Sep 24

Times Are Changing

Posted By:Damian Thorpe - Aiken, SC  Tags:

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#4 Ole Miss at South Carolina (7:30, ESPN) There's something different about South Carolina this year. I've read a lot of predictions for the game tomorrow and I can not help but notice the number of people that have picked South Carolina to win the game. While you would think that I would be happy to finally be getting some respect for my team, I actually enjoyed being the underdog better. Now don't get me wrong, Ole Miss is still the favorite to win and the majority of people have picked them to win, it's just there are some more picks for South Carolina than in years past.

I was at the Kentucky game on Thurs. night two years ago, and the game tomorrow night reminds me a lot of that one. With Andre Woodson leading the way, Kentucky was #8 in the country. Carolina, led by Eric Norwood's two touchdowns, came away with a strong 38-23 victory. If you can remember back to 2006, South Carolina played Auburn at home on a Thurs. night game when Auburn was #2 in the country. While Syvelle Newton played fairly well, (especially considering we were facing the #2 team in the country) Carolina lost 24-17. After the game, I remember seeing our fans on the television clapping for us for a giving a good effort. Then I remember Spurrier in his post game conference state that he never wanted the fans to clap for the team when we lose. I can remember how tough that loss was considering how close we were, but at the time it seemed like a sign that good things were coming.

Well... here we are three years later and I wouldn't exactly say good things have come. Ole Miss is the #4 team in the country. (Should say arguably the #4 team in the country) Do I think Ole Miss is the #4 team in the country?... No... But do I think they are a better team than South Carolina?... Yes... What helps South Carolina is that the game is at home. I can not stress how much this helps South Carolina. Carolina also tends to get up a lot more for prime time games. Some teams just match up better with certain teams and I think thats the case here. I think South Carolina matches up well with Ole Miss and I think that was the reason for our success against them last year. Jevan Snead will have a little fun with our secondary, but I think Ole Miss will have trouble stopping Tori Gurley and Weslye Saunders. South Carolina has a better running game than Ole Miss. Steve Spurrier is going to ride that running game tomorrow until he is blue in the face. Don't be surprised to see some more conservative play-calling from him again. I'm at the point where I really don't care as long as we win the game. I'm pretty sure thats Spurrier's goal as well, just win the game no matter what it takes.

I expect Stephen to throw the ball around thirty times tomorrow night. Probably ten of those passes will be screen passes, so it won't be a whole lot of throwing deep. Giles, Miles, and Maddox will all see time at runningback. I would like to see Steve get Bryce Sherman on the field a little more because I think he adds a new dimension to our team that we have never had. My prediction for the game is that Carolina wins... and actually wins convincingly. I think Carolina will surprise some people tomorrow night and feed off the adrenaline from the home crowd. Carolina wins this one 35-21.

MVP- The most valuable player of the night will be Weslye Saunders on offense and Cliff Matthews on defense. I think Ole Miss will have some trouble stopping Weslye and their offensive line will have trouble blocking Cliff Matthews. I haven't seen a defensive end as athletic as Cliff Matthews in a long time. The noise of the crowd could affect Snead's cadence. If Snead starts to get happy feet or hold on to the ball a little longer, than that could create a big night for Mr. Matthews.

I will be at the game tomorrow night and I can't wait. It should be a dandy.



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