Predicting The Upset

Steve Spurrier and his Gamecocks face the seemingly impossible task of defeating the Georgia Bulldawgs in their own junkyard ...

If you watched both games last week, as most of us did, you could not help but to walk away thinking South Carolina has little to no chance of beating the Dawgs in Athens.

You may be right once all is said and done Saturday.

But there are plenty of reasons to believe that the Gamecocks are primed to pull off a big upset tomorrow in Georgia.

On paper, strictly Xs and Os speaking, South Carolina is in trouble. The Gamecocks are not as big, not as fast, not as talented nor are they as experienced. Add the homefield advantage and a vicious homer crowd wanting vengeance over Steve Spurrier, and there is little wonder why the Vegas oddsmakers have Georgia winning by 17.5.

What oddsmakers, fans and coaches alike are forgetting is that you can throw the book out when these two teams face off. Especially in recent decades.

South Carolina has been favored only once in the past three decades verses Georgia. In 1995 Brad Scott took his Gamecocks to Athens favored by a point and a half.

Georgia won the game 42-23.

Georgia has been favored in all games of the past 20 years, except that '95 contest. Yet they lead the series during that same frame of time by only three games, all three of which were won in the past three years. All very close games that could have gone either way.

The series has all the makings of a rivalry game for both teams, even though Georgia fans would never admit as much.

The Dawgs will come into the game tomorrow ooozing confidence and demanding a slaughter. And that will prove to be the chink in their armor in the end.

Steve Spurrier loves playing the underdog role. And while Mark Richt will use the Lou Holtz preseason prediction to fire-up his players, all Spurrier will have to do is remind his that this is Georgia. No one likes Georgia. Not the fans, not other coaches, not even outsiders who otherwise would care less about the SEC.

Everybody loves to watch the Dawgs go down.

So what does that have to do with anything? Here is what.

Everyone will be pulling for South Carolina tomorrow. Florida fans, Tennessee fans, Alabama fans, Auburn fans, etc., etc., etc.

Gamecock fans and coaches alike will gladly accept the well wishes of others.

That, more than anything else, is the reason we might witness an upset Saturday. The country will be pulling for the Gamecocks. The underdog program wins a big one on National TV under the guidance of a coach who brings with him a legendary status.

This is a cinderella story in the making.

South Carolina will surprise Georgia Saturday. They will play with more enthusiasm, more intensity and more focus than the Dawgs.

Spurrier's first order of business will be to weather the early storm Georgia is going to bring. Afterall, that will be Mark Richt's strategy. To hit hard and fast from the opening whistle and in the process overwhelm the Gamecocks.

If they fail to do so it will play into South Carolina's advantage. And the longer the Gamecocks absorb the punches without going down, the more their confidence will grow.

Take the crowd out of the game.

Big plays will help the Gamecocks.

Anything that goes in the favor of SC tomorrow will be magnified by ten. Everything that SC does that catches the Dawgs off guard will serve to confuse and bewilder.

Spurrier knows he cannot line it up and go head-to-head with the Dawgs. And he has planned accordingly.

This will not be the same Gamecock team taking the field tomorrow that took the field last week against Central Florida. They will be showing a different package with different players in different spots.

This game is perfect for Spurrier to make a statement. Perfect for an upset. Nstional television, strong fan support from the outsiders, and an overconfident bunch down in Georgia.

Do not be surprised. This game has all the makings of an upset in the making.

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