Good morning, all! Hope we’re all ready for this fierce rivalry game. We made peace momentarily with our Gamecock brethren over at Garnet & Black Attack long enough to throw out a few questions about what to expect from the game this afternoon. Good Bull Hunting questions in bold:
1) Without doing any research I assume that savvy oddsmakers in Vegas have set the O/U on South Carolina quarterbacks who see playing time Saturday at 2.5. Tell us about the Gamecock QB controversy, and can we expect Muschamp to play the Dakereon Joyner wild card?
Honestly, I don’t think it’s much of a controversy, or at least not to the extent it’s been portrayed. Jake Bentley is certainly not perfect and has had a rough start to the year, but he’s also played against a couple of very good defenses in Georgia and Kentucky. I was really impressed with Michael Scarnecchia’s effort against Missouri and I’m thrilled he was able to lead this team to a win. I just don’t think he showed much that Bentley isn’t also capable of, and fans are just falling into the time-worn trap of thinking the backup is better because he had one good game. Experience matters a lot in this sport.
As for Joyner, he seems all but destined for a redshirt, which is disappointing. I’m as interested as anyone to see him play, because all reports are that he’s electric with the ball in his hands. However, said reports have also indicated he’s incredibly raw in the passing game, so I reckon he’s just too much of a project at this point.
2) If Muschamp and Fisher decided to just bail on the game and spend the weekend at their shared Panama City beach house instead, what would be the ensuing Florida Man headline in the papers on Sunday?
Oh god. I honestly can’t even fathom it, since pretty much every Florida Man headline is an exercise in truth being stranger than fiction, to put it mildly. A few of my favorites throughout the years, which strike me as particularly on brand for Muschamp and Fisher: “Drunk Florida man tries to use taco as ID after car catches on fire at Taco Bell”; “Man running in inflatable bubble rescued off coast of Florida”; “Florida man charged with assault with deadly weapon after throwing alligator through Wendy’s drive-thru window”; “Florida man claims Burger King put dirt on his food -- investigation reveals it was seasoning.”
Hm...maybe those are really just more on brand for Muschamp.
3) The Aggie defense has shown marked improvement this season, but our secondary is still not ready for prime time. Who are the unsung heroes of the Gamecock passing attack who might have their coming out party on Saturday?
Well, Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards are the known commodities, but they will no doubt factor heavily into the game plan. I’d say Shi Smith is one to watch out for, as he’s faster than even Deebo and has evolved into the Gamecocks’ most reliable deep threat. South Carolina also likes to get the tight ends involved on occasion, so you might see Kiel Pollard or Kyle Markway come up with an extremely random big catch. Running backs Rico Dowdle and Ty’Son Williams are frequently targeted as well, but they’ve been having some issues there, so it’s hard to say if they’ll end up having an impact in the passing game.
4) How does the average Carolinan spend their annual day off for James Bonham Day?
Ah, yes, the venerable James Bonham, who I definitely did not just need to Google. Uh, if the comments on GABA are any indication, they spend it fiercely eating and otherwise defending the honor of Carolina BBQ, as the good Lord intended.
On a more serious note, I always forget this game has a trophy attached, and not just because the Gamecocks haven’t won it. Even Muschamp was hard-pressed to offer any details when someone asked him about it. Is there a more manufactured rivalry in the SEC?
5) It’s Saturday night and you are celebrating the Gamecocks’ first victory in this storied rivalry. What was the key to South Carolina’s victory and how did they accomplish it?
I think if South Carolina wins, things will have to unfold similarly to the Mizzou game last week. The Gamecocks need to hold A&M to field goals whenever possible, force a timely turnover or two, and avoid shooting themselves in the foot too much (the latter of which has gotten out of hand to darkly comedic extents in the games they’ve lost so far). It’d be nice to see the running game get going at some point, but considering A&M’s strengths there, I imagine it will have to wait a week. In the meantime, I’d just be happy to watch receivers stop dropping catchable balls and see the defense make some more red zone stops.
6) Final score prediction?
As I’ve said over on GABA, I’d love to predict a Gamecock win, but I just can’t do it until they show me it’s actually possible against you guys. I’ll stick with A&M 24-17.
EXTRA CREDIT) Better hair - Trevor Lawrence or Stephen Garcia? (show your work)
Absolutely Garcia, who showed quite a bit of range with his flowing locks. He sported everything from overgrown Bama bangs to a more professional Florida Man mullet and, last but not least, the traditional Fabio style. (For one horrifying moment, he even wore it disconcertingly short.) He also had the versatility to either go clean-shaven or pair it with a beard. Lawrence may yet serve some looks throughout his Clemson career, but as of right now, Garcia’s got him beat.