1. Upset History – Through the years, South Carolina has dealt the Dogs several heartbreaking, season-shaking losses. The first came in 1959 when the 10-1 SEC Champion Bulldogs suffered their lone loss of the year in Columbia. In 1978, Georgia had a 9-1-1 regular season with the loss coming to South Carolina. A 16-12 setback to the Gamecocks in Athens in 2007 was crushing, costing the Dogs, who finished No. 2 nationally, a berth in the SEC Championship Game and shot at the national title. Lou Holtz’s Gamecocks beat Georgia in Jim Donnan’s final year and Mark Richt’s first. In the 2010s, Georgia went 5-5 against South Carolina. Steve Spurrier led South Carolina to four wins in five years over Georgia from 2010-2014 (the Bulldogs win came in 2013). The last time the Bulldogs lost Between the Hedges, Will Muschamp led South Carolina, a three touchdown underdog, to a 20-17 overtime upset. Kirby Smart’s Dogs posted an 11-1 regular season, before falling in Atlanta to national champion LSU. Had Georgia beaten the Gamecocks, would a 12-1 Bulldog team gotten a playoff berth? Who knows? Had Georgia beaten the Gamecocks, would the Bulldogs have risen like a Phoenix, won a rain soaked slugfest against Kentucky, and swept through five November victories over Florida, Missouri, Auburn, Texas A&M and Tech? Who knows?
2. Peach State Products in Garnet and Black – The proverbial chip on the shoulder by Gamecock players from the state of Georgia who were often recruited more heavily by South Carolina could certainly be a factor in the aforementioned Gamecocks wins over the Bulldogs. South Carolina lists 18 Peach State products on the 2023 roster. When Clemson was sitting on top of the football world, the Tigers focused on national and regional recruiting, which opened the door for the Gamecocks to pull in a few more in-state products they might not had gotten, had Clemson paid more attention to its “local talent.”
3. Rattle Rattler – South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler is very talented. He had a sensational freshman season at Oklahoma and was viewed as a Heisman front-runner. After he got beat out by now USC Trojan Caleb Williams, Rattler beamed his way through the portal to Columbia. His highlight performances came in those upset wins over Tennessee and Clemson last year. South Carolina struggled protecting him against North Carolina in the season-opener, giving up nine sacks to the Tar Heels. If South Carolina can protect him, the Bulldogs are in for a big challenge. If Georgia can get to him, that might make the difference.
4. Kicking Game and Turnovers – The best path to an upset is for the underdog to win these two categories. Yada Yada Yada. In 2019, Georgia had four turnovers, including a pick-six, had a field goal blocked and missed the game-tying kick in the second overtime. Georgia made mistakes, South Carolina cashed in. South Carolina won.
5. REM vs. Hootie – Before the Bulldogs beat the Gamecocks in 1998, REM’s Mike Mills and Darius Rucker were on the television pregame show. Mills is, of course, a die-hard Georgia fan. Rucker, aka Hootie of Hootie and the Blowfish, loves the Gamecocks. The bet was the loser had to serve as a “roadie” on an ensuing tour. The two were big fans of one another and one another’s music, both saying it would be an honor to be a “roadie” to get to listen to a live show. Georgia prevailed 17-3 on a hot night in Columbia and the famed Athens music scene got a nice win.