Will South Carolina struggle with Southern Miss?

Five burning questions as we head into the first weekend of the regular season:

1. Will South Carolina struggle with Southern Mississippi tonight? For a couple of weeks now nobody has been talking about what’s going to happen on the field when the Gamecocks finally play a game. Thanks to a couple of NCAA investigations, nobody knows exactly who is going to show up tonight at Williams-Brice Stadium against a team that could win its division of Conference USA.  The exception to that is tight end Weslye Saunders, who has already been suspended. It’s hard to believe that this is the first time these two teams have ever met. South Carolina needs to get off to a good start because Georgia comes to Columbia on Sept. 11. We also want to know if Steve Spurrier will have a quick hook when it comes to quarterback Stephen Garcia. Freshman Conner Shaw (from Flowery Branch) is waiting in the wings.

2. Who’s going to show up for North Carolina against LSU? We know that defensive tackle Marvin Austin, one of at least five NFL draft choices on the North Carolina defense, will not be in the lineup when the Tar Heels meet LSU in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the Georgia Dome. In fact, I don’t think we’ll see old Marvin again in a college football uniform.  But there are a bunch of other guys who are involved in a potential academic issue and if the NCAA doesn’t clear them by Saturday then they will not play. This was supposed to be the breakout season for Butch Davis at North Carolina. LSU and coach Les Miles need a win because then the Tigers have a good chance to be 5-0 when they go to Florida on Oct. 9.

3. How will Houston Nutt use his quarterbacks against Jacksonville State?  Now that Jeremiah Masoli is out of the mix, Nutt has to be careful how he uses Nathan Stanley, who won the job coming out of spring practice. He can’t afford for Stanley to get hurt or Ole Miss is in real big trouble. JUCO transfer Randall Mackey, who probably didn’t take a whole lot of snaps in August, has to get in the game. Four of the first five games are at home and the one road game in that stretch is Tulane. Ole Miss must have two quarterbacks ready to play by the time it goes to Alabama on Oct. 16.

4.  How much of Aaron Murray will Mark Richt show against Louisiana-Lafayette? The No. 1 objective in Georgia’s opener with Louisiana-Lafayette is to win and keep quarterback Aaron Murray healthy. But Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo also have to get the redshirt freshman ready for next week’s huge trip to Columbia and the South Carolina Gamecocks. You wonder if Richt will turn Murray loose or if he’ll hold something back so that Ellis Johnson (the South Carolina DC) won’t see it on tape.

5. How will Tennessee fans feel after Derek Dooley’s debut? Tennessee will certainly win Saturday’s game against UT-Martin. But all summer long Volunteer fans have been hearing how tough a year this is going to be as Dooley tries to clean up the mess left behind by the Boy Wonder, now at Southern California. With Oregon, the defending Pac-10 champ, coming to Neyland Stadium next week, will Tennessee fans feel better about things or worse about things after they see Dooley’s first Volunteer team in action? It will be interesting to hear the talk shows and the read the blogs on Sunday morning.

Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

Programming notes: 

**–Wes Durham and I will be doing “The Southern Football Kickoff Show” this morning at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 790 The Zone are we usually do. We hope to have Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt to discuss the NCAA’s ruling on Jeremiah Masoli.

www.790thezone.com

 

**– Wes and I will be joining the morning crew at 790 at  8:30 a.m. in order to announce some news. Please check us out. College football fans will find the news interesting.

**–The first regular-season version of “Talkin’ Football, SEC Edition” on CSS is tonight at 6 p.m. Join Bob Neal, Mark Schlabach, Brady Ackerman and yours truly to break down the weekend’s first slate of SEC games. We also debate the NCAA’s decision on Ole Miss quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.

**–Speaking of Mark Schlabach, the former AJC staffer has a new book out with Bobby Bowden. The book begins today No. 27 on the New York Times bestseller list. Congrats to Mark.

181 comments Add your comment

tony's a homer

September 2nd, 2010
7:08 am

Geaux tigers

Edsak

September 2nd, 2010
7:08 am

devildawg

September 2nd, 2010
7:29 am

Thank God that College Football is back!

SatchelBuzz

September 2nd, 2010
7:33 am

It’s time,….great day to be ‘Jacket!

THWG!

buckblue

September 2nd, 2010
7:34 am

LSU will show up in their home away from home…Tiger Stadium North…aka the Ga Dome….Geaux Tigers!!

x

September 2nd, 2010
7:41 am

Hmmm…Apparently only the SEC is playing this weekend. Tony, just change your name to Mr. SEC already.

And as far as “burning” questions, I don’t think any of these would heat up a 2 oz. cup of coffee.

Charlie Bama

September 2nd, 2010
7:49 am

As you know, Tony, a heck of a lot of teams in the SEC have struggled with USoMiss over the years, especially while Bowers was coach. It was a mystery how SoMiss performed so well every year or so against Bama, Aubie, TN and even Gators –but they did, and yes, then usually went on to crushing defeats elsewhere in the SEC. You can’t overprepare for teams like SoMiss, E.Carolina. They see the Big Guys as there shot at glory and do get some talented players year after year.

Frank

September 2nd, 2010
7:50 am

Good write up Tony, I see you write mostly about the most important conference here in the south & the nation. The SEC plays the best football bar none.

THWGT!!!!!!

Beast from the East

September 2nd, 2010
7:51 am

1….South Carolina should win by 10-14 points.
2….Looks like UNC is going to playing with about a dozen less than expected. Could Butch use it as motivation? Nah, look for LSU to take care of business.
3….Nutt doesn’t mind losing. He’s in the “people helping business”. LOL!
4….Louisiana-Lafayette will pull the upset! You heard it here first. Mark it down, etc. LOL!!!!!! Seriously, UGA wins this one walking away and Murray should do fine in his debut.
5….I think most UT fans are more than ready to just talk football after the off-season they’ve had to endure. They all know that Dooley will need at least 3 years to show what he’s got.

FalconUGAFan

September 2nd, 2010
7:51 am

hey x…the SEC is college football..Sorry but its true. :)

Charlie Bama

September 2nd, 2010
7:52 am

And another thing– Why do these NCAA investigations take soooo long? It can’t be for lack of money & lawyers. Speed up all investigations, NCAA. USC/Reggie Bush after Three years? Seriously?

MoDawg

September 2nd, 2010
7:52 am

“x”…check yourself. Your envy is showing.

Dawg_Mike

September 2nd, 2010
7:55 am

I look for Murray to had the ball off a lot. Don’t show too much as Tony suggests.

Dink

September 2nd, 2010
7:58 am

Roosters better not be looking ahead. Fedora is a good coach and always has a good offense. D has been the question but this year’s group should be better with 8 returning starters. Can’t wait for kickoff.

Lame name goes here

September 2nd, 2010
8:01 am

The only thing worse than saying first is NOT having anything else to say and
not being first

SatchelBuzz

September 2nd, 2010
8:01 am

Yes its a great day to be a Jacket…Dragon Con starts this weekend and if you think for once second real Tech men will be sweltering at the Joke by Coke you have just lost your minds…we have a set of priorities for the weekend. 1) set attendance record for Dragon Con 2) set sales record for Xena Warrior Princess love dolls 3) have picture taken with anyone who has ever been seen on the Sci-Fi channel as you can see we will be waaaaayyy too busy for something as trivial as a football game..beside we have all seen CPJ in his Batman outfit and Honey it ain’t pretty.

5IML

September 2nd, 2010
8:03 am

1. S. Carolina starts slow but pulls away in the 3rd qtr
2. If UNC’s suspensions, LSU wins easily and preserves the SEC’s CFA Kickoff streak
3 & 4. Both starting quarterbacks air it out and have big games against vastly inferior competition
5. UT wins by 14 this Saturday and gets drilled next weekend

XRS

September 2nd, 2010
8:06 am

Who’s going to show up for Ga Sc Tony? Why do you leave that out? AJ status? Ealey?

A player last year got suspended one game for driving a moped on a suspended. Ealey gave coaches and the law the finger and blew off court. He broke his word and drove another car…def not insured for that other person either. Hits a car and flees all with a susp license! Yes nice judgement!! So how many games should he be out tony? Certainly if just driving on a susp warrants a one game, then you must add on for the way worse things ealey has done. But ahh richt is a joke right. There’s a reason why these players continue to keep getting arrested. Cause the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Slap on the wrist! Can’t wait to see what happens with the redneck team in athens.

Doug

September 2nd, 2010
8:10 am

Tony the mess at UT was not caused by the Boy Wonder but by Phillip Flumtard. Kiffin has nothing to do with the fact that our junior and senior classes are the weakest we have had in over 50 years.

Bill Curry

September 2nd, 2010
8:11 am

I look forward to seeing all of you at the Dome this weekend! Thanks –BC

Charlie Bama

September 2nd, 2010
8:13 am

Doug: Big Orange Sweatshirt Fulmer + Idiot Kiffin x 2 = long-term disaster for VOLs. Dooley can do it, but it will take a long time..

Too Easy

September 2nd, 2010
8:14 am

xrs; very informative and insightful.

jimmy mc

September 2nd, 2010
8:15 am

good to have you back on a regular basis mr cfb

5IML

September 2nd, 2010
8:15 am

Coach Curry,

Your game is tonight.

The Whitney Hotel

September 2nd, 2010
8:16 am

South Carolina will struggle all season.

The “vogue” defense of UNC is sinking fast.

The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns beat Kansas State last year and will be glad to see Aaron Murray “hold something back”.

Heisman candidate Joshua Nesbitt should put up some big numbers against South Carolina State.

Geez, XRS...

September 2nd, 2010
8:18 am

I fully expect Ealy to walk on most of the “crimes” (as you call them) – first, he broke no law by driving in a parking lot, so that charge of driving with a suspended license will be dropped.

Now, the leaving the scene after damaging property will stick, but once restitution is made that will be over. So, yes, being suspended for one game for being STUPID does reek of the the punishment fitting the “crime”…slap on the wrist for being STUPID is right…

Cub Bryant

September 2nd, 2010
8:19 am

Bama is buying players again, I have proof. Granted it is not as bad as when they had that homosexual Bryant in charge, but is bad nonetheless. I see a lot of Tide fans post here, I didn’t realize that the Waffle House and Wal-Mart had computer access available to their employers.

Richt's Discipline

September 2nd, 2010
8:19 am

Richt is giving a game suspension for underage possession, which appears to be unheard of. Urban and Brian Kelly both had multiple arrests for the same infraction, but are dealing with it “in-house.”

I suspect one reason some of these posters on here are urging more game suspensions for UGA players is that the last thing their favorite team wants is to face the Dogs at full strength.

RxDawg

September 2nd, 2010
8:20 am

1. The Chickens crow…this week.

2. LSU in a rout.

3. Yeh I guess, but Nutt can’t worry about it the whole time either. They still have to line up and play football. Nutt will just have to see if he can get his #2 some quality time in practice and in games.

4. It doesn’t matter, it’s how he looks next week that matters.

5. Well they should feel good this week.

All of these really lame openers are………….well lame.

Bill Curry

September 2nd, 2010
8:21 am

Tonight!?! Dang!

DawginLex

September 2nd, 2010
8:22 am

1.) SC will win but it will be a ballgame until the fourth quarter. 1st game, decent opponent. 24-14 SC
2.) UNC is in trouble. Miles is desperate and has recruited very well.
3.) Ole Miss and Nutt will part ways by year end. They are in BIG trouble and may not win more than 1 SEC game.
4.) I want 63-10 UGA but will settle for 35-0. I don’t care what UGA “shows” spurrier. Just win, limit penalties, no turnovers, force 4 TO’s and get 9 sacks.
5.) UT will win big. I hope the UT folks are patient with DD like they say they are going to be but I doubt it. There is a segment of every fanbase in the SEC that doesn’t understand enough about building a program. They will want Derek thrown under the bus by year end. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.

Nesbitt completes 46% of his passes

September 2nd, 2010
8:23 am

Heisman candidate, LOL!

Go Hawks

September 2nd, 2010
8:24 am

Hey Tony:

I can’t believe you overlooked the single most important game taking place the opening week of college football … Georgia State vs Shorter University in the Georgia Dome! This is basically a AAA high school team going against a AA high school team. 90 year old Bill Curry takes on a Southern Baptist high school in his latest coaching debut. The funny thing about this is Georgia State will probably draw a bigger crowd than Georgia Tech. Within 5 years, Georgia State will be the dominant football team in Atlanta and the bees will be looking to schedule Shorter in order to find somebody they can beat. HAHAHAHa

DawginLex

September 2nd, 2010
8:26 am

Curry is a good man. I have heard him speak in person. He is solid with great character.

That being said, I hope he has forgotten the logic he used up at UK when he decided that Tim Couch needed to run the option……………………….

5IML

September 2nd, 2010
8:27 am

Cub,

BAMA (and certainly not Bear Bryant) wasn’t mentioned in the article. What led to your little tirade–jealously or fear?

What dawg?

September 2nd, 2010
8:30 am

Cub, I hate Alabama as much or more than anyone, and they deserve every insult you can hand out, but referring to Coach Bryant as a homosexual is not an insult. Please try again.

JB

September 2nd, 2010
8:30 am

x…………………………….you’re kidding right…….It’s about hits, selling papers, filling the stands, TV ratings……………..The SEC has it…..The ACC wants it…………..Next question……
Four tickets, four cokes, four hot dogs…………

Max Sizemore

September 2nd, 2010
8:31 am

The Tennessee folks have done a masterful job of lowering expectations for this season — with the help of the media. The Vols will be much better than people expect. And for those expecting Arkansas to make some noise, just remember that Petrino never has much of a defense.

beatdowns galore

September 2nd, 2010
8:32 am

SC will struggle but will win. Next week UGA will struggle but will lose. Bue bye Mark Richt !

DawginLex

September 2nd, 2010
8:32 am

Cub, that was bad.

Bryant was a great football coach. He was a great leader and changed lives for the better. Yes, he drank and did some stuff that he shouldn’t have as we all have. In the end though, he made his peace with God.

Let him rest.

JB

September 2nd, 2010
8:36 am

I want Murray to throw 30 times, and hopefully complete 20 of them. Why? Ellis Johnson and Spurrier will plan to stack the box, stop the run and Make Murray pass. Maybe with a good air show Saturday, they back off that……..i still say everyone we play will go into the game with a stack the box plan. Let AJ and all these TE’s we have light folks up and that will stop.

Fred

September 2nd, 2010
8:40 am

Well I only caught the last 3 minutes this morning, (unless you come back after the break), but I’ll try to catch the 11:00 show.

Alphare

September 2nd, 2010
8:41 am

Houston Nutt deserves to be fired. He needs a JUCO transfer to be his backup QB and a Oregon dump to be his 3rd string? well, actually he wants Masoli to be his starting QB, which was denied by NCAA.

Isn’t this his 3rd year with Ole Miss? you don’t even have enough players in your 3rd year? This just shows you you’d rather to be lucky to have a good job than your capability can afford you. I am not sure who is the AD that hired this guy. That AD should be fired.

Weber State,Norfolk State,Presbyterian,Towson,Youngstown State,Samford,Tennessee-Martin?

September 2nd, 2010
8:43 am

`
Beano Cook of ESPN said the teams who play these lame openers are insulting the fans.
It’s like watching an NFL pre-season game.
Pure tune-up games for a team to pad it’s record.
It does insult real college football fans,
Beano Cook is right.

Lame Openers

September 2nd, 2010
8:45 am

Beano Cook said lame openers are insulting
to real college football fans.

Alphare

September 2nd, 2010
8:49 am

Nutt had talents last year but came up empty. Can he compete in the West? No way. not his talent of personnel management.

It’s my belief most of the college coaches are dumb. Football is their whole life, and most of they are bad academically in high school (study shows academic success is directly related to intelligence). Suddenly you have a Myer, a Saban. They are the genius among dwarfs. They are the ones winning championship. Houston Nutt? not good enough.

5IML

September 2nd, 2010
8:50 am

Beano’s real first name is “Carroll.” This fact invalidates any points or observations he has ever and will ever make.

UGA is Just Fine...

September 2nd, 2010
8:52 am

Any word on the 6-7 SC players that were staying at the (Winfrey I think) Hotel? They were paying $450.00/month for what should have been $1200 a month even with deep discounts

how2fish

September 2nd, 2010
8:52 am

Weber State,Norfolk State,Presbyterian,Towson,Youngstown State,Samford,Tennessee-Martin? Dude if you don’t want to watch don’t….I assure I am. And “Cub” didn’t you post the same vile crap under another name earlier this week. Take your meds boy and get some help!

Bubba Big Lips

September 2nd, 2010
8:55 am

Tigers Bleaux