COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Hello, from a very humid venue here inside Williams-Brice Stadium.
The rain came earlier this afternoon and that means it's going to be hot and sticky in Columbia Saturday, but that shouldn't keep us from having a fun one between South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
There was an interesting feel around the stadium when I was walking up, drenched with sweat as the sun beat down on my face. South Carolina fans didn't exactly lack confidence, but most fans were pretty low key while tailgating. Obviously, the liquids were flowing, the fried food was being devoured and animated conversations were all around me. But it didn't seem like fans really knew how to approach this game.
Who could really blame them? This Vanderbilt team has been pretty exciting to watch, defensively, and the Gamecocks are prone to make mistakes on offense. Vandy has 12 takeaways and South Carolina has turned the ball over seven times. With Stephen Garcia at quarterback, Gamecocks fans should be nervous.
But they should also rejoice in the fact that they have Marcus Lattimore to churn away on the the ground. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said he'd like to take some of the pressure off of him, but I doubt today is one of those days. With the way Vanderbilt takes the pass away, Lattimore will see a lot of early carries and I expect that trend to continue through the game.
I think Lattimore's ability to dominate defensive fronts will wear down this Vanderbilt defense.
We also need to see how Vandy responds on the road against a hostile crowd and how this offense does. Vandy isn't exactly an offensive juggernaut, but South Carolina's defense has really struggled, especially with tackling. This one really has the makings of being ugly offensively, so limiting mistakes will be crucial.
The rooster crows are starting, so we're getting closer and closer to game time and the students are loving it down there.