NASHVILLE — If I’m a little slow getting this live blog started, it’s because I just ate about 27 pounds of barbecue — the combo plate of ribs, pulled pork and brisket — at the Wildhorse Saloon. Seriously, it’s some of the best Q I’ve ever had — and I’m sure I’ll be sweating it out in the middle of the night.
Most of you probably have been to Nashville at some point. For those who haven’t, I highly recommend it. Watching Steve Spurrier and South Carolina almost blow a game at Mississippi State is about the only thing that prevented this from being a perfect day. That is to say, they didn’t blow it. The Gamcocks got a touchdown pass from Connor Shaw to Alshon Jeffery with 3:50 left and escaped Starkville with a 14-12 win. A South Carolina loss and the door to a division title would’ve blown open today
for the Bulldogs.
South Carolina already has endured turnover at the quarterback position (Stephen Garcia was kicked off the team) and Saturday saw running back Marcus Lattimore suffer a sprained knee in the fourth quarter. After the game, Spurrier told the media Lattimore’s injury “could be serious. He could be out a while.” The Gamecocks are off next week before resuming Oct. 29 with consecutive SEC games against Tennessee (road), Arkansas (road) and Florida (home).
So going into tonight’s game against Vanderbilt, the Dogs (3-1) trail South Carolina by (4-1) by a half-game in the SEC Eastern Division, with the Gamecocks still holding the tiebreaker edge. Florida (2-2, 4-2) kicks off against Auburn tonight at the same time as the Georgia game.
For Georgia, this game against Vandy really is about making the Florida game mean something. Losing the first two games of the season to Boise State and South Carolina basically left the Dogs with little to no room for error.
It’s understandable if you’re still not sure what to think of this team. Since starting 0-2, the Dogs have won four straight over Coastal Carolina, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Tennessee by a composite score of 130-35 The three SEC wins have come over schools that entered the weekend with a combined conference record of 0-7.
If Georgia struggles tonight, something is wrong. The Commodores have lost their last two SEC games (Alabama, South Carolina) by a combined 55-3. Their offense is awful, their defense decent. It shouldn’t take a lot of points to win this.
For what it’s worth, Georgia is 51-18-2 all-time in the series and has won 15 of the last 16 meetings. The Dogs’ have won nine straight in Nashville since their last loss in 1991 (27-25 under Ray Goff).
OK, that’s it for now. I’m going to do some laps. I’ll be back shortly for the duration.
By Jeff Schultz