The nation's new top-ranked team will take the field for its first conference game of the season Saturday when No. 1 Georgia travels to face South Carolina in an SEC East showdown. The Bulldogs earned the No. 1 spot in the AP Top 25 this week after outscoring their first two opponents 82-3 in an impressive start to the season for the reigning national champions.
South Carolina is off to a 1-1 start after beating Georgia State 35-14 in Week 1 and losing 44-30 to Arkansas last week in a tough SEC road contest. This will mark the fourth time in program history that the Gamecocks have hosted the No. 1 ranked team, and they were competitive in the previous instances. Back in 2009, the Gamecocks lost 24-14 to Florida, but the following season they knocked off Alabama in one of the signature victories of Steve Spurrier's coaching tenure with the program. The latest instance of South Carolina hosting the No. 1 team came in 2015, when it lost 37-32 against Clemson.
Keeping pace with this Georgia team will be a tall task for the Gamecocks, but South Carolina did pull a stunning upset of the Bulldogs in 2019 on the road, and it should be hungry to put forth a better showing than it did in a 40-13 loss last season in what was just Shane Beamer's third game as coach.
Check out LIVE updates as Georgia faces South Carolina.
Georgia vs. South Carolina: Need to know
Georgia's injuries: The Bulldogs could be a little lean on depth in the secondary if cornerback Nyland Green and veteran nickel William Poole are unavailable. Green suffered a hamstring injury in the second half of the Bulldogs' season-opening win over Oregon and did not play in last week's 33-0 win over Samford. Poole is a sixth-year senior who has been a reserve for much of his career but wound up playing a key role for the Bulldogs late last season. Georgia coach Kirby Smart said this week that Poole is "dealing with some personal issues." Junior receiver Adonai Mitchell could also miss the game after suffering an ankle injury in the Samford game. Mitchell caught 29 passes for 426 yards and four touchdowns last season and made four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown against Oregon in Week 1.
South Carolina's offensive line: This looks like it could be rough matchup for South Carolina's offensive line. The Gamecocks rank last in the SEC in rushing yards per game with 59.5 and will be up against one of the nation's fiercest defensive fronts. While Georgia did allow 140 rushing yards against Oregon, the Bulldogs held a comfortable lead for much of the game and honed in on pass defense while playing from ahead. From a pass rush perspective, things don't look much better. South Carolina has allowed pressure on 38% of drop backs through two games, which is also worst in the SEC. The nine sacks allowed by the Gamecocks is tied for fourth-worst nationally. South Carolina may need to force a couple of turnovers or make some big plays on special teams if it wants to keep things close in a tough matchup for its offense.
Will Muschamp's return: Georgia co-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will be on the opposing sideline at Williams-Brice Stadium for the first time since his five-year tenure coaching the Gamecocks ended during the 2020 season. Muschamp posted a 28-30 (17-22 in SEC) mark in his tenure and knocked off Smart in 2019. The former Georgia defensive back joined the Bulldogs' staff as an analyst last season but later took on the special teams coordinator role before stepping to a coordinator job for this season after ex-defensive coordinator Dan Lanning left to become Oregon's head coach. There is plenty of familiarity to go around in this matchup as Beamer is also a former Georgia assistant under Smart.
How to watch Georgia vs. South Carolina live
Date: Saturday, Sept. 17 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Williams-Brice Stadium -- Columbia, South Carolina
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Georgia vs. South Carolina prediction, picks
South Carolina's woes on the offensive line spell disaster in this matchup. The Gamecocks are struggling to protect quarterback Spencer Rattler and haven't shown much of a rushing attack through two games. Georgia's defense looks like it has hardly dropped off at all after having five players taken in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, and the Bulldogs may be able to keep South Carolina from reaching double-digits. While Smart is unlikely to run up the score on a respected former assistant, Georgia should cover even if its offense keeps things tame. Prediction: Georgia (-24.5)
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