By Toby Earl (aka Johnny Utah)
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was written prior to the Boise State beat-down of Georgia. However, author Toby "Johnny Utah" Earl is rather foolishly sticking to his guns on this!
All right, Carolina fans, I know you’re riding high, and in the words of Phil Hartman, “I don’t want to come down on you.” I just don’t see Carolina winning the east this year. It has nothing to do with a lack of talent. I think they have the most proven talent in the east, and maybe the most in the entire sec. I don’t even really believe that Georgia is a better team than Carolina this year. It really all boils down to the schedule, and Georgia has the easiest SEC slate this year.
They start with Carolina at home on the 10th. So at least we will know early if this blog is full of you know what. That is followed by games at Mississippi and at home against Mississippi State; they should be able to win both of those games. Mississippi State may be a bit tricky, but Georgia should get it done at home. Then they are at Tennessee, which is there toughest true road game, but Tennessee still has a lot of questions that need to be answered. Most importantly was Tyler Bray’s horrific spring just an aberration.
Following Tennessee, the ‘Dogs go to Vanderbilt for an automatic win. Then they have Florida in Jacksonville, which is a toss up game. They close out with Auburn and Kentucky at home.
So to recap: Georgia misses Arkansas, LSU, and Bama from the west. They do play Mississippi State from the west, but they get them at home. Then of course they play Carolina at home. So at worst I see this team going 5-3 in the SEC, 6-2 is probable, and I don’t think it would be shocking to see them run the gambit.
South Carolina on the other hand didn’t get quite as lucky. They start out at Georgia, whom I believe decides the division this year. They then get Vandy, Auburn, and Kentucky at home all should be wins. They follow that up at Mississippi St, at Tennessee, and at Arkansas. I don’t see how they can go 3-0 in those games. If they go 2-1 that is an accomplishment, I’m predicting 1-2. They finally close out with Florida at home, which--I’m sorry again--is a toss up game. Carolina should be better this year, but when it’s Florida they always have the talent to play with anyone in the country. So on the low end I predict 4-4; on the high end it’s 6-2.
This South Carolina team this year reminds me a bit of Bama last year. You know they have the talent, and they are probably a top ten team. It’s just that the schedule won’t allow them to be. It’s like Goodfellas—you’re wondering how it didn’t win best picture, but it found a way not to be there.