Georgia Vs. South Carolina Preview: The Dawgs Take Control of the East

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Take your pick of reasons that the Dawgs will defeat the Gamecocks in this one. There are plenty, but one of them in particular is reason enough

Georgia Bulldogs vs. South Carolina Gamecocks, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

There are any number of reasons to think that Georgia will win this game this year. So far, the offense has averaged more than 127 yards per game more than South Carolina's -- and this is before the infamous schedule differential kicks in. The defense isn't as good, but at least some of that comes from the inflation of the numbers in the game against Tennessee, an offense South Carolina has not faced.

And then there's history. In well over a century of playing football against each other, South Carolina has never defeated the Dawgs in three consecutive games. That's the kind of staggering mark that indicates more than statistical noise is at play.

The easiest reason to go with Georgia over South Carolina, though, comes down to Aaron Murray. Sure, he will be without his favorite target in this game. But Murray is the third most efficient passer in the nation, leading a Top 30 team in terms of passing yardage. And the weakest link in South Carolina's defense is the secondary. Their passing efficiency defense is eighth in the SEC, and the passing yardage defense is seventh. Some of the latter can be traced to the fact that the Gamecocks have won all but one of their games by at least three touchdowns, but the efficiency number would even that out.

But even if there are several reasons to go with Georgia, this game is not going to be a blowout. Both of these teams are legitimate Top 10 squads. South Carolina is only going to face the kind of questions than any defensively-dominated team not named Alabama or LSU is going to face, and Georgia is still getting overlooked to an extent because the SEC West is still perceived to be better than the East. Two Top 10 teams meeting in a key conference game is rarely the recipe for a rout.

Besides, Steve Spurrier will be ready for this game like no other. The Head Ball Coach's hatred for the Dawgs is legendary, and he likes doing things that have never been done in Columbia. But defeating Georgia in three straight games is one that, at least for now, will elude him.

Georgia 34, South Carolina 31

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