Josh Kendall: Murray can't avoid the big mistake
As most of you saw, I picked Georgia to win this game before the season. In fact, immediately after Clemson knocked off the Bulldogs 38-35 in Athens, several of you reached out to me to ask if that was going to change my mind.
The short answer is, yes, but its a little more complicated than that. Like most of you who watched Georgia play Saturday, my immediate thought was, The Bulldogs cant block anybody, much less one of the SECs best defensive lines. (As an aside, lets dont make this Jadeveon Clowney versus the Bulldogs. Georgia is going to have to block Chaz Sutton and Kelcy Quarles, too.)
However, after a little reflection, and listening to Mark Richts evaluation of his line, you realize that a lot of Georgias up front issues can be cleaned up in a week. Not necessarily will, but can. So I dont expect the Gamecocks to run through Georgia all afternoon long.
Having said that, my original pick was based on my belief that Georgias offensive line could play well enough to keep quarterback Aaron Murray out of situations in which hell make The Big Mistake. I no longer believe that to be true. If South Carolina can keep Georgia tailback Todd Gurley from having the monster game he is capable of, the Gamecocks will leave Athens 2-0.
Prediction: Gamecocks 30, Bulldogs 28
David Cloninger: Clowney, colleagues could have sack party
For starters, I predicted that Clemson would beat Georgia by three points last week. Ask my brother. I said I had no idea what the score would be, but I said that Clemson would win by three.
That being said, Im still stunned that Georgias offense could look so good and so bad at the same time. The Bulldogs rolled up 545 yards and lost. How is that possible?
Simple. Left tackle Kenarious Gates couldnt block a stiff breeze. The rest of Georgias offensive line won no prizes for toughness, either. The Bulldogs defensive line was getting blown off the ball by the Tigers offensive line, more questionable play-calling (fullback dive on third-and-goal from the 3, with Michael Bennett on the field?) and more bad big-game play from Aaron Murray all contributed.
In the preseason, I went back and forth on USC and Georgia. The games in Athens. USC has won three straight, and nobody wins forever. I said USC would win because I think the Gamecocks are a more complete team, but I could easily see myself changing my mind later on.
After returning from Clemson, no way I change my mind. Georgias weakness is USCs strength. Not disregarding Vic Beasleys ability, but if he can get two sacks on Murray, imagine what Jadeveon Clowney and Chaz Sutton can get.
Prediction: Gamecocks 28, Bulldogs 21