Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Setting the scene for one of the biggest games of the SEC season so far: A virtual elimination game in the SEC East.
Time, TV and Location: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN, Columbia
What's at stake for South Carolina: Steve Spurrier likes to see that he came to South Carolina to do things that had never been done before. And everyone knows that Spurrier likes nothing more than to beat Georgia and needle the Dawgs' coach. He has a chance to combine the goals here -- South Carolina has never defeated Georgia three times in a row, and come into this game having won the last two meetings. And while this game has lost some (but not all) of its predictive powers about who will have a good season and who will have a mediocre year, the fact remains that the Gamecocks have defeated Georgia in each of the four seasons in school history in which they have nine or more wins. Particularly with games at LSU and at Florida up next, it's hard to see South Carolina having another solid year without at least being competitive in this game. And an SEC East title begins to look out of the question if South Carolina can't win this game at home.
What's at stake for Georgia: For one thing, re-establishing control of the rivalry. Georgia is 2-3 over the last five games in the rivalry, tied for the worst five-game stretch in the 64-game, 118-year history of the series. (The only comparable stretch came when the Gamecocks won in 1988, 1989 and 1993 while Georgia won in 1987 and 1992.) But more broadly, this game is almost as important for Georgia's control of the SEC East as it is for South Carolina's. The Dawgs don't have as challenging a schedule as the Gamecocks -- stop me if you've heard that before -- but a loss in this game can throw them off-schedule; in 2007, Georgia lost 16-12. That game eventually cost them a chance at Atlanta and perhaps a national title because Tennessee's pixie-dust-fueled run to the SEC East championship that year. The game against Florida in Jacksonville still looms, but the road to the Georgia Dome gets much easier if the Dawgs can win this one first.