David Cloninger

Cloninger’s pick: Gamecocks have a roadmap of how to win

South Carolina running back Brandon Wilds (22)
South Carolina running back Brandon Wilds (22) gmelendez@thestate.com

South Carolina really needed a win over Kentucky.

I’ll leave it at that, since pining over missed opportunities is never a good way to approach the rest of the season. The Gamecocks must look at it as they have 10 games left, maybe 11, and that’s plenty of time to determine what kind of season they’re going to have.

Saturday is one opportunity, a big one. And while the talent mismatch doesn’t look promising (especially on the road), USC has to realize what it has going for it.

A strong running game. A quarterback who right now, at least, is unafraid. An NFL-bound receiver. An elite tight end. A defense that has played two brilliant halves and perhaps could put a full game together at the right time.

And the most important: a coach who loves to beat this opponent and will always have some kind gimmick ready when he needs it.

I think it’s a close game. The Gamecocks will rally behind Perry Orth, and he will have them in this game. If it was at Williams-Brice, I’d be calling an upset.

That said, it’s not. Georgia has more talent. It won’t freeze up this year and fail to give the ball to the league’s best player at the most important point of the game. The Gamecocks lose, but will finish their road map of how they’re going to have to win for the rest of the season.