<
>

Outback Bowl preview

1/1/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

WHO TO WATCH: How ironic that South Carolina ends this season in Tampa, Fla., the hometown of redshirt freshman quarterback Stephen Garcia, whose season has very much mirrored that of the entire team. He's had his ups and had his downs. There were times when his dedication was called into question by South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and times when he looked like thetop-flight quarterback he was supposed to be when the Gamecocks signed him. Here's his chance to prove that he's indeed South Carolina's quarterback of the future. Whatever he does, he needs to stay away from interceptions. South Carolina has thrown 24 interceptions, second most in the nation. Iowa has intercepted 20 passes, tied for seventh nationally.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Gamecocks are tweaking their defense and going from a 4-2-5 alignment to a more traditional 4-3 scheme for this game. Part of the move is out of necessity with safety Emanuel Cook academically ineligible for this game. But the other part is that South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson wants to get as many guys near the line of scrimmage as he can to slow down Iowa tailback Shonn Greene, who won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's best running back this season. This is a game where the Gamecocks' size at linebacker with Jasper Brinkley in the middle and Eric Norwood on the outside should come in handy.

WHY TO WATCH: To quote the Head Ball Coach, the Gamecocks haven't done a whole lot to brag about this season. Their only win over an FBS team that ended the season with a winning record was against Ole Miss back on Oct. 4. Making matters worse, they were embarrassed in their last two games against Florida and Clemson. So this is an opportunity to right the ship a little bit heading into what may be Spurrier's most important offseason yet at South Carolina. If the Gamecocks lose five or six games again in 2009, he may well take his visor full time to the golf course.