It's a weekend off for the Gamecocks. That doesn't mean, though, that you shouldn't be paying attention to some of this weekend's games, because we should see some things this weekend that will give us a better sense of what to expect in upcoming weeks. Let's take a closer look at the relevant questions for us regarding the SEC matchups this weekend.
Can 'Bama's secondary handle the Florida aerial attack?
'Bama's young secondary looked confused against Arkansas's passing game early on last weekend. They got it together later in the game, but I don't think this is anything like the 'Bama pass defense of the past two years. At the risk of going against the official story, I think we could pose a more imposing aerial threat than Arkansas. Until he got fumblitis, Stephen Garcia looked every bit as good last weekend as Ryan Mallett did, and that's to say nothing of our fantastic receiving corps. Florida has a weak passing game this year, and I expect them to try to test 'Bama with Trey Burton under center. At some point, though, they'll have to go to the air, and if they have some success, Steve Spurrier and Garcia will be licking their chops.
How Will Greg McElroy Play?
McElroy was touch-and-go last weekend against Arkansas. Good moments, bad moments. I'm still a little uncertain about whether to call him a good QB or a guy who's good enough when he doesn't screw up and the rest of the team is great. If it's the latter, it could be bad news for 'Bama. I don't think the defense is as capable of bailing him out this year, and good DCs (EJ, this is a redemption opportunity) will quickly figure out Mark Ingram / Trent Richardson if McElroy can't produce.
Same Thing, Other Way Around--Can 'Bama Pass Against Florida?
Lot's of people are calling Florida's secondary one of the best in the nation, and I won't dispute that. But how good are they? They've been racking up INTs against pushovers and a decent Kentucky team, but can they do the same against Greg McElroy and the Tide? If they can't, that's good news for the Gamecocks. There are yards to be gained on the ground against the Gators, and in an away game, I would expect us to go to Marcus Lattimore quite a bit in this one. But being able to pass the ball will be important, of course.
Is Kentucky as bad as they looked last weekend?
Going into the season, I saw our game with the 'Cats in Lexington as the biggest trap of the year. Kentucky is gunning to end the streak, and they seem to have a decent team this year. With the game at Commonwealth, I'll admit I've worried about this one. Last weekend, though, Kentucky looked very pedestrian--bad, in fact. Despite what some were saying, I didn't expect UK to beat the Gators, and I don't think anyone really was. But I did think UK had a chance to make things thorny for Florida, and the result was a pretty ugly beat-down at the hands of Urban & Co. Is that the real Kentucky, a team that can whip the have-nots but is no more ready to play in the SEC than it ever was? This weekend's game against Ole Miss might give us an idea. Ole Miss's stock is low right now, but they looked better with a revised offensive approach last weekend. That's typical Houston Nutt; don't be surprised if the Rebs turn out to get it together this year. Can UK hang? Are they good enough to beat a--whether we win or lose against 'Bama--hungover 'Cocks team? (btcoop, feel free to fill us in on the 'Cats perspective on this game.)
Is Vandy any good?
This question is similar to the last, only I have less worries about this one than UK. That may seem strange considering that Vandy beat Ole Miss and that they've had some success against us in recent years, but take it for what it is. I think their luck against us is up.