The South Carolina Gamecocks move into a, let’s say, challenging stretch of their schedule with a trip to No. 3 Florida on Saturday afternoon. The Gators are looking like the clear class of the SEC East right now, and as their ranking would indicate, one of the better teams in the country. Here’s how the GABA gang is feeling about the matchup.
Demetri: You know when isn’t a good time to not know the status of your best pass defender? The week you are facing the Kyles (which sounds like what we should start calling male Karens). Fingers crossed we see a better effort from the o-line this week. Colin Hill proved with time, he and Shi can make anyone pay, and Florida’s defense was...let’s say “lacking” last week. I don’t think Carolina can win this game. Florida is a legit title contender, but if the Cocks can step up in the secondary, they can make it interesting. Florida 42-35.
DC3: The only positive thing about traveling to Gainesville in week two of a bizarrely crafted all-conference schedule with a team trying to find both its identity and its swagger is that at least The Swamp won’t be packed to the rafters with folks in orange and blue chanting their cacophonous ‘DAA NA NA NANA GO GATAAZ!’. But seriously, the defense faces a tall task if they want to hold Florida to a respectable point total. I can’t quite tell if Florida is ‘legit’ yet but their offense can make you pay, and Carolina struggled to put pressure on Tennessee last week even while fully healthy. The Gamecocks will be able to score from the air, but without some consistency and a bigger push from the OL it could be a very frustrating afternoon for the good guys. Florida’s secondary looked sketchy last week also, and USC likes to upset top ten teams early in the season...but...I expect an entertaining game where ultimately Florida puts away in the fourth quarter.
Florida 38 - Carolina 31
Adam: Glad to see that Demetri is in better spirits this week! I actually thought South Carolina looked pretty good in the opener. Florida looked better though. We do have a winning streak against #3 teams on the road (lol UGA) but I’m not holding my breath this year. UF 38 - 20.
Matt: I just wanted to say that Florida put up 51 on Ole Miss. It wasn’t some prestigious football school with a lockdown defense. To be honest, the Gamecocks had one of their best offensive showings against an SEC opponent in years the last time they played the Rebels. I’m going to seperate from the crowd and hold off on my praise of Florida until they can prove they can play on both sides of the ball. On that note, Mukuamu is suiting up this week and will help a Gamecock secondary that was, well, bad after he exited the game last week. If Muk at least limits Pitts and this defense gets pressure on Trask with four or five guys, I can see this game going a lot better than many see it going. Give me Florida in a shootout 42-31.
Kody: After UF’s defense let Ole Miss run wild, I think there’s an understandable sense of hope that the Gamecocks can put up their share of points too, so we’ll see if Florida has tightened that up or if South Carolina can find some opportunities the way the Rebels did. On the other hand, while the defense should be the strength of this squad, it was pretty underwhelming against Tennessee and Kyle Trask isn’t going to be missing the kinds of throws Jarrett Guarantano did. I’m also very, very concerned about Kyle Pitts, who’s a total matchup nightmare in every way. I think the Gators win this one going away, 38-20, but hopefully we see some more signs of life from the offense and guys not named Shi Smith get involved.
Katie: Y’all know the drill. I’m predicting a win. It seems wildly unlikely, given that Florida is ranked No. 3 and South Carolina is, uh, South Carolina, but what the heck. Let’s get wild in week two.