USC, Georgia await NCAA rulings

By Rick Henry - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and Georgia coach Mark Richt don't yet know if they'll have benched starters for each side back when they open Southeastern Conference play this week.

Traditionally, the winner of the USC-Georgia game goes on to have a good season. Adding a little extra spice to Saturday's showdown between the SEC East rivals, national rankings and eligibility issues.

Steve Spurrier walked into his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon before the release of the latest national polls. At the time, he didn't know the Gamecocks were ranked 24th by the Associated Press and 25th in the coaches poll.

"Well we'd rather be ranked than not ranked, but other than that I don't think it matters," he said.

The head ball coach also isn't sure if offensive tackle Jarriel King and cornerback Chris Culliver will be cleared to play against the bulldogs. Both were held out of the season opener because of eligibility issues.

Also at question is the availability of Georgia receiver A.J. Green. The Summerville native sat out the bulldogs' first game while the NCAA ponders his eligibility.

"The NCAA runs college football," commented Spurrier. "We have to have a sheriff. They're the sheriff of all our teams. As coaches and administrators they do have a difficult job, and we'll just have to wait it out -- see what happens."   

This week the Gamecocks are focused on beating Georgia. The bulldogs are ranked 22nd by the AP and 19th by the coaches. The winner of Saturday's high noon showdown at Williams-Brice Stadium becomes a leading contender to win the SEC Eastern Division title.

"We're just focused on winning this game and you know whether we win or lose, you know the rest will take care of itself depending on how we finish out the season," said DeVonte Holloman.

"We're just thinking one game at a time and I'm sure they are too," said Spurrier. "And we all realize who ever wins is in better shape than the other one."

Both coaches say they hope to know something before Saturday's noon kickoff at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Copyright 2010 WIS. AP contributed to this report. All rights reserved.