DJ's Blog: Through Garnet-Colored Glasses

SEC play begins this week, so I put on my garnet and black cap to look at this week's games through my garnet colored glasses to see how all the SEC games should be viewed from a Gamecock perspective. The picks are not necessarily based on who I would expect to win, but on which team winning is in South Carolina's best interest.

Aubie vs. Bully

First up, Auburn rolls into StarkVegas on Thursday night to take on the improving MSU Bulldogs. The underdog rule applies here, Gamecock fans. With apologies to Auburn grad and Anthem staff writer Paul Stewart, Gamecock fans have a natural affinity for underdogs. USC and MSU don't play each other this year, so there's no dynamic there. Miss State is traditionally to the SEC West what Vandy is to the SEC East - the bottom rung. Dan Mullen had the Dawg faithful beginning to believe that he's got something good cooking in the Davis Wade Stadium oven. And MSU fans are a classy bunch. USC does have to play Auburn this year, on the road. A little War Eagle humble pie should be a good thing from a Gamecock perspective, to have the AU staff and team second guessing themselves when the garnet and black roll into the plains in two weeks on September 25. It takes a little bit of faith to take the plunge, but go Maroon!

Cocky vs. Uga

Next up is the Gamecocks tilt with Georgia. I felt good about this one even before the strong season opening performance by the Gamecocks. The Athens Dawgs have many natural rivals, but no other SEC team brings out the competitive juices of Carolina fans than Georgia. Cue up the classic tune "To hell, to hell with Georgia," and strap on your garnet war gear for the noon Saturday tilt. It should be a good one, even without AJ Green, and I think the AJ on the other sideline, Alshon Jeffrey, is poised to have a game to remember.

Albert vs. Rocky D. Bull

Twenty minutes after the USC-UGA game starts, the Gators will take on the South Florida Bulls. With all due respect to UNC's Buck Sanders, SEC fans really do pull for each other when not playing each other, unlike the ACC fan bases. There is a lot of residual affection for new Bulls skipper Skip Holtz among Gamecock fans, much more than for his father, sad to say, but true. That doesn't change the fact that the Bulls are in over their head against their in-state 800 pound gorilla cousins. I expect USF to put up a respectable showing, but the Gators have something to prove after their less than respectable (by Gator standards) outing in week one and they're going to prove it at the Bulls expense. Take the points, hide the children's eyes, this one might get ugly. Go SEC.

Mike the Tiger vs. Mr. C

LSU almost embarrassed the conference Saturday. A loss to the emasculated Tar Heels would have stunk from Baton Rouge to all points east and north across the SEC footprint. The Bayou Bengals are ripe for an upset, but Vandy doesn't have enough juice in their Commodore caps to pull it off. The collective SEC faithful outside of Louisiana might on occasion wish for a cold cocking of Les Miles' ego, but sometimes you just have to face reality, and change the channel to the next game.

Tusk the Razorback vs. Ace the Warhawk

Arkansas continues their marshmallow roasting for another week when they host Louisiana-Monroe. No worries here: pick the Hawgs, Go SEC. Next.

Smokey vs. the Oregon Duck

Ok, Buck Sanders may have a point when it comes to Gamecock fans pulling for Tennessee, even post-Kiffin. It ain't gonna happen, and I'm not going to waste my time trying to convince anyone otherwise. The Vols will always be the Viles in Gamecock eyes. You have to admire the job Derek Dooley has done cleaning up the program after Lane Kiffin et al split for Hollywood. But the Ducks are going to come in and give Orange Crush a new mojo this weekend in Knoxville, and there won't be many tears shed in Columbia.

Big Al vs. the Nitanny Lion

Beating the #1 program in the land does wonders for a program, just ask Darrin Horn. And beating the defending national champions would do far more for Carolina football than the basketball team's win over Kentucky did for the hoops program. Sorry Penn State and Joe Pa, but the Gamecock faithful should also stick with their SEC brethren on this one. Roll Tide!

Scratch vs. Big Red

Speaking of Darrin Horn, his Alma Mater Western Kentucky takes on the Kentucky Wildcats in the next SEC tilt. Kentucky basketball fans are for the most part crass, but most Kentucky football fans I've met over the last three decades are as nice as anybody you'd want to share a tailgate with. They tend to be knowledgeable about SEC football, not just UK football, the epitome of southern hospitality, and just down home folks. It's easy for USC fans to pull for Big Blue football; both programs have to face the Florida / Georgia / Tennessee gauntlet each year, a tall mountain to climb. Both programs are still hoping to see what the summit looks like. The Gamecocks appear better equipped to scale the mountain this year than the Cats, but for this weekend, Gamecock fans can say Go Cats without reservation.

Admiral Ackbar vs. Riptide the Pelican

Closing out the SEC slate, Ole Miss fans are hanging their heads this week after getting blind-sided last week (sorry, couldn't resist) but Tulane should be the right medicine to cure what ails them. The Green Wave are a more respectable program than the second tier Gamecocks from Jax State that beat them last Saturday, but the Rebels should be able to regroup and beat them easily, as long as they get their heads screwed back on right. Tulane hasn't had a noteworthy season since Tommy Bowden left New Orleans late in the last century, and the Rebs should take care of business Saturday. Go SEC, go Ole Miss debutantes, go!

Have a great week, and go SEC!

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