ATHENS — Taking a timeout from all of Georgia’s self-generated Scrimmage Two drama ….
Is South Carolina still a so-called “trendy upset pick” over Georgia, as Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples penned on Aug. 13?
Perhaps, but “trendy” and “likely” are two different things.
It’s still surprising Sports Illustrated chose that game as one of 12 that will “shape the 2018 college football season.”
Even if the Gamecocks were to pull the upset, as a double-digit home underdog, Georgia could still run the table and make the College Football Playoff.
Alabama has set the standard: An SEC team doesn’t have to win its division, or even beat a top 15 ranked opponent, for that matter, if it’s playing well enough at the end of the season.
But for now, some want to play upset-alert with the Bulldogs.
Perhaps people are captivated by former South Carolina player Tori Gurley guaranteeing the Gamecocks would beat Georgia this summer while on The Paul Finebaum Show.
There’s also a chance the SEC Network could set up shop in Columbia, S.C., leading ip to the game. That would put a buzz in the air leading to the 2001 Space Odyssey entrance.
The other factor of why this storyline is overhyped is Coach Will Muschamp. Some media types absolutely love Muschamp for his colorful quotations and guy’s guy football talk.
Then there’s the Kirby Smart-Muchamp connection, which is irresistible and makes for another good sidebar. It’s true, writers root for good stories.
Smart and Muschamp played for Georgia and shared time together on coaching staffs at Valdosta State and LSU.
But this Georgia-South Carolina thing should only be a good story for about a quarter-and-a-half.
By that time, the Gamecocks’ adrenaline will have worn off, and brilliant OC Jim Chaney will have found a rhythm.
Georgia should win at South Carolina by three touchdowns, barring an unforeseen injury to Jake Fromm between now and Sept 8.
The Georgia game that actually will shape this season does not take place until November between the hedges, when the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry takes place.
The formula for beating the Bulldogs is a powerful or talented run game, and savvy playmakers in the back seven on defense.
The Gamecocks do not fit that description.
After Gurley’s misguided guarantee, there’s no chance this unsettled but talented Georgia group doesn’t go into that game merciless.
Meanwhile, both Auburn and Georgia are currently favored to win all of their games leading up to the Nov. 10 showdown.
For Bulldogs’ fans who want to find something to worry about in September, circle the Sept. 22 game on the schedule against always overlooked Missouri.
Not that the Bulldogs should or will lose, but the Tigers closed last season on a roll and feature enough offensive firepower with QB Drew Lock to stand a puncher’s chance of keeping it close.
Georgia Scrimmage Two coverage
Mike Griffith & Chip Towers discuss Scrimmage 2
Georgia Scrimmage One coverage
Mike Griffith & Chip Towers open practice observations