No. 6 South Carolina Gamecocks (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date and Time: Saturday September 7th, 2013. 4:30PM Eastern
Where: Sanford Stadium Athens, G.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: USC +3/UGA -3
Over/Under Total: TBA
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The road to Atlanta for the SEC Championship starts less than a 100 miles
away this Saturday when the no. 5 Georgia Bulldogs host
the no. 6 South Carolina Gamecocks inside Sanford Stadium
in Athens. The Gamecocks and the Bulldogs are among the top two teams in
the SEC East this year and the winner of this Saturdays showdown would
take the drivers seat in the division race. Last year the Gamecocks completely
blew away Georgia 35-7 inside Williams-Brice Stadium in a similarly hyped
game. The blowout victory for South Carolina marked the first time in school
history the Gamecocks beat the Bulldogs in 3 consecutive seasons. Obviously
things will be much tougher for South Carolina this year as they travel
between the hedges but the Gamecocks still look to make it 4 in a row while
taking control of the SEC East.
Last week the Gamecocks showed balance on both sides of the ball in a 27-10 victory over North Carolina. The Gamecocks defense held the Tar Heels to their lowest point total in the Larry Fedora era as South Carolinas defensive line dominated up front. While all the hype was around Heisman hopeful DE JaDeveon Clowney, it was the rest of the South Carolina defensive line that got the job done. The Gamecocks were able to keep constant pressure on North Carolina QB Bryn Renner and that is something that will need to do again this Saturday against Georgia All-SEC quarterback Aaron Murray.
Despite Georgias tough opening loss to no. 8 Clemson 38-35, Murray was impressive as he completed 20 of 29 passing for 323 yards and 1 pick. Star running back Todd Gurley also shined in the opener to gain 154 yards on just 12 carries. The Georgia offense is extremely balanced with the big arm of Murray under center along with talented tailbacks Gurley and Keith Marshall. Georgia was able to move the ball at will against Clemson but a botched field goal and some disappointing defense led to their demise. The Bulldogs young defense will have their backs to the wall yet again this Saturday in what has to be a must win situation for Mark Richts Bulldogs and their lofty expectations for 2013.
While it will be interesting to see if South Carolinas stout defense can get a grasp on Georgias star powered offense, it will also be interesting to see how Georgias defense responds this week on the other side of the ball. South Carolina does not have the up tempo quick striking offense that Georgia saw in Clemson last week. However, the Gamecocks do have plenty of talent and balance on the offensive side of the ball to equally frustrate the Bulldogs. Last week the Bulldogs gave up 467 total yards on defense and 197 yards on the ground.
One thing South Carolina can do extremely well is run the football. The Gamecocks average 320 pounds among the offensive line and have two talented running backs in their stable. Starting tailback Mike Davis displayed some homerun capabilities last week breaking open a 75 yard touchdown run to put the North Carolina game away. Davis ended with 115 yards on 12 carries with 1 touchdown. Additionally backup Brandon Wilds added some solid work with 12 carries for 64 yards. If you take these two talented runners along with the running capability of QB Connor Shaw, the Bulldogs worries surrounding their ability to stop the run will be at an all-time high this Saturday.
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While South Carolina is most dangerous on the ground, coach Steve Spurrier will also dial up some passing plays as well. WR Shaq Roland caught a 65 yard touchdown pass from Shaw last week in the Gamecocks 3rd play from scrimmage. The Gamecocks will surely put the focus of their offense behind the running game this week in effort to control the line of scrimmage and keep the Georgia offense on the sidelines. However if the Gamecocks can connect on a few more big passing plays, it could definitely aid in their effort to win 4 in a row over the Bulldogs.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think the wrong team is favored in this game. I know it will not be a popular pick for Georgia to lose two in a row to start the season, but I think the Gamecocks match-up better on both sides of the ball. Take South Carolina +3
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