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Georgia (-7.5) at South Carolina

Georgia (-7.5) at South Carolina (3:30 pm ET, CBS)

The first big ballgame of the 2008 SEC campaign takes place in the Palmetto State where fierce rivals Georgia and South Carolina go head-to-head. The Bulldogs are ranked #2 in the country, playing as a 7-1/2 point road favorite, and are backed by over 80% of the early action at Sportsbook.com.

Georgia has fallen from the perch of number one and that is the least of head coach Mark Richt worries. The Bulldogs have already lost three starters for the season, with a team that is extremely talented, though not especially deep.

This places the burden on quarterback Matthew Stafford to carry the load and hope defensive replacements step up. Stafford has the ability to be the leader and needs to go out and prove it. Despite the injury bug, Georgia seems ready made for this situation with a 21-4 straight-up and 15-10 ATS record in true SEC road games since Richt settled in Athens.

South Carolina was stunned in SEC action last Thursday, losing at Vanderbilt 24-17 and could be in real trouble with an 0-2 start in-conference. Chris Smelley handled the quarterbacking duties last week and will have a couple extra days to prepare for Georgia, though Tommy Beecher will be with helmet on waiting to go in.

The Gamecocks defense, after dominating the first half at Vandy, couldn’t overcome offensive miscues and their own.

The visitor is 5-2 ATS in this series, with South Carolina off a 16-12 Georgia upset last year on the road. The favorite is 7-4 against the number, with five of the last seven games being decided by six or fewer points. This SEC conflict should fit right in, with the Under a consideration.

Georgia covers


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