Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Implications of the Georgia Bulldogs versus the South Carolina Gamecocks Showdown

This was first posted on - HERE.  They asked me to weigh-in on just how important the UGa vs SC game is in relation to the SEC East hunt.  Read below my post....

Implications of the Georgia Bulldogs versus the South Carolina Gamecocks Showdown

Some may call it a border war and some just call it another day in SEC football as every contest is of crucial importance. Ask many Carolina fans who they consider a rival after Clemson and most will say Georgia. Even Georgia fans have certain distaste for Carolina and having Steve Spurrier roam the sidelines does not help. Make no mistake about this…this game means a lot to the way the SEC East will shake out. Both teams want to win this game but only one will. I say the winner of the 2009 match-up finishes second in the SEC East- it is considered a “must win” by both teams.

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.

Most, coming into the 2009 college football season picked UGa to finish 2nd in the SEC East so for them to accomplish this expectation, well it begins this Saturday on ESPN. For the Gamecocks and having one of the toughest schedules in the nation, this is an early SEC test and a “must-win.”

Generally, the winner of the USC v UGa game goes on to win on average 8 games for the season. So this game is vitally important for both teams to start the season. Beginning, 0-1 in SEC play is not what either team wants to do in ’09.

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. So much is riding on this game for both teams from SEC conference success to recruiting battles.

If Georgia loses this game, you will begin to hear rumbles amongst the bulldog faithful. Not saying Mark Richt will get fired but many will begin to question louder some decisions and play calling. If Georgia should win then things do not get any easier with Arkansas then Arizona State before LSU. As you can see from this upcoming slate that the USC game is a “must-win” for Mark Richt.

For the Gamecocks, for them to build upon the NC State win and have a successful 2009 then winning in the state of Georgia is a must. If this game is won they could easily begin the season 3-0 before heading into an ESPN Thursday night game against a Top 10 team in Ole Miss. Lose this game and not only are bragging rights lost (over 12 players from USC are from the state of Georgia) but work will be left to do to finish higher than fourth in the SEC East due to the schedule. Spurrier wants this ‘W’ as he wants to prove progress is being made under his tenure. Winning this game will make a lot of people in Columbia happy.

This game will prove worth watching with lots of stories lines going into this game from the close games in the past to implications in the SEC East hunt. Expect a nail-bitter as usual and expect each player to give their all. Whoever wins this game in 2009 gets the bragging rights, quiets the doubters and finishes behind Florida in the East.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does this mean everyone starts calling for SOS' head or is a close loss to UGA gonna be ok?