Georgia South Carolina Football

Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman strolls into the end zone. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

COLUMBIA — Another big opportunity, another big opportunity lost.

Everything’s mostly copacetic because it wasn’t that long ago this team was plodding through a 3-9 season. Still, even in regards to the competition, it seems inconceivable that South Carolina could let another statement game slip by with only one statement made.

That being, the Gamecocks didn’t belong on the same field with Georgia.

Wrapping up USC-Bulldogs:

Who gives the pre-game speech?

Not Ed Reed or D.J. Swearinger, apparently. That’s three big home games in the past two years for the Gamecocks and three eggs so big they could have been scrambled, fried, over-easy or Bruce Ellington’ed (poached). Whatever the reason, USC has played Kentucky, Clemson and Georgia at home over the past two seasons and taken itself out of the ballgame so quickly all the opponent had to do was make a fist.

Live up to it

Jake Bentley is starting quarterback, and with that comes a lot of street cred. People know who he is. He’s the BMOC.

He deserves it.

When’s he going to start earning it?

He’s won some ballgames … just not big ballgames. He’s made some plays … just not a lot of huge plays.

That pick-6 to start wasn’t his fault. Neither were the half-dozen drops his receivers let clang off his hands.

Yet, sooner or later will come the question of his legacy. He’s on track to set every major passing record in USC history.

What does that mean if he can’t beat the Georgias or the Clemsons?

Ugh

Top pass-rusher D.J. Wonnum will miss “about a month” after tearing a ligament on the inside of his ankle, Will Muschamp confirmed Sunday. Muschamp said all week that Wonnum should be fine after he hurt it against Coastal Carolina, and he practiced Wednesday.

Yet Muschamp mentioned Thursday that the swelling of the ankle was concerning, and when they did another MRI on Friday, they found the tear. It wasn’t discovered on the first MRI because of the swelling.

“We’re not making excuses,” Muschamp said. “D.J.’s a really good player, but we’ve had guys to step up, that’s why you recruit.”

Daniel Fennell (who started against Georgia), Bryson Allen-Williams and Brad Johnson should see increased playing time at Wonnum’s Buck spot. Aaron Sterling, Shameik Blackshear and Keir Thomas can also bounce outside if they need to.

Freshman offensive lineman Jovaughn Gwyn will also miss the season after foot surgery. He would have played some, at least over the first four games, but will now redshirt.  

Come together

Halftime is a chance to adjust, to come up with that one formation or play that will get the team back to where it was.

The Gamecocks trailed 20-10 at half after spotting Georgia the first 14 points and were only down 10 because their normally reliable punter picked a terrible time for his worst kick ever. The game was still there.

Georgia scored on its first three possessions. Whoever decided it was a great idea to hand out gummy bears and say, “Good job!” at halftime should be put on uniform detail.

Or not.

Read. A. Color. Wheel.

Garnet is fine as a dominant color. Black is fine as a dominant color.

When picking one, use the other as trim. Not as another dominant color.

USC has two choices every home game on which color to feature, with neither answer wrong. The seniors somehow voted (and they’ve done it before) on Option C when asked to pick A or B.

Garnet on black doesn’t work. Black on garnet doesn’t work. It looks like awful.

Resembling the play Saturday.

Another team in this state thinks orange and purple match, which they don’t. Garnet and black do match.

Only when one is heavy and one light. Dress classy, play classy.

Alabama doesn’t switch its uniforms. Neither does Georgia.

From Conway, with love

Bryan Edwards continues to show why he’s one of the best — and underrated — receivers in the country. Twenty-seven games he’s played at USC, and he’s caught at least one ball in all 27.

He had two touchdowns among his seven receptions Saturday and said the right thing about it when he was congratulated afterward.

“We lost.”

Interstate

It’s a harsh loss and pretty much a death sentence for USC going to the SEC Championship Game, but a great season is still attainable. Put it this way — there are a lot better things to do the first week of December than go to Atlanta and get trampled by Nick and Tua.

USC lost this game last year and still won nine games, which only six other teams in the program’s history had done. At this point in Muschamp’s tenure, eight or nine wins and a New Year’s Day bowl game two years in a row is looking mighty fine.

Follow David Cloninger on Twitter @DCPandC.