South Carolina Vs. Georgia

Last week, Georgia allowed Georgia Southern and its potent option ground attack to amass 298 yards. Meanwhile, Carolina ran at will against Vanderbilt and netted 269 rushing yards. Carolina ran a number of option plays against Vanderbilt. After competing against a Georgia Southern team that runs the option to perfection, the Dawg defense should have much more success against Carolina's option runs ...

Georgia vs South Carolina

Talent: Georgia has a decided advantage at QB, DT and the safety positions. Georgia has a slight advantage at WR, DE, and CB. TB and TE are even between the two teams. Carolina has a slight advantage at OL and LB.

Depth: Big advantage to Georgia at every position except LB

Team Speed: Advantage Georgia.

Experience: Georgia has 51 lettermen and 19 starters returning compared to 43 and 16 for Carolina. Advantage Georgia.

Momemtum: Advantage Georgia. Dawgs are coming off a SEC East title and projected to be in the hunt for the national championship. Gamecocks have won just one of their last five games.

Confidence: Advantage Georgia. Dawgs have played in more big games and been victorious in them. Gamecocks haven't won a big game in two years.

Homefield: Slight advantage to Carolina even though Georgia is 12-1 in road games since Richt took over.

Coaching: Georgia head coach has been a more consistent winner and has done a better job of filling needs in recruiting than Carolina head coach Lou Holtz. Last season, Georgia scored 31 points while gaining 378 yards against Carolina. Carolina scored only 7 points despite gaining only 28 fewer yards than Georgia. Those figures show that the Georgia coaches did a better job of getting their team to produce on both sides of the ball by turning their offensive yards into points and keeping Carolina's offense from scoring more than one TD. Advantage Georgia.

Georgia pass offense vs Carolina pass defense: Dawg QB David Greene didn't play particularly well against Georgia Southern, but he is a proven commodity. WR Reggie Brown looks primed for a good season, while Fred Gibson should be set for a comeback. Depth could be better. Greene, Brown and Gibson will test a young Carolina secondary that has three new starters. Only two of the top seven Carolina defenders have decent experience. The Carolina front seven must get pressure on Greene. Carolina's defensive line should have a slight advantage over the Georgia offensive line. The Gamecocks showed few blitzes against Vanderbilt. Look for more blitzes in this game. The young Georgia backs will have to prove they can pick up the blitzes. New defensive coordinator Rick Minter has the speed at linebacker to go after Greene similar to what LSU did successfully last season or he can use his linebackers to help the secondary. The former seems to be the lesser of two poisons for Minter. Georgia has an overall advantage here.

Georgia ground game vs Carolina run defense: Last week, the Carolina defense held Vanderbilt to 36 yards rushing. Meanwhile, true freshman TB Danny Ware led a Georgia ground assault that netted 191 yards against Georgia Southern. No one should confuse Vandy's ground game with Georgia's, nor should anyone confuse Georgia Southern's run defense with Carolina's. Certainly, this match up will have a bearing on the outcome of this game. Weather conditions could be a factor. A hot humid day favors the Bulldogs because the Gamecocks don't have enough experienced depth along the defensive front. A cooler, less humid day favors the Gamecocks because their starting defensive front should be better than the Dawgs's offensive line. The Gamecocks hold a slight advantage here.

Carolina ground game vs Georgia run defense: Last week, Georgia allowed Georgia Southern and its potent option ground attack to amass 298 yards. Meanwhile, Carolina ran at will against Vanderbilt and netted 269 rushing yards. Carolina ran a number of option plays against Vanderbilt. After competing against a Georgia Southern team that runs the option to perfection, the Dawg defense should have much more success against Carolina's option runs. Not only do the Dawgs now have experience against the option, Carolina doesn't run the option nearly as well as Georgia Southern runs it. The Gamecocks must be able to run against the Dawg defense to stay in the game. Game-time adjustments to the Carolina ground game by the Carolina coaches will be critical. The match between the Georgia defensive line and the Carolina offensive line will be the best match of the day. Both are above-average units with excellent size. The Dawg defense must tackle well against Gamecock TB Demetrius Summers, who has shown a knack for breaking tackles. Neither unit has a clear advantage here.

Carolina pass offense vs Georgia pass defense: The Georgia pass defense wasn't tested last week because Georgia Southern threw just 15 passes. Carolina starting QB Dondrial Pinkins threw just 18 passes against Vanderbilt. Both units haven't really been tested yet. Georgia has three new starters in the secondary, but the new starters have decent experience. Aiding the Georgia effort will be a defensive front seven that can get good pressure on opponents' passing attacks. Plus, the Georgia defense runs very well. A real key to the outcome of this game will be how well Pinkins handles the pressure and how effectively the Carolina offensive line can block the Dawg front seven. Not having linebackers Odell Thurman and Tony Taylor available aids Carolina. Carolina must make the Dawgs respect their passing game. If they don't , the Dawgs will effectively shut down the Carolina ground game. Georgia has a slight edge here.

Special Teams: Georgia has the overall advantage here. The only areas of special teams that are about equal is punt and kick returns.

This game will not be decided by the talent on the field as much as it will be by the offensive and defensive game plans, as well as game-time adjustments. This is where Georgia has a decided advantage. The biggest advantage will be VanGorder (Georgia defensive coordinator) vs Lou Holtz (Carolina head coach and offensive coordinator). Carolina scored just 24 offensive points despite gaining 453 total yards against Vanderbilt. They wasted several opportunities inside the Commodores 30-yd line and settled for three field goal attempts (missing two of them). The Georgia defensive coaches are superior to the Vandy defensive coaches and they have better players to executed their schemes. Mark Richt will have a tougher time with Rick Minter because he hasn't seen a Minter defense yet. Richt's adjustments during the game will be critical.

Intangibles: How much has Holtz really changed the "culture" of Carolina football? Have the Carolina players bought into it totally? Will the Dawgs come out on fire and try to atone for last week's somewhat dismal effort against Georgia Southern? Will the Gamecocks be seeking revenge for last year's butt whipping at the hands of the Dawgs? How much practice time will the Gamecocks devote to defending Georgia reserve QB D. J. Shockley? Holtz did little in his play calls to allow reserve QB Syvelle Newton to showcase his talents against Vanderbilt. Will he turn Newton loose against the Dawgs?

The recent history, with the exception of last year, has been close games between these two teams. I don't have a good feel for this game. If it is a lopsided score, it will be a Georgia win. Carolina doesn't have the ability to decisively whip the Dawgs. If it is close game, I like Georgia, but concede Carolina could pull the upset. The old crystal ball, which I admit is cloudy, shows Georgia a 17-10 winner.

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