I'll have the Saturday version of this up tomorrow so you'll know what to look for, but for now I'm just going to do an abbreviated version for the Thursday game because it's such a big game.
The only game on the schedule tonight is Kentucky at South Carolina, and it's a big one to say the very least. I know that it sounds weird. The winner of tonight's Kentucky v. South Carolina game will be the leader in the SEC East. Put that together with Mississippi State looking to move to 4-2, and Vanderbilt very legitimately contending for a bowl berth and it suddenly makes sense as to why the price of gold is surging at the moment.
If you're looking to watch one individual player, it should be Kentucky's Andre Woodson. This guy is simply unreal. Last week, Florida Atlantic ended Woodson's streak of 325 consecutive throws without an interception when they finally grabbed a pick, but 325 is more than good enough for the all-time NCAA record. The truth of the matter is that Woodson is big, tall, athletic and has a huge arm, plus great accuracy. He's guaranteed to be a first round draft pick next year, and he could very well be the number one overall pick. The Ol' Ball Coach even compared him to Carson Palmer, and um, yeah, that's a good thing. He has a patch-work offensive line protecting him, but that hasn't slowed him down so far.
Beyond that, Kentucky is off to an historic start. Not since 1950 have the Wildcats started 6-0, back when they had some hard-ass guy named Paul "Bear" Bryant as their head coach, and that year they ended up beating Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. Sufficed to say, it's been a while since they've been this good. But are they really that good in 2007? They have a three game stretch upcoming at South Carolina, LSU, and at Florida. We'll see soon.
South Carolina, or I should say Spurrier, is doing his typical voodoo doll experiments on his quarterbacks, and now Chris Smelley is the starting quarterback in Columbia. And believe it or not, he looked very good last week against Mississippi State. Good thing we didn't go after him. I mean sure he grew up less than ten miles from Bryant-Denny Stadium, but hey we are set at quarterback with Jimmy Barnes, Marc Guillon, and John Parker Wilson, right? (Insert eye roll emoticon here.)
Defensively, the Gamecocks are stout, but they are hurting from the season-ending injuries to Jasper Brinkley and Nathan Pepper for the year to knee injuries. They looked pretty good against MSU, but we'll see how well they look against a much, much better offense.
And the guys who put their money where their mouthes are do not seemingly believe in the Wildcats. South Carolina, despite going only 4-1 and ranked lower than the Wildcats, come into this game a 3.5 point favorite.
Either way, this is a big game for both teams, and it's a must-win if either wants to win the East because of the tiebreaker implications that are inherent in the intra-division match-up. If Florida loses as expected to LSU on Saturday night, South Carolina is very much in the driver's seat in the SEC East. On the other hand, if Kentucky can knock off South Carolina and still get a loss from Florida, they have to be the favorites at the moment.
Oh, and it's raining like hell in Columbia right now.