Updated: Gamecocks finish off throttling of UGA

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UPDATED 10:26 p.m. ET: Apparently, the SEC East has come down to a two-horse race.  And an Oct. 20 showdown in Gainesville.

Earlier today, No. 10 Florida easily handled No. 4 LSU — at least defensively — to remain perfect at 5-0 on the season.  A few hours later, No. 6 South Carolina did the same to No. 5 Georgia, only much more impressively.

Leading 21-0 at the half, the Gamecocks were never threatened the rest of the way as USC came away with a dominating 35-7 home win over the Bulldogs to remain tied with UF atop the East standings at 4-0.  And, in every way, shape and form, USC took UGA to the proverbial woodshed.

The Gamecocks totaled nearly 400 yards of total offense, while defensively they held the Bulldogs to no points and under 150 yards prior to a meaningless 75-yard drive late in the fourth quarter that netted UGA its only points of the game.

There is still work to be done, especially for USC, prior to the late October match-up that could very well decide the East’s representative in the SEC championship.  The Gamecocks will travel to Baton Rouge to face a Tigers squad that will no doubt be champing at the bit to shake off their first loss of the season, while the Gators head to Vanderbilt to face a Commodores team that pulled off a road upset over Missouri Saturday night.

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The hype was at a fever pitch in Columbia, South Carolina, with the No. 6 Gamecocks hosting the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs in a game rife with SEC East and BcS ramifications.  GameDay was there, and the trek to the stadium took upwards of a couple of hours to navigate just a few miles, so packed the area was.

And then the hosts had to go and ruin the party, albeit in a good way for the locals.

With just a little more than a quarter of play in the books, USC is taking it to their guests, carving up the Bulldogs to the tune of 21-0.  And said carving is being accomplished in literally every phase of the game.  To wit:

— Offensively: the Gamecocks had rolled up nearly 200 yards of offense (185) with just over 14 minutes left in the second quarter, with 10 first downs and no punts.

— Defensively: conversely, the USC defense had allowed just 39 yards of UGA offense through the same time frame.

— Special teams: Ace Sanders raced 70 yards for a punt return touchdown that put the ‘Cocks up 21-0.

Certainly there’s a lot of time left for UGA to mount a comeback, but it’s certainly looking early on like USC is the cock of the SEC East walk.

Dabo Swinney, Hunter Johnson address QB’s transfer

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Clemson has officially bid adieu to a highly-touted member of its 2017 recruiting class.

Earlier in the day Monday, reports surfaced that Hunter Johnson had decided to transfer from the Tigers, with a couple of Big Ten schools already listed as potential landing spots. Not long after that news made the rounds, Dabo Swinney acknowledged the reports, calling the quarterback “one of the best young men I’ve ever coached” in sending his former player his well-wishes.

“While it is always disappointing to lose a great person and a great player, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Hunter and watch him grow and develop over the last year and a half,” the full statement attributed to the head coach began. “Hunter is one of the best young men I have ever coached and has a very bright future ahead of him.

“I wish him all the best as he decides on his destination.”

Johnson himself issued his own statement through the school’s sports information department addressing the development.

“I want to thank Coach Swinney and the Clemson family for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something special,” said Johnson. “I’ve met some amazing people who I will forever call family. I am a better man and a better football player because of my time spent at Clemson. Go Tigers!”

The composite board on 247Sports.com had Johnson rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 30 player at any position for the Class of 2017. As a true freshman, Johnson completed 21 of his 27 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in seven appearances.

It’s believed that Johnson, who will have to sit out the 2018 season but would then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2019, is eyeing Northwestern or Purdue as potential transfer destinations.

Former USC assistant coach Todd McNair loses defamation lawsuit vs. NCAA

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By a vote of 9-3, former USC running backs coach Todd McNair has lost his defamation lawsuit against the NCAA. Following six days of deliberation, the verdict brings to a close the Reggie Bush scandal that began more than a decade ago, a scandal that saw the Trojans lose their 2004 BCS national championship and Bush be stripped of his 2005 Heisman Trophy.

McNair sued the NCAA after it found him guilty of unethical conduct while Bush received impermissible benefits. He was given a 1-year show-cause penalty, and has not worked since his contract expired in the summer of 2010.

McNair sought $27 million in damages from the NCAA.

McNair’s attorney Bruce Broilett told ESPN his team was “very disappointed … disappointed in the result. Assessing the situation and considering our next steps.”

David Beaty releases statement on firing of KU AD Sheahon Zenger

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Kansas fired athletics director Sheahon Zenger earlier today. If the move was immediately greeted as a vote of no-confidence in Zenger’s ability to find and hire the next Jayhawks football coach — and, thus, a vote of no-confidence in the David Beaty era — that’s because it pretty much is.

“But Athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary,” KU chancellor Douglas Girod said in his statement announcing Zenger’s firing.

The playbook is well documented by now: to replace the head coach, you must first replace the AD who hired the head coach, and the replacement will then hire the new head coach. We’ve seen it play out at a number of places, most recently Nebraska, where Bill Moos was brought in to replace Shawn Eichorst, and Moos promptly fired Mike Riley and hired Scott Frost.

Beaty is a well-liked coach, but college football is a results business and a 3-33 record speaks for itself. Beaty surely knows that score better than anyone.

Hours after the news went public, Beaty released a statement of his own on Monday afternoon.

As if the 3-33 mark wasn’t obvious enough, the beginning of the end of the Beaty era likely came on Monday.

Alabama (still) a massive favorite over Louisville, other Week 1 lines

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It’s been about four months since we checked in on the Week 1 betting lines in college football, highlighted by Alabama’s installation as a massive favorite for its date with Louisville in Orlando.

And in the four months since, the public has clearly lost faith in the Nick Saban Football Machine.

After starting as a 29.5-point favorite, Alabama has been downgraded… to a 28.5-point favorite, according to lines released by Bet Online.

Other lines of note:

  • UCF (-20.5) at Connecticut
  • Northwestern (+4.5) at Purdue
  • Colorado (-6) vs. Colorado State (at Denver)
  • San Diego State (+14.5) at Stanford
  • Florida Atlantic (+23) at Oklahoma
  • Oregon State (+38) at Ohio State
  • Texas (-10.5) at Maryland
  • Boise State (-10.5) at Troy
  • Arizona (-14) vs. BYU (at Phoenix)
  • Auburn (-3.5) vs. Washington (at Atlanta)
  • Ole Miss (-1.5) vs. Texas Tech (at Houston)
  • West Virginia (-7) vs. Tennessee (at Charlotte)
  • North Carolina (+6) at California
  • Michigan (+2) at Notre Dame
  • Alabama (-28.5) vs. Louisville (at Orlando)
  • Miami (-3) vs. LSU (at Dallas)
  • Virginia Tech (+6.5) at Florida State

Check out the entire list of lines here.