Be happy, folks, be very happy. It’s probable you last felt this optimistic on that beautiful fall afternoon of November 12, 2005. South Carolina had just beaten Florida for our fifth straight SEC victory. The future of the program looked brighter than ever. The possibilities were endless.
Oh, sure, there have been moments since then, some glimmers. But the 7-5 glimmers that we hoped would turn into 10-2 eye-searing sunbursts have never materialized under Steve Spurrier. Those end of the season swoons doomed us. Those horrific bowl games. The corner never got turned.
This week I’ve read words I’ve never seen applied to us this early in an SEC season. Or at any point in any SEC season for that matter. Words like contender and frontrunner. Atlanta and December have been used in the same sentence. We have been called a “complete” team. We have a true freshman on Heisman watch lists who has been compared to Walker, Jackson, Smith and Peterson. We have talented veterans and talented youngsters and depth. So far we are even good on (gasp!) special teams.
I love the attention, I really do. And I love the fact that I think we have a really good team for the first time under Spurrier. I knew we were going to beat Georgia. And I know we’re going to beat Furman the way the 13th ranked team in the country is supposed to beat Furman.
I’m having fun. But still, I worry.
I worry that Marcus Lattimore carried the ball 37 times in his second college game ever. I worry that he’s averaging 4.6 yards per carry instead of 6.4 yards per carry. I worry that people are comparing him to Walker, Jackson, Smith and Peterson. I worry that the offensive line wasn’t as good on Saturday as everyone is giving them credit for. I worry that UGA’s 3-4 defense is just plain bad against the run. I worry that we’re not getting pressure on the quarterback, and that we haven’t forced a bushel full of turnovers yet. Most of all I’m worried about the three A’s:
Auburn, Alabama and Arkansas.
Two of those teams we think are pretty good. One we know is very good.
We’re a better team than Auburn, but we play them at Jordan Hare at night. We’re not a better team than Alabama, but we play them at home. We’re a better team than Arkansas, but what year are we not, yet we still lose to them too often.
Throw in Kentucky on the road and a Florida team that will right the ship (trust me), and that’s one heck of a minefield we have to negotiate.
The first two weeks of the season couldn’t have been scripted any better. I’ve seen similar scripts the past five years, but this one is definitely different. I don’t believe the swoon will come this year.
But still, I worry.