Until recently, Columbia was not a place Georgia was excited to come to.
Between 2006 and 2016, the Bulldogs scored an average of only 18 points in Columbia. During these years, Georgia’s offenses included players such as; Matt Stafford, Aaron Murray, Knowshown Moreno, Todd Gurley, AJ Green, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel… Should I keep going? Not to mention the 35 points (most they scored in this stretch) in 2014, was in a 38-35 loss to the Gamecocks.
Prior to this stretch, Georgia did not have any greater success. In fact between 1992 and 2006, Georgia only beat the Gamecocks by more than 14 points in Columbia once.
Needless to say, Georgia used to struggle whenever they would visit Columbia. Whether it was the Carolina fans, the Gamecocks stepping up to the challenge every year, or the Bulldogs playing with butterflies in their stomach, they simply had trouble getting it done in Columbia.
That was in until 2018. The 24th ranked Gamecocks took on the 3rd ranked Bulldogs in a game of the week matchup, in Columbia. Given Georgia’s prior struggles in Columbia, an upset seemed guaranteed. However, the Bulldogs destroyed the Gamecocks 41-17, as they seemed to be in control the entire contest.
The next trip to Columbia did not fair any better for Carolina, as they were again blown out 45-16. In South Carolina’s defense, the game took place during the 2020 Covid season, with limited stadium capacity. The Gamecocks also had a roster full of injuries, and Covid 19 cases, and Will Muschamp was fired two weeks prior.
Disregard 2020 for a moment. Are the days of South Carolina holding an advantage against Georgia in Columbia over? Or should we suspect a potential upset, as the Gamecocks take the field against Georgia this fall?
On one hand, it’s clear that the Bulldogs are on an entirely new level under Kirby Smart than they were in the past. The Bulldogs will be coming off a National Championship, and have held a fairly consistent top 5 ranking over the past couple of years.
A sort of dominance that we really haven’t seen out of the bulldogs in ages and ages. Perhaps these Kirby Smart teams are unfazed by the intimidation of Williams Brice.
On the other hand, South Carolina has proved before that they can compete against even the strongest Bulldog teams. In 1980, South Carolina took the eventual national champion bulldogs down to the wire in a 13-10 loss. In 2019, South Carolina took down the 3rd ranked Kirby Smart led Bulldogs down in a 20-17 upset.
Therefore, an upset is always a possibility when the Gamecocks meet the bulldogs.
Personally, I would like to think Carolina still has an advantage over the Bulldogs in Columbia. I do not count the 2020 meeting, because the Gamecocks were a very broken team at the time.
If Georgia blows out Carolina again this season, then we have a different story on our hands. But, I’m not going to believe that this advantage we’ve had for years, is over after one true blowout loss in Columbia.
Do I believe South Carolina is going to upset Georgia? No. I would love nothing other, but I don’t see it happening. However, what I do see is South Carolina giving Georgia a game.
I predict Georgia to be on edge for the majority of the Contest and for them to come out by 14 after a late touchdown. I do not believe it will be a game South Carolina fans will celebrate, but I do believe it will be a game they will be proud of.