Georgia 60, the state of South Carolina 7

ATHENS - Maybe an all-star team from the Palmetto State would work.

The best of South Carolina and Clemson and Furman and perhaps anybody from the Carolina Panthers who live south of the line.

And take on Georgia. Not a bad idea, because the two major college teams have a serious and convincing 0-2 this year against the Bulldogs.

Granted, it's still hard to figure out what Clemson and South Carolina have to offer. Clemson's clearly not very good, and USC is off a solid win over an overrated team that didn't have its quarterback.

Georgia? Well, there are certain things one can glean even from competition that's not all that stellar.


This is a smart team coached by a smart group. Thomas Davis is a first-team all-SEC defensive player no matter where he plays. Michael Cooper has the wiggle. David Pollack is a pest even when he's 15 yards from the ball, which isn't very often.

And Neil Callaway is doing some kind of job with a young offensive line that is in mid-season, veteran form. The only bad sack Saturday was when Greene had enough time to order a pizza and failed to get rid of the ball. It opened some awfully big holes for Cooper, Ronnie Powell, and Kregg Lumpkin.

There's enough depth at receiver to not miss Fred Gibson, for Reggie Brown is nearing the potential discussed a few years ago. And never forget about Damien Gary. There may be enough depth everywhere not to miss somebody.

For the second time in three weeks, Georgia turned what was supposed to be a tough, competitive game into a clinic that made life absolutely miserable for the folks to the east.

It may be time to state it officially: Georgia's program is in the position to simply reload, it's now the Southeastern Conference favorite this year, and it's worth taking seriously as a national championship contender.

Sorry, Nation, gotta call it that way.

There just wasn't much Georgia did wrong. Yet the Bulldogs weren't completely overwhelming. Sure, they were overwhelming the Gamecocks, but South Carolina's game plan and execution weren't exactly impressive in any area.

Quarterback Dondrial Pinkins became the major running threat, and that's never encouraging.

The offensive line found a way to slow down David Pollack: hold him.

The USC receivers didn't drop many passes, only because Pinkins was under serious heat and often just heaved it to an open cameraman or trainer. Uga VI was an unintentional intended receiver at one point.

Sure, this was another game where Georgia could've easily had more points. But the Bulldogs grabbed a big monkey by the ears and flung it from their collective back by having fairly little trouble in the red zone.

A procedure penalty erased a touchdown pass on Georgia's first visit.

"I was thinking, 'Oh, shoot, maybe we're not going to score down there,'"  said head coach Mark Richt with a slight chuckle. "As soon as they raised their hands - touchdown - I said, 'Thank you.. Finally.' We score and there's a penalty. So I'm thinking, 'We're not gonna score a touchdown again.'"

Patience, my son, patience. Perhaps comforted by the ease of that drive - penalty notwithstanding - the Bulldogs had no trouble the next time they got down there, which was on the next possession.

Fact is, Georgia had little trouble with anything South Carolina offered, save for some lack-of-tackling by backups late in the game that led to the Gamecocks' only score. But it's always wise to get experience.

And anyway, Damien Gary brought back a botched squib kick for a touchdown, so that almost erased Carolina's score.

Thus, another expected test was barely a pop quiz, although there's a monster midterm in Baton Rouge awaiting.

"We haven't been in a situation where we've been behind or had someone come back on us and take away our momentum," said Richt. "We don't know how we'll handle adversity. So far, we've played well enough to stay out of it."

That in itself makes life a little easier. And life in the Classic City's not too bad right now.

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