carolina has won 3 times since 2000. South Carolina is (14-45-2) against Georgia all-time. But most important from the above is the fact that you can see (minus 2003 with the 31-7 beat down) this game is always a close contest since 2000.
I feel that 2009, will be no different. Expect a close game.
What to watch for….success in this game will be determined by which team has success throwing the ball. Whichever team can air it out and spread the field and allow a balanced attack to transpire, thus leading to ball control and smart play. So look for Spurrier to test the passing game early. Richt will tell his boys much the same as both teams had poor offensive showings in game 1. Look for them to go a little deeper in the playbook in week 2.
For Georgia to win…Four main things must go right for them to win: Joe Cox has to be great at moving the ball through the air against a stout USC ‘D’, the offensive line for UGa must stop a very good defensive front from SC, AJ Green must be a star for the ‘dawgs at receiver and the Georgia D must limit Garcia through the air.
For Carolina to win…Garcia must have success in the air and deep, the SC offensive line must control the line of scrimmage, USC special teams must execute and the USC Defense must be lights out.
What will decide the winner…Two things –
1. Field position – which team controls that aspect and limits the threat then it will lead to a victory.
2. The team that does not “shoot themselves in the foot” and wins the TO game then it leads to a win.
This game may not have the most potent offenses coming in but these two teams have 2 of the best defenses in the SEC and if not the nation. This game will come down to who can move the ball effectively, field position, who wins the TO battle, special teams play and who does not mess up. Sounds like a good game is in store...and yes Spurrier's best offense may be his defense. But "W's" are wins and Carolina faithful will take them anyway we can!!!
This game in my view is the Gamecocks to lose. I feel Spurrier wants this game badly as it would swirl some “winds” in Athens concerning Richt and his decisions. Spurrier loves to be the catalyst for things like that and what better way to do it then to kick them when they are down. Don’t get me wrong as this game will be low scoring but look for the Gamecocks to win by the score of 20-10 due to some timely Georgia turnovers.