Series Record: Georgia leads 46-14-2
Georgia's annual slugfest with South Carolina, as usual, came down to the final moments of the game in 2009. When Rennie Curran broke up a pass in the end zone, Georgia had escaped the clutches of the Gamecocks for another season. But, it was not without a lesson that would go unlearned most of the season. Turnovers, which have always been a nemesis for the Dawgs in their contests with Carolina, can and would eventually undo Georgia's season. They didn't cause Georgia to lose the 2009 contest, but turnovers came painfully close to causing the Dawgs lose to Carolina for the second time in a row in Athens.
Now the anxiety-ridden trip to Columbia looms for Georgia at the start of the 2010 season. Georgia and Carolina will be trying to knock Florida off the lofty perch the Gators have occupied the last two years. The game always causes Georgia fans to bite their fingernails, and this fall should be no different.
South Carolina is setting up to have what looks like their best run of the Steve Spurrier era. The expectations are that Carolina will score, and therefore compete in the SEC East. They play Georgia at home; Tennessee is not that great, and they travel to Columbia this season; Alabama, the most challenging game on the schedule, is also in Columbia; Carolina has to travel to play the Gators, but they have played fine in Gainesville under Spurrier.
So, it seems, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Cocks. What Carolina and Georgia fans alike need to remember going into the September fight is that the 2010 season will be a long one. Florida is not so much better than everyone else – like in 2009 – that they will run away with the East. No, instead, the battle for the Eastern Division likely will not be decided until Georgia takes the field at Auburn, and Carolina and Florida fight in the middle of November.
This season will be a slog – both programs need to get ready for it.
LAST TIME OUT:
Most memorable Georgia win: 1980 – Herschel Walker and the Bulldogs best eventual Heisman Trophy winner George Rodgers and South Carolina.
Most painful Georgia loss: 2000 – With all the hype in the world behind their backs, Georgia – and what's supposed to be their Heisman candidate – lose 21-10 in one of the biggest upsets of the year. Quincy Carter throws five touchdowns to help the Gamecocks' cause.
Player to Watch: Steven Garcia has to perform this fall. He will have much of this season's burden on his shoulders. Steve Spurrier is going to go Steve Spurrier and yank him around… by now Garcia should be used to that. The Tampa native has skill and talent, but has only put that combination together during short runs while in Columbia. Garcia could be a surprise SEC Player of the Year candidate if Carolina upends Georgia and Bama. He's good, but has to have some help. Garcia has shown flaws when trying to do too much.
2010's Big Question: Is this the year it finally happens for Carolina and Spurrier?
Recruiting Implications: Moderate. Georgia has gone away from South Carolina as a recruiting destination of late… probably because the talent over there has been slightly limited the last few years. Still, Spartanburg's Charone Peake is a receiving talent to keep an eye on.
Legge's must-win game for the Cocks: Tennessee on October 30th… a loss to Georgia is not a killer for Carolina, but they can't slip up at home to the Vols. The Gamecocks' season will likely hinge on their performance against Tennessee. The SEC East will be a season-long fight – losing to the Vols is out of the question if Carolina wants to make it to Atlanta.