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Gameday forecast, prediction for USC-UAB

Read enough about the quarterbacks this week?

Well, we should thank Steve Spurrier for giving us something to write and talk about during the UAB week.

My two cents on Spurrier’s decision to start Chris Smelley over Stephen Garcia: I think it’s a good move.

By doing so, Spurrier is not viewed as having pulled the rug out from under Smelley, who, it should be noted, does have the SEC’s highest completion percentage, is fourth in passing efficiency and won his last start.

By starting Smelley and inserting Garcia in the first quarter, Spurrier has the best of both worlds. He gets to take a long look at Garcia while not completely stepping on Smelley’s confidence.

There’s no question Garcia has a stronger arm and quicker feet than Smelley, but that does not necessarily make him the better quarterback. Like Spurrier said, no one knows what Garcia’s going to do in a game because – other than the three snaps vs. Georgia – no one’s seen him in front of 80,000 (or thereabouts for these nonconference games) at Williams-Brice.

At some point, Spurrier has to find out what he has in Garcia, and this week – before the rigors of the SEC schedule resume – seems like the perfect time.

Will UAB’s defense, ranked 117th out of 119 teams nationally against the pass, be a good measuring stick for the USC quarterbacks?

Sure, why not? If nothing else, Spurrier and the rest of Gamecock Nation will get to see whether Garcia can hit the deep throws that, to this point, Smelley has been either unwilling or unable to make.

My guess is that Garcia will play well. Say what you will about his off-the-field decisions, but the guy can throw the football.

Can he do the other things that Spurrier expects from his quarterbacks? We’ll get a better idea Saturday.

Prediction: USC 35, UAB 13.

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