It wasn’t so long ago that this was a pretty competitive series.
Even beyond South Carolina’s four wins in five years from 2010 to 2014, the Gamecocks made the first two meetings between Will Muschamp and Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs respectable, at least. That changed last year with a 44-17 game that got away from USC.
So the question now becomes, can the Gamecocks at least make things gritty, a little ugly and presumably closer?
Gunning for a win is, simply put, very ambitious. USC opened as a 24-point underdog and then the line went up. The Bulldogs have a powerful offense that’s humming, and a defense that probably hasn’t yet played up to its talent yet (16th nationally in yards per play).
It might not hurt that Smart and Muschamp are friends, and the Bulldogs don’t seem to be gunning to just trample folks.
This might fall into the same category of the Alabama game in that a Gamecocks fan might have to focus on the positive developments, not the result. That day it was solid signs from Ryan Hilinski, the rushing game and the run defense.
This game, Hilinski goes up against a complex defensive front seven and a veteran secondary. On the other side, South Carolina’s defense must contend with perhaps the deepest backfield in the land, which helps open things for Jake Fromm and a completely rebuilt receiving corps (give or take a Cal and Tennessee transfer).
The odds will be long, and the best case might be going blow for blow offensively or making it a bit of a grinder. In either case, it couldn’t hurt Hilinski to see this kind of team on the road.
The pick: Georgia 38, South Carolina 13