#5 Georgia at #6 South Carolina
Saturday, October 6, 7pm EDT
Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC

The SEC East and perhaps BCS title stakes could be on the line in South Carolina Saturday night, as the Gamecocks host the Bulldogs.  The Southeastern Conference has dominated college football for the last decade, with the SEC claiming the last six titles.  2011 was the SEC West’s time to shine, with division rivals LSU and Alabama meeting each other in the national title game.  While the Tigers and Crimson Tide are both in the Top 5, three SEC East Teams are in the AP Top 10: #5 Georgia, #6 South Carolina, and #10 Florida.  And if Florida upsets #4 LSU this week, this game will be even more important to Georgia and South Carolina, as one claimant to a title shot would fall and another will rise.

However, Michael Bennett’s torn ACL may at least partially derail Georgia’s title hopes.  The Bulldog wide receiver injured himself in practice this Tuesday, and is out for the season.  Malcolm Mitchell, who was one of Georgia’s top receivers last season before switching to cornerback for 2012, was already in the process of converting back to wide receiver, and will help offset the loss of Bennett.

South Carolina junior Marcus Lattimore is one of the best running backs in college football, but he really steps up his game against the Bulldogs.  In two previous games against Georgia, he ran for a combined 358 yards.  However, Georgia’s freshman running back Todd Gurley has outgained Lattimore this season by 96 yards and has 9 touchdowns to Lattimore’s 8.  Incredibly, Gurley has only 68 carries in five games, sharing time with fellow freshman sensation Keith Marshall; Lattimore has carried the ball 96 times in 2012.

Things won’t get immediately easier for Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks after this week.  South Carolina’s next two games are against LSU and Florida, and while a floundering Arkansas squad and FCS Wofford await them later on, the in-state rivalry game between South Carolina and #15 Clemson at the end of the regular season will go a long way in deciding both teams’ BCS chances.  Georgia has the next week off, with an October 20 game at Kentucky acting as a warmup to their rivalry game in Jacksonville against Florida.