Well, suffice it to say, I was wrong. I was wrong about this, especially.
After games like yesterday, I like to give myself some time to process the carnage. I am not ready to say this is a lost season, Fire Grantham!1!, or any of that other hyperbolic garbage. It is clear, as hard it is for this Bulldog to admit it, South Carolina was the better team yesterday. It was better coached. It was better prepared. It's players were better on the field.
Marcus Lattimore is the real deal. I'm sure I'll talk about this a bit more later, but that first drive was a thing of beauty, especially if you like to see good running backs plying their trade. You can blame the poor tackling of Georgia or you can credit the Oline of the Gamecocks, but at the end of the day good running backs exploit poor tacking and use good blocking to have great games. Yesterday was such a day.
It felt like Garcia had far more attempts than 17. Their first drive was as close to a perfect drive (save a couple of penalties on the Gamecocks) as you can have for an offense. 16 plays, 79 yards, 8:02 TOP, 7 points. The Gamecocks converted on 3rd down four times (I am counting the one that came back on the penalty at the start of the drive, just because what happened after that with Garcia's 16yrd run is typical of what happened the rest of the game). They did what they wanted, when they wanted and kept Georgia on their heels the whole 8 minutes. Not much changed about that the rest of the game.
As for the season, I don't know. I don't share Quinton's modest optimism about this season. This team is not Atlanta bound. That isn't post loss hyperbole. That is stark realism. Georgia is a good team that has a freshman QB and a defense that is growing into it's scheme. Despite being out-gained, outplayed, and out coached yesterday, Georgia somehow found itself in position to make it a game. In that regard, the defense did tighten it up in the second half. In that regard, it was just too little too late. This team will be one that will step up and win some big games, when they play to the best of their ability. This team could lose to nearly anyone else on the schedule if they play like they did yesterday.
Finally, anyone complaining that Ealey's fumble cost Georgia the game is not seeing the big picture. Yes, it is always maddening when you give up a fumble a mere three feet from potentially tying the game. Blaming him is like blaming Chamberlain's appeasement policy for WWII. It isn't so much the cause than an illustration of the causes.
The one redeeming thing I can think of is that the South Carolina game rarely tells us much about Georgia's season. This game looked like every other South Carolina game I can think of. I can't tell you why I thought this would be different, but I did think that. As I said, Georgia will win some ballgames this season and will eventually play to their potential. This was the game that everyone worried we'd screw around and lose in the early part of the season. Everyone was right.
PWD asked on Twitter yesterday what silver linings might have come from yesterday's game. Right now, the only honest answer I have is that we don't go back to Columbia for two years.