As always, visit the Gameday Thread during the game with your thoughts. And, if necessary in this game, condolences and prayers.
1. Knowshon Moreno. It's not just his leaping ability, which has been concealed by the Communists at ESPN, that should cause you to fear the Georgia running back. It's just that he's good. Real good.
Moreno picked up 104 rushing yards against South Carolina last year, averaging 7.4 ypc, though it should be noted that he failed to score a touchdown. Like the entire Georgia team.
2. Matthew Stafford. Forget all the talk that Stafford is an average quarterback. So far, he's looked solid, though that comes against mediocre opposition.
|2008 - Matthew Stafford||2||173.9||31||49||63.3||488||244.0||15.7||4||0||5||25||12.5||5.0||0||-||-|
That pass efficiency rating, by the way, is good for 16th in the country. Will Stafford have a harder time against opposition that's better than Georgia Southern or Central Michigan? Probably. But he also doesn't have any interceptions this year -- which indicates that he likely hasn't done anything stupid with the ball.
3. Evil Richt. He will re-emerge, and there's no better time than the present. The spelling-challenged Dawgs want to win this one -- bad -- and that's when the alter ego of Mark Richt usually appears. Dressed in black, he could ask Moreno to celebrate a touchdown with a triple salchow or use any other nefarious means to motivate his players. This will be a big deal for Urban Meyer.
4. Revenge. The reason, of course, that the Georgia partisans want this one is because of last year's abysmal game in Athens. And can you blame them? If your team lost to South Carolina at, then watched the Gamecocks collapse as it became clear that the early-season loss to a mediocre team cost you a chance at the SEC championship and the national title, wouldn't you be pissed?
5. Momentum. These teams have been going in opposite directions for almost a year now. Georgia has won nine straight; South Carolina has lost seven of its last eight and five consecutive conference match-ups.
1. Steve Spurrier. Talk all you want about whether the Head Ball Coach has lost something off his fastball, but he always has something read for Georgia. He hates the spelling-challenged Dawgs with a passion; count on him to pull out all the stops in this game. It might not be enough, but he'll try. He's 1-2 against Georgia at South Carolina, but he's outcoached Richt in two of the three games -- terrible execution doomed the Gamecocks in 2005.
2. Jared Cook. Let's not get stupid here -- the Gamecocks offense will be badly hurt by the absence of Kenny McKinley. But Cook has shown he can step up if need be. He's got 10 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. He will have to have six or more catches for 80 or more yards for South Carolina to even have a chance.
3. The defense. South Carolina's pass efficiency defense is 7th in the country, and the total defense is ranked 9th. Granted, that's against N.C. State and Vanderbilt, but that's all we've got to go on right now. But, with the Gamecocks playing as tough a slate as almost anyone else in the cupcake-consuming SEC right now, they're still the No. 1 ranked total defense in the conference.
4. Passing game. Don't laugh. Okay, you can laugh. But Georgia is 10th in the SEC in pass efficiency defense after playing Georgia Southern and Central Michigan. This isn't so much a reason that South Carolina will win as a reason the Gamecocks won't lose; the quarterbacks might be able to escape this game with fewer than three interceptions.
5. Stephen Garcia. Expect THE SAVIOR OF THE PROGRAM to finally see the football field. Georgia won't have a great chance to prepare for Garcia, the last time he played was in high school almost two years ago, so game film is probably not very reliable. In a game South Carolina isn't likely to win, he's as good a reason as any that they might pull it out.
RESULT: But pull it out they won't. Sure, history tells us this will be a close game. And there's no reason to believe that the Gamecocks can't win a moral victory -- in this case, leaving the stadium with their dignity. That's the best-case scenario, though. Georgia 24, South Carolina 17