Before we talk about Georgia’s complete domination of the chickens in Columbia, let’s acknowledge the number one factor of the day – sweltering heat. The fairgrounds were blistering and it was definitely a factor in the outcome of the game. The visitors had more players who could contribute and were in better condition than the home standing yardbirds. By the third quarter, there was no gas left in the collective tank of the cocky fowls. When Mecole Hardman broke a fatigue-induced arm tackle and streaked to the endzone, there were not enough towel-waving Gamecocks left to stir the dust – let alone cause a sandstorm.
Many national writers and commentators predicted a Gamecock victory, but I just couldn’t understand the logic. Perhaps it was the USC victory over an overrated, but media darling, Michigan last bowl season. Maybe it was just a contrarian pick designed to drive clicks, but South Carolina became a fashionable choice leading up to Saturday’s contest. I suspect the source of continued skepticism about UGA stems for its recent history of failing to seize the moment in big games. “History is not destiny,” said native South Carolinian Rev. Jesse Jackson and he was right. Anyone influenced by history when viewing the current football program in Athens is likely to reach faulty conclusions.
History began for this team, this program, in 2016 – nothing else is relevant. Pundits should adjust their predictions accordingly.
My 38-17 guess, published in Bulldawg Illustrated’s Saturday morning web post, turned out to be pretty accurate, but only because Kirby called off the Dawgs in the third quarter and coasted through the fourth stanza. An angry coach would have scored 65 on the tongue-dragging ‘Cocks.
This season is going to be fun to watch … but I think I said that last week.