Florida is two wins away from clinching the SEC East. No matter how optimistic you might have been about the Gators at the beginning of the season, that feels a little bit more like the pre-2010 Florida than the team we've seen over the last two years. And as the season has gone on, Florida has looked more and more like the old Florida on the field.
Meanwhile, it's been hard to figure out exactly what to think of South Carolina. They're almost undoubtedly a very good team -- the 28-point deconstruction of Georgia proves that. But the Gamecocks struggle mightily on the road, nearly losing to Vanderbilt, trailing Kentucky at the half and dropping a game to a reeling LSU team in Baton Rouge. That's not an encouraging sign when you're headed to the Swamp.
On the stat sheet, there's not really that much difference between these two teams. In fact, the averaged total defense and total offense numbers for Florida and South Carolina are separated by less than a yard. Florida averages 0.04 more yards per game than the Gamecocks. Neither team is likely to light up the scoreboard today -- that's perhaps the biggest difference between Will Muschamp's Gators and the teams that used to call the Swamp home during the Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer eras.
But the reputation of the South Carolina defensive line, which until this point was the backbone of the team, took a hit in the LSU game last week. The Tigers pushed around the Gamecocks' front, grinding out 258 yards on 53 carries. They had just one sack after putting together 25 in the first half of the year. If Florida can run against South Carolina the way that LSU did -- and the Tigers also had some success on the edge -- then it's going to be difficult for the Gamecocks to pull out the win.
The heart-head split is different this week than it was last. This time, my head tells me that the Gamecocks are likely to lose, even if my hear thinks there's a chance they win. But I'll go with the head again.
Florida 17, South Carolina 7