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Saturday News and Notes: Gamecocks Clinch UGA Series and Second in the East

South Carolina took out the Dawgs again last night, this time by a score of 7-4. Nolan Belcher gets the win and pitched a very good game; the score was 7-1 until UGA put up three in the final two innings against our bullpen. The victory clinches the series and ensures second in the East. More importantly, the win along with Arkansas's loss to Ole Miss, if I'm not mistaken, ensures fifth seed in Hoover. A win tomorrow would be good for regional seeding and, of course, the pride of sweeping UGA. Georgia fans have to be wondering what has happened to their team. Kyle King of Dawg Sports sure is. We know how it feels, Kyle. As for us, we can be proud of a team that has pulled it together in a big way down the stretch.

The AJC reports that we rank sixth in the SEC with 71 career starts for returning offensive linemen (H / T Get the Picture). By comparison, UGA leads the SEC with 99 and Arkansas has the fewest with 43. (The number for Arky, by the way, makes me even more skeptical of Razorbacks Expats claim that the Hogs will take us this year; can you imagine what Eric Norwood will do against their young line?) Although the fact that we lost one of our best in Jamon Meredith hurts, I would say that's a promising statistic for a unit that's had lots of trouble over the past few years. Plus, we have what is hopefully a superior coach coming in in Eric Wolford. I'm hesitant to get too excited over the possibility for good line play, but I'm honestly beginning to feel like this is one place where we should see a lot of improvement this year. Of course, we can only go up, so maybe that doesn't mean much.

Rivals has their position and coaching power rankings up, and we have a few guys on the lists, including Eric Norwood, Weslye Saunders, and Ellis Johnson. I have to say that I think Norwood is a little low at 12; I would probably put him at seven or eight. (While I hate to say it, another guy I think is too low at his position is CJ Spiller.) Also notable: Steve Spurrier is off the coaching list. I'd say that's fair; people aren't going to leave him on these lists forever for things he did a decade ago. However, if he can get us to eight or nine wins this year, I say put him back on.

Dawn Staley's recruiting class, highlighted by Kelsey Bone, ranks fourth in the country. Staley's first year in Columbia was pretty lackluster, but if she continues to recruit like this, it won't be long before she's competing with Tennessee and Auburn for SEC titles.