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South Carolina vs. No. 1 Georgia: Roundtable predictions

Tough one ahead of the Gamecocks today.

Syndication: Online Athens Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald / USA TODAY NETWORK

After suffering a tough loss on the road to a now-top 10 Arkansas team, the South Carolina Gamecocks return home for an even stiffer test: a date against the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs, the defending national champions who have made short work of their opponents so far and look every bit the reigning kings of college football. Here’s how the GABA gang is feeling ahead of what will likely be the most challenging game this season.

Kody: Gotta say it – for the second week in a row, I’m just not feeling it. I know that’s hardly a bold prediction when the No. 1 team is rolling up to Williams-Brice, but with this team’s propensity to get off to a slow start and play from behind, that’s just not a recipe for an upset against a team that hasn’t appeared to miss a step despite losing five first-round NFL Draft picks. We’d need Beamer Ball to return in a big way – and have a much better offensive showing overall – to hope to hang with these Bulldogs. This is one of those games where you just hope to see a solid effort, some semblance of preparation and a plan, and not get run out of your own building. Ultimately, we’re going to learn more about these Gamecocks when the meat of the SEC schedule starts in a few weeks against Kentucky.

Brent: Simply put I don’t think it is going to be a good day for the good guys. It doesn't have that much to do with the Gamecocks because I think that South Carolina is a pretty good football team. The Arkansas game was not the disaster that many people in this fanbase are making it out to be. I think Arkansas might be the second best team in the SEC West and the Gamecocks had their chances to win on the road against them. I also don’t think the offense is as bad as people make it out to be. I ask that whatever happens, do not put all of your stock in this season in this one game. The Georgia Bulldogs are a rolling ball of butcher knives on both sides of the football. It is going to take the Gamecocks playing their best football game in a long time, and they are going to have to do something that they have not done many times since 2013 which is use Williams Brice Stadium to their advantage in a big time atmosphere and game. Beginning in the 2014 Texas A&M game, the Gamecocks have not played well at all in big games at home. Whatever happened on that Thursday night in August of 2014 put some bad vibes in the air that have not cleared yet. In 2014 the Texas A&M and Missouri games were letdowns when the stadium was rocking. Then from there on you have the 2015 Kentucky game, 2017 Kentucky (Another Blackout), 2017 Clemson, 2018 Georgia, 2019 Florida, 2021 Kentucky, and 2021 Clemson game when the Gamecocks have seemed to just come out and not even be in the game to where the crowd can be an asset with the exception of a few games. Can they hang around against Georgia to be able to use the fans to their advantage? I have my doubts that the Bulldogs will allow it. My prediction: Georgia 45 South Carolina 14

Matt: I’m going to start by putting it out there that of course South Carolina isn’t going to win. That is not the expectation. What we are watching for is how big of a fight they put up. Although Georgia is the best team in the country, I honestly believe this is a better matchup for the Gamecocks than Arkansas was last week (not to mention people need to stop sleeping on the Razorbacks as well). USC usually fares well defensively against the pass and terribly against the run. Guess what Georgia did offensively through two games? Pass the ball a ton and run it less effectively. Ignoring the small sample size, South Carolina weirdly dominated Stetson Bennett in last year’s matchup, forcing him to throw a pick in his limited number of pass attempts. If we see a repeat performance of that, it’s all up to the offense to keep up, which we’ve seen last week is in fact possible, but can they limit the mistakes? I’m going to take Georgia in a closer than anticipated game by the score of 28-13. I see the fans keeping this game competitive through halftime with the Bulldogs lighting it up after the break.

Katie: Yet again, I am here to counteract the boys with some potentially misplaced optimism. Since my bold prediction of a win last week was, uh, not successful, I’ll try it again this week. In all seriousness though, the offense is gonna have to be a whole lot better this week than they were against Arkansas, or it’s gonna be a long day. There were so many upsets and wild finishes last week, but maybe the Gamecocks can get in on the action with one of their own today. Let’s do the thing with the winning.