The SEC is on center stage this week as four teams collide in a mini-tournament to see who will be standing to face Alabama for all the marbles. Not really, but almost. Georgia/South Carolina and Florida/LSU are both huge games that will set the tone for the SEC as conference play really starts to pick up.
This guy will be a big factor in Saturday's game
South Carolina/Georgia is so big that College Gameday is going to be live in Columbia this weekend. This game pits the last two SEC East Champions against each other in what has become a pretty good rivalry, or at least a very competitive series, as of late. Overall, Georgia has a dominating lead in the series by over 30 games but when you look a little bit closer, the Gamecocks have won the last two games and three of the last five. The great thing about this rivalry over the last five years is that the biggest margin of victory has been 11 points and the average margin of victory has been only 5.8 points.
We reached out to the great South Carolina blog Leftover Hot Dog to get their take on the game.....
CFBZ: Which players have been the most pleasant surprises so far this year (and why)?
Leftover Hot Dog: Well, the first to come to mind would be backup quarterback Dylan Thompson as he rose to the challenge in filling in for a hurt Conner Shaw. Another has been linebacker Shaq Wilson as he has stepped up this year after being injured in 2011. The Gamecocks defense needed his intensity and efforts in the linebacking corp. Those two players are the individuals that I would say are the pleasant surprises thus far.
CFBZ:After five games, what areas do you see as the weakest parts of the Gamecocks overall game?
Leftover Hot Dog:I think the special teams unit can improve, especially in the kicking game. Need the punter to be consistent and need the kicker to make everything inside 45 yards. Another area that needs to improve is just the Gamecocks, as a whole, coming out of the gate to start a game with determination and having that result in playing a complete game. I think, after five games, we have not seen the Gamecocks 100% and give 100%. Now that the squad is entering a hard part of the schedule, it is time to step up the level of playing.
CFBZ: What concerns you the most about the Georgia game?
Leftover Hot Dog:Having USC come out strong to start the game is a concern due to the fact that the Kentucky game scared me as the Gamecocks were slow out of the gate and it almost cost them the win. That can not happen versus the Bulldogs and UGa is too good to mount a comeback on from a deep hole. I also want to see the USC offensive line and how they respond to the UGa defensive front. This will be the best defensive front the Gamecocks have faced all year and the outcome of the game will be determined on how USC’s OL plays against the UGa DL.
CFBZ: South Carolina wins this game if _________?
Leftover Hot Dog:They must capitalize off of what UGa gives them. Whether it is a turnover or key field position, the Gamecocks must find success on Georgia’s mistakes. This game will likely come down to inches or a turnover. So the Gamecocks have to take what is given. Also I feel that the Gamecocks need to have a balanced offensive attack and on defense, they must pressure Aaron Murray and disrupt his flow. Do those things and the Gamecocks will win.