The Daily Gamecock

Crucial SEC contests may help send USC to Atlanta

Georgia, Florida also aiming for East title

Summer practice schedules have been announced, media days are over and Southeastern Conference fans have only one thing on their minds: the beginning of a new season.
Last season, five teams from the SEC (No. 1 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 8 South Carolina, and No. 9 Florida) finished in the AP’s top 10, while LSU and Vanderbilt finished in the top 25 (No. 14 LSU and No. 23 Vanderbilt).
It should not come as a surprise to anyone when you say the SEC has been dominating the college football stage for some time. So like any fan, you get excited for the Saturdays that will feature the greatest SEC matchups.
According to a preseason Fox Sports poll, six SEC teams (No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Texas A&M, No. 5 Georgia, No. 8 South Carolina, No. 11 Florida, and No. 12 LSU) have been projected in the Top 25. All of these teams face tough, physical, and demanding SEC opponents this coming season. You never know what will happen in college football, but it is time to play out some scenarios and see how they impact South Carolina’s chance at an elusive SEC Championship.
On September 7, the Gamecocks will travel down to Athens to face their division rival, Georgia. South Carolina has won this matchup the last four seasons, but Georgia’s Aaron Murray is looking to right the ship in his last year with the Bulldogs. As Georgia has proven for the last two seasons, it doesn’t matter how you start, only how you finish. The Bulldogs have been able to lose early and move on to Atlanta to play for the SEC title. This is a big game for both sides, but it is proven the loser can go on to win the division title.
September 14 will showcase one of the more anticipated rematches since Alabama vs. LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game. Johnny “Football” Manziel shocked the Crimson Tide in their house last season and put Texas A&M on the map. Alabama went on to repeat as national champions, but the loss to the Aggies did not sit well with head coach Nick Saban. The winner of this contest could be who the Gamecocks play in Atlanta for the SEC title if South Carolina is able to win the East this season.
On November 2, Georgia will take on Florida in Jacksonville. Two of the top teams in the SEC East very well could be playing for the right to travel to Atlanta in this ball game. Georgia will have played South Carolina and LSU by this point, while Florida will have only played LSU. This game should have a significant impact on whether three teams (Georgia, Florida and South Carolina) reach their goals for the year.
Florida comes to Columbia this season and could be the deciding game for USC. If South Carolina is able to defeat Georgia in Athens, the schedule for the Gamecocks is favorable until they match up with the Gators. Last season, South Carolina fumbled their way to an embarrassing defeat in Gainesville and will be looking for revenge this year.
Other notable matchups include LSU at Georgia (9/28), Florida at LSU (10/12), LSU at Alabama (11/9), and Texas A&M at LSU (11/23).


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