COLUMBIA — Bryan Edwards, a South Carolina senior on track to break school receiving records, was asked Tuesday about all the chatter about the 2010 Gamecocks-Alabama game going into the 2019 version on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
“It’s history. Any time you get around people who were a part of it, they’re going to bring it up,” Edwards said. “So I know that. I don’t really get annoyed, I just let them do their talking.”
Sweet diplomacy, Bryan.
And Edwards is one of the few 2019 Gamecocks who, in a depth chart mash-up with the 2010 team, would get significant playing time.
But the arrival of No. 2 Alabama on the schedule means Delusional Week in Columbia, a time when fans reminisce about a joyful 35-21 upset so close yet so far away.
It’s unhealthy to expect a repeat of the unexpected.
Or brag about a win notched when most of the current players were in elementary school.
It actually happened.
But it's not as if aliens landed in Columbia nine football seasons ago, as would have to happen in 2019 to start production of a new SEC Network documentary "Miracle on George Rogers Boulevard."
That 2010 game was a very good team that won nine games and the SEC East having a charmed Columbia afternoon against another very good team that won 10 games but finished fourth in the SEC West.
The 2019 game is national championship contender Alabama against a 1-1 Gamecock team that will have to scramble to earn a bowl bid.
Alabama in 2010 eventually was exposed as not worthy of a No. 1 ranking.
The Tide in 2019 features Nick Saban’s best-ever quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa.
“He’s different,” Gamecocks linebacker Ernest Jones said. “He’s definitely different.”
It’s unrealistic to think the Steve Spurrier glory years — the 2010 SEC East title followed by three straight 11-2 seasons and a five-game win streak vs. Clemson — will be duplicated in your lifetime (unless you’re forced to absorb this column as part my new world-wide kindergarten storytime program).
To hold Will Muschamp, or any other Gamecock head coach, to the Best of Spurrier standard while Clemson is winning national championships and Georgia apparently is assembling a powerhouse is unfair.
What is fair is the expectation that South Carolina will tackle, block and scheme better than its 24-20 season-opening loss to underdog North Carolina.
As usual, it comes down to the big people up front.
The 2010 game, most people think, was simply about wide receiver Alshon Jeffery winning hand-to-hand combat battles with Alabama’s Mark Barron, running back Marcus Lattimore fighting for 93 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Stephen Garcia completing 17-of-20 passes on the best football day of his life.
The real story was line play that allowed South Carolina to outrush Alabama, 110-36, while piling up seven sacks to just one sack for the Tide.
Jarriel King (North Charleston High School), Garrett Chisolm (West Ashley High School), T.J. Johnson, Rokevious Watkins and Hutch Eckerson on offense.
Devin Taylor (Beaufort High School), Travian Robertson, Ladi Ajiboye, Melvin Ingram and Cliff Matthews on defense.
Those were the key linemen in the 2010 game.
‘A great atmosphere’
The SEC-caliber quality of players on the 2019 roster should be judged not in comparison to 2010 but to present-day conference competition.
Is freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski on the way to an NFL career?
Is Fort Dorchester High School’s Dakereon Joyner a big-play wide receiver about to make an SEC statement?
Is the defensive line as good and deep as advertised?
Just how good — or average — are these Gamecocks?
“We’ll really know better after this game,” South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn said Tuesday.
We’ll know even more after a trip to Missouri and a Kentucky home game over the next few weeks.
Muschamp, by the way, didn’t watch the 2010 Alabama-South Carolina game even though it was played while he was at Texas and the Longhorns had a bye week.
He has, however, heard a little bit about it.
“It was a great game, a great atmosphere,” Muschamp said. “I know it will be a great atmosphere on Saturday.”
If the similarities end there, fine.
As long as there are signs of progress on the way to the other Columbia.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff