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Too Much Information: Georgia Bulldogs v. South Carolina Gamecocks

Last week’s edition of Too Much Information was brought to you by Manic Kyle, but Manic Kyle lives no more, having been gunned down by Pistol Pete in the third quarter last Saturday afternoon and buried in a shallow grave on the outskirts of Stillwater. From the time he bought into the ‘Dawgs as a national championship contender, Manic Kyle saw the Georgia Bulldogs go 10-4 while winning ugly and losing uglier. Manic Kyle will not be missed.

Depressive Kyle---or, if you prefer, Realistic Kyle---is on the job, and he will be dispensing knowledge neither with an eyedropper nor a thimble; rather, he will be dumping buckets of minutiae over your head. Delve into the data if you dare as Dawg Sports brings you . . . Too Much Information:

Odds and Ends:

It comes as no surprise to you, I am sure, that the Bulldogs are 0-1. That makes 2009 the eleventh season in the last five decades in which the Red and Black lost their opener to a team other than the South Carolina Gamecocks. In the previous ten such seasons, Georgia only once finished with more than seven wins, but the ‘Dawgs were 6-2-2 against the Palmetto State Poultry, including a 5-1 mark against the Big Chickens between the hedges.

South Carolina lost six games last season, which isn’t really much of an oddity in Columbia; the Gamecocks lost exactly six games 20 times between 1909 and 2007, and the Red and Black played the Garnet and Black in 17 of the seasons immediately following the campaigns in which USC dropped a half-dozen decisions. The Bulldogs posted a 13-3-1 mark against the Gamecocks in those 17 series meetings.

Along similar lines, 2008 was the 20th season in which the Red and Black suffered exactly three setbacks in a single fall. The ‘Dawgs crossed paths with the Big Chickens in twelve of the campaigns following those three-loss seasons, going 10-2 against South Carolina in those dozen series meetings.

Not long ago, I addressed the question whether Georgia and Clemson were still rivals, and some comparisons were drawn to the Bulldogs’ series with the Gamecocks. For whatever it might be worth, Georgia and Clemson have met on the gridiron 62 times, in spite of the fact that they have squared off just six times since 1987. On Saturday night, Georgia and South Carolina will meet on the gridiron for the 62nd time, in spite of the fact that they will have squared off in 34 of the 36 seasons between 1974 and 2009.

The Feel Good Stat of the Week:

Last year, Georgia beat South Carolina by a 14-7 margin, making 2008 the eighth time the Gamecocks scored exactly seven points against the Bulldogs.

The Palmetto State Poultry have never beaten the Classic City Canines in a season following one in which the South Carolinians scored exactly seven points on the Athenians. The Big Chickens are 0-6-1 in series meetings immediately subsequent to a seven-point output in the previous showdown.

The Bottom Line:

Any discussion of this series ultimately must come around to the fact that games between these border rivals almost always end up being low-scoring grind-it-out defensive struggles. Over 40 per cent of the clashes between these two teams (25 of 61) have been decided by margins of seven points or fewer. That number leaps to 50 per cent (9 of 18) for showdowns after the end of the Vince Dooley era, then jumps up again to 75 per cent (6 of 8) for games played during the Mark Richt era.

Given the performances of the respective clubs’ offensive and defensive units in their opening games, there appears to be no reason to doubt that Saturday’s clash will be true to form. Points are liable to be at a premium, and, with South Carolina’s defense likely holding the edge over Georgia’s, the Classic City Canines are helped by (1) the possible presence of Logan Gray in a greater role, which gives Georgia the opportunity to spring one or two big plays that could prove crucial; (2) the home field advantage afforded by a Sanford Stadium crowd that has had all day to engage in (ahem) pregame preparations; and (3) their clear superiority in the field goal-kicking department.

My Prediction: Georgia 13, South Carolina 10.

Go ‘Dawgs!