South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: Saturday September 19th, 6:00PM EST
Where: Sanford Stadium Athens, G.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: USC +17/UGA -17
Over/Under Total: TBA
The 7th ranked Georgia Bulldogs will host the South Carolina Gamecocks inside Sanford Stadium this Saturday in a big time SEC East rivalry. This early season game has usually been precedent for the early lead in the SEC East. However those implications may have already been erased thanks to the fact South Carolina was upset last week at home against Kentucky. After several 11 win seasons, the Gamecocks took a big step back in 2014 with a 7-6 record. Many experts were expecting the Gamecocks to rebound this year but last week’s loss proved that the Gamecocks are in serious trouble as an entire program leaving many to wonder if this could be Steve Spurrier’s farewell tour?
Of course the entire talk around a football program can change from week to week and a win this Saturday at Georgia would certainly go along way as to settling the nerves of the Gamecock faithful. Last week against Kentucky, the offense had serious troubles moving the football with quarterback Connor Mitch. It was not until Mitch went down with a separated shoulder that the Gamecocks started moving the football with backup quarterback Perry Orth. Orth responded by leading several drivers down the field in the 2nd half but unfortunately most of those drivers resorted in field goals before a late interception sealed the faith of the Gamecocks.
With Mitch now scheduled to miss 4-6 weeks, the offense will be in the hands of Orth which could be a good thing. South Carolina’s defense has made some serious improvement and they forced 5 straight 3 and outs against Kentucky in the 2nd half to climb their way back into the game. This week the Gamecocks defense will be put to the test against one of the best running back tandems in college football by way of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Chubb proved last year that he can be one of the best tailbacks in the country when he took over for Todd Gurley and posted sensational numbers. The Bulldogs have already racked up 527 rushing yards in their first two games and they will most certainly put the pressure on South Carolina’s defense this Saturday.
However one of the questions that surround Georgia’s offense at this time, is this Georgia offense one dimensional? The Bulldogs have proven they can run the football but they have yet to prove they can throw the football. Once SEC play gets into full swing, they are going to need some balance to withstand the defenses of the conference. Thus far quarterback Greyson Lambert has completed 57% of his passes with 2 touchdowns but there have also been some ugly moments throwing the football.
Despite the loss last week to Kentucky, I was actually encouraged with the play of South Carolina’s defense. The Gamecocks defense was flying around the ball, making stops in the backfield, and laying some big hits. None of those things were seen in 2014. Obviously the offense could not get the job done and the fact they lost to Kentucky at home has nearly overshadowed all the good from that game. However, I really think the Gamecocks are in a bounce back situation with what I saw from their defense last week. If South Carolina can get their fair share of stops, forcing Georgia in passing situations could work in their favor.
These South Carolina vs. Georgia football games have been extremely close for most of both school’s recent history. In fact, only 2 games have been settled by more than 17 points since 2003 and only once was that factor in Georgia’s favor (2006). I just simply think there has been a little over reaction to last week’s loss to Kentucky which has caused a rather large spread. Georgia is great at running the football but their first two football games has hardly been a solid measuring stick for what type of team they have in 2015. If South Carolina’s defense continues to show improvement, this game should be a lot closer than most expect.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take South Carolina +17
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