Column: Looking ahead to USC v UGA
Published 11:15 am Wednesday, June 14, 2023
In my short time so far in Bainbridge, one thing has become abundantly clear: I’m in bulldog country.
I came to Bainbridge from Columbia, SC, as a proud Gamecock alumni and football fan. I know that the only two football teams that exist in town are UGA and FSU, but I’m here to throw a third into the mix.
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Through my four years at USC, I formed a unique relationship with the Georgia Bulldogs.
In 2019, my freshman year, the unranked (and falling apart) Gamecocks miraculously beat the No. 3 Dawgs at Sanford Stadium. The game went back and forth and it looked like South Carolina was cashing in on all of its good karma. Jake Fromm had an uncharacteristic 4 turnovers and Rodrigo Blankenship missed a game-tieing field goal in second overtime to give South Carolina the 20-17 victory.
That upset set wildly high expectations for me when it came to USC v UGA football games.
Georgia began steamrolling the Gamecocks each year after, coming to a head in 2022, my senior year. I wasn’t able to attend the game in 2019 with it being an away game, but I was unfortunate enough to attend in 2022.
Georgia started hot and didn’t cool down, scoring 45 unanswered points. South Carolina’s only points came in the fourth quarter, mainly because UGA pulled their starters. It was a sad day in Columbia after the humiliation.
I, like many of the other students, left the game before the second half started. A 24-0 first half was all I needed to see to know how the rest of the game would go. The mass exodus of the student section was so severe, that the Washington Post ran their headline about how empty the stands were.
A good football team wins games, but a great football team empties stadiums.
That being said, I think the USC UGA game is going to be exciting this year.
USC is trending up, while UGA is trending down — trending down as in dropping to the *second* best team in the nation, not the first. The makeup of each team is what makes me think we’re in for an interesting game of football.
Georgia still has an incredible football team and I think they could complete the three-peat, (selfishly I hope they do because I could be able to go to it to cover it) BUT, they are younger than last year and don’t have the foundation that they could stand on previously. For the first time since 2016, there’s a real quarterback competition for the starting role. The defense is younger as well and is missing cornerstone players from the last two years such as Trayvon Walker, Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter just to name a few. The combination of youth and unfamiliarity within the team can lead to some slip-ups against a relatively older and gelled group like the Gamecocks.
South Carolina finished its trial run with the Beamer-Rattler combo and is looking to be more dangerous with the duo this season. The team has two veteran wide receivers, “Juice” Wells and Dakereon Joyner, who showed promise at the end of last season. They picked up senior running back Mario Anderson in the transfer portal. The 2022 SAC Player of the Year is positioned to surprise the SEC next year. The defense could use some work but we’ve made upsets with a worse squad.
Yes, I’m biased for the Gamecocks. No, I don’t think they’re going to win. But there’s a good chance that we will see a great football game between the two at 3:30 on September 16.
I’d like to get to know you! I’m going to start a Q&A column for the summer where I field readers’ questions and write about/answer some of them. If you want to know more about me or want to talk local, college and professional football/sports, email me at Noah.email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you!