Point spread: South Carolina -3
The South Carolina Gamecocks open their 2011 SEC schedule this upcoming Saturday afternoon against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium in Athens. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
South Carolina rolled over East Carolina 56-37 in its season opener last week as a 21-point home favorite. The total went way ‘over’ the 59.5-point spread. The old ball coach Steve Spurrier has to be pleased with the offensive output of his team, but the 37 points his defense gave up could be reason for concern.
Conner Shaw got the start at quarterback last week for the Gamecocks, but Stephen Garcia came on in relief to throw for 110 yards and one touchdown, while adding another 56 yards and two touchdowns on the ground including a 32-yard run for a score to cut the Pirates early lead to 17-7. Running back Marcus Lattimore also had a big game with 112 yards rushing and three TD’s.
Georgia had its chances against No. 4 Boise State in its season opener, but could not hang with the Broncos in a 35-21 loss as a three-point underdog. The loss dropped the Bulldogs out of latest AP poll after debuting at No. 19 in the preseason poll.
If the Bulldogs are going have any chance of avoiding a 0-2 start, they will need a better effort from quarterback Aaron Murray. He completed just 55.2 percent of his passes against Boise State for 236 yard and two touchdown throws but had one costly interception as well. The highlight for Georgia was when running back Brandon Boykin peeled off an 80-yard run in the first quarter to give the Bulldogs a brief 7-0 lead.
Head-to-head, the Bulldogs have won seven of the last nine games straight-up, but the Gamecocks are 4-2 against the spread in the last six contests including an outright 17-6 victory last season as a three-point home favorite. The total has stayed ‘under’ in nine of the last 10 meetings.
These are two programs that have been headed in different directions over the past few seasons as the edge clearly lies with South Carolina in this one. Stick with the Gamecocks to really turn the heat up on Georgia head coach Mark Richt, by sending his Bulldogs to a 0-2 start.
College Football Pick: South Carolina 28 Georgia 23
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