I’m not sure Steve Spurrier will speak much of moral victories in a few minutes when we hear from him. I doubt Stephen Garcia, Eric Norwood and other players will be smiling.
But I do know that both teams look beat and tired out there. And considering one of them is No. 2 Alabama, that’s saying something for South Carolina.
The Gamecocks go down, 20-6, tonight in Tuscaloosa. But they can go home having impressed more than a few people, if what I’m hearing from my colleagues who cover Alabama is any indication.
This turned out to be more of a game than most expected - especially after South Carolina started out with a 10-0 deficit.
But unlike last year’s games against Florida, Clemson and Iowa, that early deficit didn’t lead to a rout. Besides getting off the mat quickly, the Gamecocks could take some other positives out of this.
The defense couldn’t stop Mark Ingram, but it didn’t allow a touchdown until late in the game. Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy came in riding high, but USC made him look less than ordinary.
And Alshon Jeffery, who added a great one-handed sideline catch on the final drive, introduced himself to the nation. (Last week’s three-TD performance against Kentucky notwithstanding.)
Basically, the Gamecocks surprised a lot of people. Maybe even themselves. They covered the spread, and deserve some credit for making this a game almost down to the wire.
They really may be the second-best team in the East now.