South Carolina Gamecocks vs Georgia Bulldogs Handicapping Preview
A glut of marquee match-ups greets the college football world in the second week of the season; one of the games that stand out is Alabama vs. Penn State.
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#12 South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Sanford Stadium, Athens GA
Saturday, Sept. 10, 4:35 pm EST
NCAA Odds from Bookmaker Sportsbook:
MoneyLine: South Carolina -145, Georgia +125
Spread: South Carolina -3, Georgia +3
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Another one of the great games this week is the SEC East divisional clash between Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks and Mark Richt’s home-side Georgia Bulldogs. While Carolina is ranked (as an upper-half SEC school is liable to be) Georgia started the season 0-1, after a 35-21 loss to dominant Boise State. The Bulldogs were dealt a pretty hellish start from the schedule-makers in 2011, with Boise and South Carolina in the opening couple weeks.
Georgia also has its top offensive lineman, tackle Trinton Sturdivant, out for the season with a knee injury.
Excuses only take you so far, however, and a win at home against a strong Carolina squad would do much to right the ship Between the Hedges. In order for it to happen, the defense must rally the horses and find a way to stop excellent Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore, the sophomore had an outstanding freshman season in 2010 and only racked up 112 yards and 3 TDs against East Carolina last week.
Carolina QB Stephen Garcia is also adept at scrambling, as was evidenced by his five carries for 56 yards vs. ECU, and two rushing TDs in his own right. That sort of overwhelming running game will be tough for Georgia to handle, especially with the absence of starting LB Alec Ogletree due to injury.
Something encouraging for the Bulldogs, though, is watching the Gamecocks’ “D” surrender a whopping 37 points against East Carolina, a Conference-USA outfit. If Carolina is going to get torched like that against ECU, it bodes well for impressive young Bulldogs pivot Aaron Murray. The sophomore had 236 passing yards and two aerial TDs in a losing effort last week. Murray will be unable to operate, though, if the Georgia O-line cannot keep him upright.
Boise State got to Murray for several sacks in Week One and the front five must be in better form against an athletic, hungry Gamecocks pass rush. When Murray is given time, he has proven to be deadly, as he established a nice rapport with TE Orson Charles and connected on a few big gainers to freshman Malcolm Mitchell (the frosh had three receptions for 21.3 ypc in Week One). It also helps that starting Gamecocks CB Akeem Auguste is out for an indeterminate amount of time with a foot injury.
Georgia is usually a top dog (pun intended) in the SEC East, but the seat has gotten somewhat warmer for Coach Richt in what is an undeniable coaching carousel in the college football world these days. Richt can satisfy the rabid Georgia fans, boosters and administration by nabbing a home victory here in Week 2.
South Carolina is a very good football team, but it might be just slightly overrated due to a down year in the East division in 2011. Again, if the Georgia offensive line can band together and plug the holes, the pre-conditions seem in place for the home side to pull a (admittedly mini) upset against ranked South Carolina.
In a conference where so little separates several highly talented football programs, home-field advantage can mean a great deal (especially because SEC fans are so uncannily rabid). The duo of Garcia and Lattimore will truly be a handful to contain, but Georgia has size and speed on defense and if Murray gets his time to operate in the pocket, look for Georgia to take this one.
Over is 6-2 in SOCAR last 8 conference games.
Over is 8-3 in SOCAR last 11 games on grass.
Over is 9-4 in SOCAR last 13 games overall.
Under is 27-13 in GEO last 40 games in September.
Under is 13-1 in the last 14 meetings.
Score Prediction: Georgia 21, South Carolina 20
Over/Under Prediction: 40.5
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