On any given day, the University of South Carolina's historic Horseshoe is filled with students studying and socializing, but this week is different. You may still see chemistry books and calculators across the campus lawn, but you are sure to hear one common buzzword: "GameDay."
Playing the top-ranked Crimson Tide this Saturday will undoubtedly be a challenge for the No. 19 Gamecocks, but ESPN "College GameDay" on our turf might just be the motivation we need to play them well.
"Looking forward to having ‘GameDay' in Columbia. That's an honor and compliment to our football program and university that they'll come here," said coach Steve Spurrier. "Alabama probably is the biggest reason they're coming; that's OK. If they believe this is one of the biggest games in the country this week, we're happy to participate.
And the fans will be the first to back Coach Spurrier. We are honored to host "College GameDay," the premier college football show, and while it's flattering and humbling, for me, it creates a sense of pride for my university. We aren't a team with a BCS national championship title, but we are a team that holds football to the utmost esteem. Here, it's a revered tradition. Gamecock football is never just a game.
Though the team came away with a tough loss to Auburn, we played hard and it only built momentum for the game against Alabama. Throw in the pressure of climbing to the top of the SEC East with No. 1 recruit Jadeveon Clowney in the stands, and players and fans alike want to win this game more than anything.
Yes, our team has had its ups and downs. We don't claim to be the best, but we do have a knack for playing up to our opponents. Put us on the field with the No. 1 team, and we'll usually play them head to head, no matter the rankings. Last season we knocked out No. 1 team Kentucky in basketball. In baseball we knocked out No. 1 seed Arizona State. With the "chicken curse" hopefully broken, the set up is perfect for a win against Alabama.
This game, all eyes are on Marcus Lattimore as he attempts to push through Alabama's top-run defense. Not to be overshadowed, Tori Gurley and Alshon Jeffery will have to make big plays to win the game. With our defense holding strong and a little Spurrier trickery from under the visor, I believe South Carolina can definitely hold its own against Alabama.
Still relishing the title win as baseball's National Champions, Gamecock fans started of the season with high expectations, and this game isn't any different. Anxiously awaiting Saturday's game, we sit crossing our fingers hoping that Lee Corso puts on that Cocky head.
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College GameDay airs Saturdays on ESPNU at 9AM/ET then continues on ESPN at 10AM/ET.