Georgia Bulldogs most important game of 2014 could be South Carolina

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Now that one of the major teams from the Palmetto State has been dispatched, the Georgia Bulldogs must now turn their attention to conference rival South Carolina and long-time nemesis, Steve Spurrier.

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Fans have already let us know that they think South Carolina is the most difficult game on the schedule, but as things stand right now, it could also be the most important.

You never want to put too much weight on a game that happens so early in the season, but with South Carolina’s loss to Texas A&M in week one, a victory over the Gamecocks by Georgia would put a large gap between the two preseason SEC East frontrunners in only the third week of the season.

With a Georgia victory next week, the Gamecocks would already have two conference losses, with tough SEC games against Missouri, Auburn and Florida looming down the schedule. That might be a lot for the Gamecocks to overcome.

In contrast, South Carolina will be Georgia’s first conference game, but without some of the tougher Western Division teams on the schedule, the Bulldogs have a very manageable conference slate this season. Always highly contested games against Auburn and Florida will be Georgia’s biggest test.

That makes for another important point for the Georgia-South Carolina game – tiebreakers. Both the Bulldogs and Gamecocks have to face Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Auburn and Florida. With a win, Georgia would assure themselves a head-to-head tiebreaker, and with all the common opponents the two teams play, Carolina’s loss to the Aggies becomes even bigger.

Should Georgia stumble against Arkansas — the conference opponent that South Carolina doesn’t face — it still leaves six common opponents after the head-to-head tiebreaker should Bulldogs and Gamecocks finished with tied conference records. The same division opponents are the second tiebreaker for a multi-team tie.

The Evil Genius, Steve Spurrier, will be cooking up a plan to spoil Georgia’s party – Photo Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

So, even in only the second game of the season, the contest against South Carolina probably stacks up as the most important game of the year if things play out in the division the way most expect. But then again, when does that ever happen in the SEC East?

What Georgia should hope for in their off week this week is for South Carolina to beat East Carolina and work off some of the anger and frustration that came with the way they were demolished by TAMU. Should East Carolina manage to win that game, it would make two straight losses at Williams-Brice stadium for the Gamecocks, and forcing a third straight loss there would be monumental.

Then again, if East Carolina does win, then perhaps South Carolina isn’t anywhere near the team that many believed them to be, and Georgia will have no problem coming out of Columbia with a win.