Published October 4, 2012 - 10:30am
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Several talking heads have called this weekend’s stack of games the best in college football this season. Geno Smith will try and continue his Heisman campaign in Austin as West Virginia takes on Texas; Nebraska battles Urban Meyer and Ohio State in a Big Ten showdown; And Miami renews an old rivalry with the Fighting Irish under the lights at Soldier Field.
We know the two games SEC fans will be watching however. Down South, none are bigger than Florida’s afternoon bout with LSU and South Carolina’s nightcap against Georgia, two contests featuring four Top 10 unbeatens hoping to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the SEC.
Pull up a chair because starting at 3:30 (noon if you’re a War Eagle or Mississippi State supporter), we’ll have a more clear understanding on which teams are capable of dethroning top-ranked Alabama in Atlanta, perhaps even earlier, this season.
Rarely does LSU — the SEC’s defending champ — fly under the radar but it’s all part of a maniacal plan for Les Miles and Co. Much-maligned in recent weeks because of a lack of offense, Zach Mettenberger and the Tigers get a chance to spoil the Gators’ unbeaten start on the road. Last time LSU played in Gainesville (2010), Miles dialed up a few plays down the stretch that strengthened his Mad Hatter moniker. This year’s Florida defense is better and LSU’s offense, not as talented. The Tigers are a road favorite according to Vegas, but few prognosticators are actually picking LSU to win. Florida is much better at moving the football during Year 2 under Will Muschamp and the Gators are equipped with an underrated defense, perhaps the SEC’s best secondary. With more than a week to prepare, the Gators should take this one down to the wire — a perfect choice for CBS’s afternoon time slot.
After watching a climactic ending from the Sunshine State, head over to the sports mothership to catch the remainder of the “Beasts of the East” clash between the fifth-ranked Bulldogs and No. 6 Gamecocks. ESPN has hyped this one up to all its glory and is already setting up the GameDay stage in the Horseshoe on campus. Over the last decade, this game has seen its share of jaw-dropping plays, perhaps none bigger than South Carolina’s three non-offensive touchdown effort in Athens. This should be a slugfest that comes down to the final drive. Which defense will come to play? The outcome depends on who excels up front and stops three of the country’s best tailbacks — Marcus Lattimore, Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. If South Carolina wins, it should receive its first top-5 ranking during the Steve Spurrier era. At 6-1, the Gamecocks moved as high as No. 6 during the 2007 season. South Carolina has won back-to-back games in this series, but don’t expect underdog (maybe pick ‘em by now) Georgia to go away lightly. You want to see future NFL first-round picks go at on the college gridiron this weekend? Check out Williams-Brice on Saturday night where plenty of playmakers will make their presence felt on both sides of the football.
Who ya got Saturday: The Tigers and Bulldogs or home-standing Florida and South Carolina?