David Cloninger

Cloninger’s pick: Another close one on tap for USC

Florida head coach Jim McElwain
Florida head coach Jim McElwain AP

I don’t think Florida’s that good.

It beat a weak SEC East for the championship, destroyed a head-scratching Ole Miss team that beat Alabama and somehow lost to Memphis and Arkansas, then it barely survived Vanderbilt.

Knowing that, I can see why this game is on upset watch this week. The Gamecocks have been playing better and the game’s in Columbia. But they still haven’t won.

Florida rushes the passer. USC’s offensive line contained Texas A&M pretty well until it counted, and suffered a rough first quarter against Tennessee. I don’t expect a magic solution to limit the Gators.

Florida’s led by its rushers and short passing game. The Gamecocks haven’t proven they can consistently stop a running attack and they can’t cover the middle of the field. I dare say Florida coach Jim McElwain has noticed a 7-yard square-in will work every time against USC.

It will be close, as it has been, but USC will have to keep searching for a victory after Saturday. The Gators will clinch the Gamecocks’ first losing season since 2003 – but at least with that pressure off, theycan put everything they have into planning for the game two weeks from Saturday.