For two consecutive weeks in September, Georgia will face a team from South Carolina named after poultry. But the similarities end there, for the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers are neither the defending SEC East champions nor a Division I-A team at all. In fact, CCU's football program has only been in existence for eight seasons, and while they've experienced a few promising successes during that time -- a couple of FCS playoff bids and a handful of Big South titles, one of which they shared last year -- they aren't on the Dawgs' schedule as anything other than a much-needed break after the opening one-two punch of Boise State and South Carolina.
BETTER KNOW THE GAMECOCKS
Coach: David Bennett, 56-34 in six seasons at Coastal Carolina; 118-60 overall
Last season: 6-6, 5-1 Big South (T-1st); lost to Western Illinois 17-10 in the first round of the FCS playoffs
Returning starters for 2011: 13 (five offense, eight defense, zero special teams)
Key returners: LT Jamey Cheatwood, TE David Duran, LB Andrae Jacobs, CB Josh Norman
Key losses: RB Eric O'Neal, S Dominique Davenport, QB Zach McDowall
Best-case scenario: The Dawgs stave off a hangover from whatever successes or disappointments they suffered in the first two games and throttle the Chanticleers early. As FCS opponents go, Coastal Carolina is decent, but there's no reason for Aaron Murray not to bomb away and give the Dawgs a healthy lead early in the game. There should be ample opportunities for Isaiah Crowell, Washaun Ealey, and Caleb King as the Dawgs try to grind out clock and look toward their next matchup.
Worst-case scenario: Georgia gets sloppy and lets CCU hang around well into the third quarter. Weirdly enough, the QB who will be under center for the Chanticleers is Aramis Hillary, who signed with South Carolina in 2008 but transferred to CCU a year ago after he and his brother were arrested in Columbia on alcohol charges. Not only was Hillary once thought to be good enough to play QB for Steve Spurrier, he'll be protected by a line returning four of five starters; his mobility means Georgia can ill afford the kinds of defensive breakdowns that plagued them against run-happy quarterbacks throughout 2010. If the third game of the season turns into a shootout rather than a blowout, it won't bode well for the Dawgs as they prepare to enter the thick of conference play.