Georgia ready for an inspired challenge

ATHENS - Some South Carolina fans are viewing this weekend's match up with Georgia as on of, if not the, most important games in South Carolina football history.

And they might be right.

Now, South Carolina's tradition isn't necessarily as expansive as some other SEC league foes such as Alabama or Tennessee, but the Gamecock faithful feel that this year, more so than any other, is their chance to write a new history.

With Florida fielding almost a completely new team, especially defensively, from last year's league and national championship squad, Tennessee looking quite vulnerable against California, and Georgia having huge question marks at spots on both sides of the ball – the race for the Eastern division title and a spot in Atlanta is as wide open as it's ever been.

And with Steve Spurrier commenting that he feels this year's Gamecocks are finally ready to compete for the SEC, it seems as if all the pieces are in place for a Carolina run to Atlanta – at least according to the perspective out of Columbia.

Georgia has a say in this too, however, and the Bulldogs are ready to face an extremely focused team Saturday, one that realizes that Georgia's 44-13-2 all-time record won't be opening up running lanes late in the 4th quarter.

"It's (important) to us too," head coach Mark Richt said. "It really is. We know the value of winning this game in the conference, and just what history has proved. It's not been very good for the loser. It's been pretty prosperous for the winner. So we think it's a huge game."

The importance of the game that Richt refers to largely exists because of the game's timing. Rarely is there a game in the SEC this early in the season so important to the rest of the year. A loss severely hinders a team's chances of competing for the SEC crown, and Georgia knows it.

"(South Carolina) always plays us harder than anybody else," running back Thomas Brown said. "In the last three or four years the game has always come down to the wire, only beating them by a couple of points. Even last year it was a shutout but it was still a tough game."

Georgia's hopes of a fourth trip to Atlanta in the last six years will depend heavily upon Saturday night's outcome, and the Bulldogs hope that they can once again come out on the positive side of a game contested to the bitter end.

Dawg Post Top Stories