Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that South Carolina plays Florida for the SEC East championship in Gainesville on Saturday. The general feeling around the conference is that Florida is hitting their stride and playing their best football of the year while South Carolina just played one of its worst games of the year. The game is in Gainesville which favors Florida, and the Gators have been to the SEC Championship game before, so they know how to handle this situation. Some people think Florida is going to roll, but here are 5 reasons South Carolina might win their first SEC East championship on Saturday.
1. Florida is down this year. Florida just annihilated Vanderbilt and beat Georgia in overtime, so they must be back to their usual form, right? Not necessarily. Florida had an impressive game against a weak Vanderbilt team, but it took them overtime to beat Georgia in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. In that game against Georgia, Florida was the recipient of 4 Bulldog turnovers and had a +3 ratio. If these Florida Gators were as good as the Gators of yore, they'd have beaten Georgia by at least 20.
2. Garcia, Jeffrey and Lattimore. South Carolina has more assembled talent at the skill positions than at any other time in Steve Spurrier's tenure. Garcia has matured into one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC. Alshon Jeffrey may be one of the best receivers in the country. Marcus Lattimore transforms the offense to the next level. These three and the rest of the offense can play with anyone in the conference when they're on.
3. Carolina defensive line play. The key to any game is the play of the lines. In years past South Carolina's defensive lines haven't had the depth or breadth of talent that this team does. Cliff Matthews and Devin Taylor are All-SEC caliber defensive ends, and the interior line play has been better than expected this season. If the defensive line has a good day and slows down the Gator running attack, the Gamecocks will be in the game at the end.
4. Gator Quarterbacks. There is a saying that if you have two quarterbacks, you don't have one. Well if you have three quarterbacks, you have a mess. Florida has had varied success with each of their three quarterbacks. If they are all doing well, then the Gators will look like they did against Vanderbilt. If not, then the Florida offense might look like they did against Mississippi State.
5. Urban Meyer is worried. Nobody knows this Florida team better than Urban Meyer, and he is sending signals that perhaps he's a little worried. The clearest one yet is his call for a blue out. I don't think he wants a special atmosphere in the Swamp because he wants to rub in the blowout. He knows he's going to need every advantage he can get, so he is pulling out all the stops.
Don't be shocked if the Gamecocks leave Ben Hill Griffin on Saturday with the SEC East crown in tow as this Gamecocks blog will not.