The team and fans of the South Carolina Gamecocks are still smiling after a sound win versus the Alabama Crimson Tide this past Saturday. The monumental win has put USC in a unique position, one that is rare for the football program, as they are currently leading the SEC East. Going into the Kentucky game it is all about avoiding the letdown. The Wildcats would love nothing more than to beat the Gamecocks and break the spirit of the USC faithful.
The Gamecocks travel to Lexington, Ky., to face SEC Eastern Division foe Kentucky at Commonwealth Stadium. USC is 4-1 (2-1 SEC) and heading in the right direction, while Kentucky is going in reverse after losing three straight and sitting at 3-3 (0-3 SEC).
The SC – UK match-up is the 22nd game in the series that dates back to 1937 between USC and UK. USC leads the all-time series 14-6-1, including an 8-3 mark in games played in Lexington. USC has won 10 straight games versus the Wildcats, dating back to the 2001 season.
This is a must-win on the road for Carolina, which in the SEC has not been kind for Spurrier’s boys.
The Gamecocks seek to snap a six-game losing streak on the road in the SEC, dating back to the 2008 season. The last road win in conference play for the Gamecocks came on October 11, 2008 with a 24-17 victory at Kentucky.
If the Gamecocks football program is to take the next step then they must win on the road. They cannot just protect their home turf but also go into hostile environments and take care of business. That is a sign of good programs.
This game is all about USC taking care of business. We have seen the Gamecocks make a strong charge but to only lose games they should not have like the loss to Vanderbilt a few years back. If USC is to make noise in the SEC this year, this game in Lexington must not be overlooked nor the ego’s too high post-Alabama.
The Gamecocks earned a lot of national exposure in the last week and it is a welcomed sight on a program that has its all-time record in football just a few games above .500. For USC to continue the march towards the SEC Championship game then they must get over the ‘Bama win and beat Kentucky.
It will cancel itself out if they lose to the Wildcats after achieving so much versus the Tide. Spurrier knows this as the first thing he had to say after the Alabama win was to focus on the Kentucky game as a crucial game.
Beat Kentucky, keep the respect and validate the Alabama win. The Gamecocks control their destiny and need to keep in perspective that this season is a marathon built on the ultimate goal of being SEC East champs.
*The article was written for Bleacher Report.