Did the door to the SEC East title just open a little wider for Georgia?
South Carolina, the defending division champions — still sounds strange — suspended quarterback Stephen Garcia Wednesday after he showed up at a life skills event smelling of alcohol. (He has a knack for timing.)
This is the fifth time Garcia has been suspended. Coach Steve Spurrier has about had it with the quarterback, having criticized him publicly several times. There’s a real chance Garcia has played his final game for South Carolina. Spurrier told The State newspaper: “If he’s back, he’s back. If he’s not back, it’s really the same thing as maybe a guy getting hurt, a guy going pro or whatever. Players come and go as we all know, and this incident should never have happened but it did.”
Garcia has been suspended twice this spring alone. Last December was found with girls in his room late and past curfew on the night before the Chick-fil-A Bowl. That wouldn’t seem like that big of a deal except that the next day, he threw three interceptions in a loss to Florida State at the Georgia Dome.
Back to Georgia. The Bulldogs have their own issues, but one of them is not quarterback. With Aaron Murray, they probably have the best QB in the SEC next season. That should go a long way in a division where Garcia’s future is now uncertain. Florida is trying to rebound from an offseason with a new coach (Will Muschamp) and the formerly touted John Brantley, who had a dreadful first season as starter as Tim Tebow’s replacement.
South Carolina still has a talented team, led by running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. But if Garcia is out, that means going with the young Connor Shaw from Flowery Branch.
The difference between the teams wasn’t that much to begin with. Garcia might’ve just negated it.
By Jeff Schultz