Yesterday, we took the pessimists view and shared our fears for how Saturday could go horribly wrong. Today, we are trying to be the rare optimistic Gamecock fan and give you reasons to feel warm and fuzzy about Florida.
This has been the dominant story line of the week and of the Florida season. To hear a Gator talk about injuries, it sounds like a Greek tragedy. They have lost many, many players and are playing back ups and third string players. The result of these injuries is clear: the Gators have a losing record. They are as banged up as ever this week, and that should give Carolina a huge, huge advantage.
On the other hand South Carolina is incredibly healthy for this point in the season. Connor Shaw will be taking his knee brace off and will be close to 100%. Ronald Patrick will be close to 100%. Mike Davis is full go. There are very few missing or limited players, and Carolina is good at full strength.
As anyone watching USC this season already knows Mike Davis is a difference maker. He's already over 1000 yards and has proved to be an excellent successor to Marcus Lattimore. And, this week is special to him. He originally committed to Florida his junior year and decommitted from them late in the process his senior year. There was something that went on where Davis felt he was misled or lied to. He's extra motivated this week.
Clowney v. Backups
Clowney is still the most dominant individual, defensive force in college football. Instead of going against Taylor Lewan or Tiny Richardson, he is going to play against the Gators' third or fourth string tackles. Of course the Gators are going to double team with a TE or RB and will run away from him, but this is bad, bad mismatch for Florida.
South Carolina has the nation's longest home winning streak. That hasn't happened by accident. Finishing the season at home should be an advantage for the Gamecocks.