Note: If you're looking for the 2013 Week 2 matchup between these two teams, please go here: South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Georgia Bulldogs Pick.
No.5 Georgia Bulldogs (5-0 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. No.6 South Carolina Gamecocks (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS)
College Football Week 6
Date/Time: Saturday October 6th, 2012. 7:00PM Eastern
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium Columbia, S.C.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GA +3/USC -3
Over/Under Total: 57
College Gameday will be on hand in Columbia, South Carolina this Saturday when the no. 5 Georgia Bulldogs meet the no. 6 South Carolina Gamecocks in a huge SEC East Division showdown. Not only is this game a huge border rivalry, but both teams are on the verge of really big things. A win would put either the Gamecocks or the Bulldogs in the driver seat in the SEC East. Additionally with the way both teams are playing, the Bulldogs and Gamecocks have the ability to put their selves in the midst of the National Championship talk with a win this Saturday.
The Bulldogs outlasted Tennessee last week in a 51-44 shootout to improve to 5-0 on the year. It was not a pretty performance considering Georgia coughed up 3 turnovers while giving up 30 points to the Volunteers in the first half alone. However, the Bulldogs' offense proved to be too much to handle scoring 40 plus points for the 5th consecutive time this season. Georgia's high powered offense has racked up 536 yards per game this season which ranks 11th in college football. The Bulldogs have a big name quarterback in Aaron Murray combined with a pair of sensational young tailbacks in Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall that make a lethal combination of talent.
Quarterback Aaron Murray currently has the 3rd highest QB rating in the country at 183.5. Murray has completed 68.2% passing on the year for 1,370 yards with 12 scores and just 3 picks. Coming into the 2012 season, Georgia was expected to be a strong passing offense with Murray under center. However, the running game has truly catapulted the Bulldogs' offense to one of the best groups in America. Freshmen running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are both posting insane numbers. Both backs have combined for 120 carries while averaging 8 yards per carry. Gurley leads the team with 536 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns. Marshall has posted solid numbers also with 428 yards and 5 additional scores. When you get that type of success with your running game and have a guy like Murray under center, it's easy to see why Georgia has been unstoppable on the offensive side of the football.
Georgia's high powered offense will get the luxury of being challenged by an unprecedented South Carolina defense. The Gamecocks are flat scary among the defensive line with defensive ends JaDaveon Clowney and Devin Taylor. Clowney has 5.5 sacks on the year and he is a guy that lives in the backfield. Taylor is an equally gifted freak of nature that holds down the other end and contributes to the elite South Carolina pass rush. The Gamecocks defensive line can wreak havoc on quarterbacks if the ball does not get out quick. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if Murray has time to hit open targets down the field with the Gamecocks pass rush breathing down his back.
Overall the Gamecocks defense as a whole has been extremely impressive this year giving up just 11.2 points per game (6th in FBS). South Carolina has also yielded just 288 yards per game this season which ranks 13th overall in total defense. If the Gamecocks can find a way to limit the big plays against the Georgia run game while keeping pressure on Murray, then perhaps they can tame the Bulldog's offense. However that simple task has been impossible for every Bulldog's opponent so far this season.
Offensively, South Carolina is not as talented as Georgia but they have the playmakers to move the football fairly well. QB Connor Shaw is a guy that can make plays with his feet and is one of the most under rated passers in the SEC. Shaw completed 20 straight passes in the 31-10 victory over Missouri two weeks ago in one of the best performances in the SEC in recent memory. Shaw missed some playing time earlier this season with a banged up shoulder, but he has completed an impressive 78% of his passes this season resulting in 5 scores and 2 picks. South Carolina has the passing game to make some plays but the Gamecocks offensive success will most heavily ride on the legs of Marcus Lattimore.
Lattimore is without a doubt one of the best tailbacks in the country. The Gamecocks star back actually led the nation in rushing during the early part of 2011before suffering a season ending ACL injury. Since returning from the injury, Lattimore has had a slow start to the 2012 campaign and media personnel has questioned if he is truly 100%. However Lattimore has been picking up steam in recent weeks and he carried the Gamecocks in the 2nd half against Kentucky last week to end the game with 120 yards and 2 touchdowns. Coach Spurrier and the Gamecocks offense has rode Lattimore in their biggest games over the past few years. Most notably Lattimore's coming out party his freshman season was a182 yard performance against the Bulldogs which was followed up by 176 yards against Georgia last year. Lattimore was the difference in both of those games and it will be interesting to see if he can have another big outing and get another win for the Gamecocks over their fierce SEC rival.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I believe the over 57 is the best play for this game. Georgia was gashed up the middle last week against Tennessee and South Carolina should be able to run the ball pretty well. Additionally, I believe Georgia will put out the entire playbook and do whatever possible to score a lot of points to keep pressure on the Gamecocks offense. Therefore, take the over 57 to the cashier's window!
Note: The Predictem computer picks model forecasts this game to be in the mid sixties (total points).
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