Man, if you listened to the media and a few South Carolina player comments this week, you would think this one was already won. Time and time again, history tells us not to bet against elite coaches with elite rosters. And yet every week, someone picks Alabama to slip up or Clemson to revert back to their old ways of “Clemsoning”. Do not let the media talk you into this. Remember the Georgia vs Mississippi St. game last year? Remember the hype around Georgia in 2015 against an elite Alabama? Remember when a 3-0 Vanderbilt started getting cocky the week before a game with Alabama last year? Yeah, Bama smashed them 59-0 and quickly put the buzz to bed. Elite teams come in, cover the spread and smash media expectations early. If Georgia comes in and gains an early lead, it’s over. They will step on their neck. If mistakes and crowd noise allow South Carolina to stick around, it’ll be a fight. I still think Georgia wins in a four quarter fight due to depth, but I don’t want a fight. I want to be sipping a stress free Tropicalia with two minutes left in the first half with a win wrapped up.
If I’m pressed, I think Kirby lays a convincing beat down this week and reemphasizes himself as an elite coach in the landscape of college football. In 2016, Kirby was missing dudes. He was playing with a talent deficient roster. Tyler Catalina started at left tackle for God’s sake. Obviously, talent deficiency is no longer an issue. I really like Will Muschamp. I’m so glad Florida got impatient with him and brought in the beaver teeth doofus with the hots for a well filled out mako shark. The bad news is that South Carolina may be a thorn in our side for years to come. But not this year. They don’t have the dudes to match Georgia’s depth. It’ll show on Saturday and Georgia will take full control of the East.
Dawgs on the Come Up
· Deangelo Gibbs- flashed so many times against Austin Peay. His closing speed is unbelievable. If he has figured out his off field issues and can learn the playbook in and out, he starts at Star sooner than later.
· William Poole- his PFF grade was the best of any Georgia defender and he made a bunch of plays at Star. Georgia seems to be set at Star with Poole as the heady, consistent option.
· Brian Herrien- had a quiet year last year and only had one rush against Austin Peay, but Herrien allows the Dawgs to open up the playbook a bit with swing passes and multiple back sets. I also saw some of his tough running that made him so valuable his freshman year. Not a tough feat, but he will have a better year than last.
· Adam Anderson- in limited time, looked really powerful. He needs more weight and a better idea of the playbook but he might be a special one.
South Carolina Preview
This will be a drawn out, physical game where the Dawgs pull away late due to overall depth. Kirby didn’t play 83 players last week for fun. Experience, depth and conditioning will determine this game. The heat of 93 degrees in that tradition-less concrete stadium is going to test both teams. You will see a lot of inside runs on 1st and 2nd down. Not all of them are going to break open. Don’t get frustrated (he quietly whispers to himself). Big offensive line bodies will lean on South Carolina’s front and we will wear down what has been described as a small but athletic defensive line. Georgia’s offensive line averages 328. South Carolina’s defensive line averages 279. This is where the game will be decided. Last year, South Carolina only got the ball a total of 8 times. I expect Georgia to try to again limit the Gamecock’s opportunities via their own ground attack and convincingly pull away late.
The timing of this game is important. Last year, post Florida beat down and emotional high, the Dawgs came back home and didn’t completely demolish South Carolina. I guess they look at a two touchdown loss as a success. This year in week two, at nearly full strength (Ledbetter questionable), they are our main focus and likely have been since early fall camp. The Dawgs don’t roll into this one sleeping. Dawgs 31 USC 17
Austin Peay Prediction Recap
· Justin Fields plays meaningful snaps. Gives Muschamp extra goal line/short yardage situations to prepare for- Meaningful and then some. Muschamp has plenty to think about. Love how dynamic Fields can be when the pocket breaks down. Just can’t make a big mistake.
· This will be the Holyfield/Herrien show. Limit Swift’s carries and don’t show James Cook just yet- Raise your hand if you had Demetris Robertson as the leading rusher. Swift obviously got carries as the starter but they were pretty limited for good reason. Herrien only had 1 rush. Cook made himself known. This prediction was a miss.
· Fromm spreads it around and gets a bunch of different receivers in on the action Jadon Haselwood will be pleased with what he sees on Saturday- 11 receivers. Check.
· Monty Rice leads the team in tackles. D’Andre Walker gets two sacks and starts a huge senior campaign as one of the most dominant pass rushers in the SEC- Had I known how much we would rotate I would have chosen JR Reed. Walker did not record a sack. Miss.
· 14 true freshman see a snap- 22 freshman saw a snap and I’ve never been so happy to be off by a couple. Great experience for young guys.
South Carolina Predictions
· Georgia puts up 250+ yards rushing, use 7+ offensive lineman in the process
· Justin Fields has at least 45 yards rushing and one TD (rushing or passing)
· James Cook is a huge change of pace back in the 2nd half, makes a major impact
· Brenton Cox gets his first sack
· D’andre Baker, aka “Who?”, picks off one of Jake Bentley’s two interceptions
Bucky’s Easy Money of the Week
Last Week Record: 2-3
Overall record: 62-59-2, 51% winning percentage
Ah yes, so this is what they mean by regressing to the mean. The folks in Vegas do this for a living and my record basically shows I am just as smart as them. Interesting job prospects in the future. Anyway, let’s get into this week’s picks.