As you might expect, it's been a rough couple weeks for our Manic-Depressive Preview duo, having watched Georgia drop a pair of nationally televised matchups -- the latter of which involved having their hearts ripped out of their chests in the last few minutes of the game. (Yup, even Depressive Doug -- he'd almost let himself believe Georgia was going to drive for the winning touchdown when they got the ball back with three minutes left.) Somehow, though, they got up off the mat in time to preview a game that not even Manic Doug thinks anyone in his right mind will be interested in watching. Herewith, a (brief) look at Coastal Carolina.
Manic Doug: OK, let's try and knock this out as efficiently as possible, shall we? I mean, we're talking about a I-AA opponent, and besides, I'm meeting this chick for drinks in less than 45 minutes. Let's get one thing out of the way right now: You don't honestly think Georgia's going to lose this weekend, do you?
Depressive Doug: Against an FCS program that only came into existence eight years ago? No, sir, no matter how bad things might look for us at the moment, I think we've got that one.
MD: Outstanding! See, we're practically done already. So why not go straight to score predictions: I'm gonna say Georgia 55, Coastal Carolina 6 -- straight-up blowout, Isaiah Crowell rushes for close to 200 yards, at least one score comes from the defense or special teams, Hutson Mason is under center by the midpoint of the third quarter and everybody goes home happy. You?
DD: Georgia 37, Coastal Carolina 20.
MD: OK, great, that averages out to -- wait, what? You think we're gonna give up 20 points to those guys? And only win by 17?! What, you think they're gonna make an actual game of this?
DD: Yes, for a number of reasons: One, Georgia has a habit of playing sloppy in these early-season . . .
MD: Oh, man, you're actually going to make this an argument, aren't you? [sighs] OK, before you get started, could you give me an idea of how long I'm actually going to be sitting here?
DD: Man, you really are in a hurry, aren't you? Who are you having drinks with, the queen of England?
MD: Better -- pharmaceutical sales rep, five-eleven, looks like Cameron Diaz's little sister. Her hotter little sister.
DD: All right, fine, for your sake I'll go through these as quickly as I can. Reason No. 1: Georgia has made a habit of playing sloppy in these early-season body-bag games, even when they're against FCS opponents. Reason No. 2: Like us, our players just had their hearts ripped out of their chests in what could have been a pivotal, statement win. Their morale has got to be low right now, and I can't imagine they're going to be completely focused on an opponent that isn't even a I-A team. Reason No. 3: Our defense is a MASH unit right now, particularly at linebacker, with both Alec Ogletree and Christian Robinson out. And ordinarily that wouldn't be a big deal against an FCS opponent, but Coastal's quarterback just happens to be Aramis Hillary, who at one time was considered good enough to be South Carolina's heir apparent to Stephen Garcia and who's probably the most mobile QB we'll face in the first month of the season to boot. So that's why I'm worried.
MD: You know something, those are all valid concerns. Allow me to knock them down one by one. First: Yeah, we occasionally look sloppy in these meaningless non-conference games, but we're just as likely to stomp on their necks early -- look at how we beat both Louisiana-Lafayette and Idaho State by 55-7 margins last season. Second: Even if our players are hurting psychologically, I think they'll be chomping at the bit to show they're not dead yet, and they'll use this game as a chance to get well and pad their stats a little. Third: Yeah, our defense is hurt, but we should be able to handle CCU even if we put in our second string at every position. And I'm not worried about Aramis Hillary, either, 'cause if he really were that good, Spurrier wouldn't have bothered to kick him off the team in the first place. I mean, Stephen Garcia's on, what, his sixth or seventh chance right now?
DD: At least.
MD: Right. And Garcia had a QB rating of eighty-nine against us last week. So if we can deduce that Hillary's not even that good, what are you so worried about?
DD: Guy's mobile, and mobile QBs are something we still haven't proven we can handle. And he's a pretty efficient passer, too -- 350 yards, no picks so far this year in 37 attempts.
MD: Yeah, against Furman and Catawba. One of which I'm pretty sure is a Division II school -- didn't bother to check which one. They haven't faced anywhere near the level of talent they're going to see in Athens this weekend, 0-2 start or no 0-2 start. On this of all weekends, you should let yourself dial your paranoia back a little.
DD: OK, fine, you know what? I'll revise my score prediction, if that'd make you happy.
MD: Getting out of here in the next five minutes is what'd make me happy, but fine, let's hear it.
DD: Georgia 41, Coastal 18.
MD: [sighs again] Still ridiculous, but fine: Our two predictions average out to a 48-12 win. I think it'd be a criminal shame if we didn't manage to get past the half-century mark on these fools, but I'll take a five-touchdown victory anytime. Can I go now?
DD: But I did all this research. You don't want to hear about their linebacking corps? Andrae Jacobs was the Big South Defensive Player of the --
MD: God, no. I've got someplace to be. Here, watch this: If this doesn't put your mind at ease, nothing will. See you later.
DD: OK, I'll take a look, I guess. Say hi to Cameron Diaz for me.
MD: Dude, I told you -- younger sister. Hotter younger sister.
DD: Of course. How unspeakably rude of me.