How we see things on the eve of the big game:
The one thing of which we can be certain on Saturday? That there are no certainties. Oh sure, the pundits, bloggers, and tweeters have crafted the narratives based on deep statistical analysis and hours of film study. As a result safe, predictable scores are being tossed around.
But if you look at the last four years against UGA, how many of THOSE pre-game prognostications came to fruition? Very few, if any. Just look:
2009 – In our opener we beat N.C. State 7-3, and Georgia had lost to Oklahoma State 24-10. Most people thought the first team to double digits in the USC-UGA game would be the winner. The final? A wild 41-37 win for the Dogs. Nobody called that.
2010 – A freshman running back named Marcus Lattimore, who had one college game and 54 rushing yards to his credit, carried the ball 37 times (!) for 182 yards (!!). Gamecocks win 17-6. Nobody called that.
2011 – Two very talented defensive squads took the field in what looked like it would be a low-scoring affair. When the dust settled, the Gamecocks had scored three non-offensive touchdowns – two by Melvin Ingram – to win 45-42. Nobody called that.
2012 – For the first time ever both teams were ranked in the Top 10 and were the game of the week on the college slate. Close game, right? Wrong, Gamecocks destroy a Georgia team that would lose only one other game all year, 35-7. Nobody called that.
So what does all this tell us about Saturday’s game? Nothing more than to expect the unexpected.
Unexpected plays, unexpected calls, unexpected heroes and unexpected goats.
For the first time in memory I actually feel like we have the better team going into this game, which is frightening. I, like the pundits, feel like the success Clemson had rushing Aaron Murray bodes well for our D-line and Gasman Clowney. I love our running backs, and the way Connor Shaw controls a game.
At the same time I think if the Georgia coaches look back at the tape against Clemson and realize how well they ran the toss sweep that maybe they’ll run it more than twice against us. I’ve kept my mouth shut about Aaron Murray because he’s too good a quarterback to have such bad numbers against good competition. He’s due.
Oh, and the game is in Athens.
Everything points to a 31-28-ish final score. So for no reason at all I say:
Cocks win 16-13. I called that.
Let’s not kid ourselves. We all know exactly what is going to happen Between the Hedges ™ tomorrow. Have known, in fact, since the Georgia deep snapper inexplicably tried to roll the football back to his holder on the Bulldogs’ last field goal attempt.
Wait, you’re not following me here? Well, let me explain:
Time, gentle reader, is only an illusion. It does not exist. The big game tomorrow has already happened, and is happening even now. Its only our meager capacity for thought that organizes the unknowable chaos around us into rational packets of so-called time.
The frustrating nature of time has troubled philosophers for millennia. Augustine understood that he didn’t understand time:
How can the past and future be when the past no longer is and the future is not yet? As for the present, if it were always present and never moved on to become past, it would not be time but eternity.
The Roman poet Lucretius went further:
And likewise time cannot itself exist, but from the flight of things we get a sense of time. No man, we must confess, feels time itself, but only knows of time from flight or rest of things.
So let’s all dispense with these frivolous, illusory thoughts of “predictions” of the “future.” The Clemson* win last Saturday is inexorable coupled with a Gamecock defeat in Athens, and deep down, we all know it. Have known it. Are knowing it even now.
The Bulldogs, similarly trapped in the illusion of time, will come into the game believing that their backs are against the wall. And the myriad Georgia fans, decked out in their finest Walmart regalia, will agree: Georgia must win this game or else.
That intensity, albeit misplaced, will be the difference.
And the Clemson faithful, buoyed by a false sense of superiority, will continue their epic delusional march toward a classic Clemsoning upset loss somewhere in the midseason. To, I don’t know, Maryland or Wake or something.
In fact, it’s already happened.
Georgia 31 Carolina 20
You young people with your facepages and twitttalking. Get off my lawn.
Gamecocks survive late rally, win 27-24.