The SEC is widely considered the best college football conference in the country due to the high quality teams and their talented players. Every year the inter-conference schedule is just brutal and it’s not a crazy thought to play more than two consecutive games against ranked teams.
This brings me to this weekend’s marque game between the sixth ranked South Carolina Gamecocks and the fifth ranked Georgia Bulldogs. It’s a huge game with major championship implications and the first in a tough three-game stretch for the Gamecocks.
Taking a closer look at their next three games the argument can be made that this is the toughest stretch of consecutive games that any team will face in the entire country all season. Each team has a legitimate shot at a national championship and two of South Carolina’s games come on the road in two of the toughest environments in all of college football.
On top of the three consecutive top 10 opponents, Florida and Georgia are two of Carolina’s major rivals, a factor that adds even more intrigue to this brutal stretch. The Gamecocks are gunning for their third straight victory over the Bulldogs, something that has never happened in the history of their series so right off the bat the odds are already stacked against the Gamecocks.
Having the UGA game at home helps but home-field advantage can only do so much. With all of that said, adding even more importance to this battle, the winner of this game goes a long ways toward deciding who will represent the SEC East in Atlanta this December.
If South Carolina can survive the first game they can carry some momentum into Death Valley to take on No. 4 LSU. Although the Tigers have dropped down the AP standings twice, despite not losing a game, they can’t be discredited. They are in the top 10 in total defense and they are in the top 20 in average rushing yards per game.
LSU still plays the same style of football that led them to an undefeated regular season and last year’s national championship game. A game in Baton Rouge is also one of the most difficult places for a road team to try and win.
Somehow, if the Gamecocks can produce two upsets the third game should set up as the ‘easiest’. Florida is having a bounce-back season under second year head coach Will Muschamp and they are doing it with, surprise, surprise, their defense. They are only allowing 12.8 points per game, which has them ranked as the 10th best scoring defense in the country. However their offense has struggled a bit, especially through the air.
Regardless, the Gators have a potent rushing attack that can easily run up and down the field and control the pace of the game.
It may be the toughest three games any team will face but the common cliche, ‘take it one game at a time’, will be in full force for Spurrier’s boys. They can’t afford to look ahead because if they do they could easily find themselves going from a 5-0 national title competitor to a 5-3 middle of the road team.
Think there’s another team that has a tougher three-game stretch? Let us know in the comments section below.
David LaRose is one of the featured College Football writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado.