COLUMBIA, S.C. – Good morning from Williams-Brice Stadium, where Georgia and South Carolina — minus one player each — will kick off around 12:01 p.m. The game will be on ESPN2.
The weather forecast calls for a high temperature of 88 this afternoon, with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms.
A couple of comments from the Georgia camp this week pretty much sum things up entering the game. Coach Mark Richt said he expects “another knock-down drag-out in Columbia,” typical of the down-to-the-wire games that have defined the series recently (seven of the past nine meetings decided by seven points or fewer). And tight end Orson Charles crystallized the perception of the game’s significance: “This game,” he said, “is going to set the tone for our season.”
The two leading receivers from last year’s Georgia-South Carolina game, Georgia WR A.J. Green and South Carolina TE Weslye Saunders, won’t be playing in this one.
Green, as you know, is serving the second game of a four-game NCAA ban for selling his Independence Bowl jersey for $1,000. Per the NCAA suspension, he was not allowed to travel with the team to Columbia. Georgia has appealed the NCAA ruling, hoping to get a game or two shaved off the four-game suspension. The appeal is expected to be considered next week by the NCAA Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, which is comprised of representatives from NCAA member schools. That is not the same group, by the way, that set the four-game suspension.
Saunders, also under investigation by the NCAA, is suspended indefinitely by South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier for “violation of team rules.” Two other South Carolina players who sat out last week’s season opener, cornerback Chris Culliver and left tackle Jarriel King, were cleared by the NCAA to play today.
Please click on these articles from today’s AJC for more on the game: