Geaux Tigers? Why Florida fans should be rooting for LSU to take down South Carolina
While Florida fans are still reveling in the aftermath of that huge 14-6 win over LSU, let’s keep in mind that the SEC gauntlet is far from over. In a mere 9 days, the Gators will be welcoming SEC East rival (and currently undefeated) South Carolina into the Swamp. But before South Carolina travels to Gainesville, they’ve got to worry about their game in LSU’s Death Valley this weekend.
I don’t want to look past Vanderbilt by any means, but I want to ask the question: who should Florida fans be rooting for in the LSU-USC matchup this weekend? The knee-jerk reaction of many students and fans is to root for South Carolina over LSU because “How awesome would it be to have another matchup of unbeatens in the Swamp in two weeks?” or “I really want College Gameday to come to Gainesville this year” or “I really want it to be a night game on October 20th”. There’s nothing wrong with these wishes, but the reasoning behind them is flawed and priorities are not in order. So here are 3 reasons why Florida fans should be rooting for LSU over South Carolina this weekend:
1. Believe it or not, Florida’s chances of getting a night game would actually improve with a South Carolina loss. CBS, who broadcasts the SEC Game of the Week at 3:30 every Saturday, has yet to choose a game for October 20th. They are waiting to see the results of this weekend’s games before deciding between Florida-South Carolina, LSU-Texas A&M, and Alabama-Tennessee. No doubt a South Carolina victory over LSU would make UF-USC the most appealing game, meaning Florida would be playing at 3:30 and we would be lamenting another missed opportunity for a night game. And for those who think CBS might switch their broadcast to a primetime 8:00 kickoff for such an epic matchup, forget about it. CBS has only one 8:00 broadcast this season, and they’ve reserved it for November 3rd (LSU-Alabama).
Now a South Carolina loss to LSU makes UF-USC less appealing and, conversely, LSU-TAMU more appealing. And should CBS deem LSU-TAMU to be the more appealing matchup, then UF-USC would be dropped to ESPN for a likely evening kickoff. Night game achievement unlocked. Of course, there’s no guarantee CBS follows this reasoning if LSU beats South Carolina. But there’s no doubt the probability of CBS passing over UF-USC can only rise should South Carolina lose. Bama-Tenn is a wildcard, because while that may seem like a weaker matchup, CBS may enjoy the draw of showcasing the #1 team in the country.
2. Everyone knows ESPN loves to take their College Gameday crew to a site at which they are broadcasting a game. So if South Carolina beats LSU and CBS chooses UF-USC for their game of the week, then say goodbye to College Gameday. ESPN most likely won’t be coming to Gainesville if CBS is going to be broadcasting the game. But if South Carolina loses to LSU and UF-USC drops to ESPN, then all of a sudden College Gameday will have no choice but to heavily consider traveling to Gainesville on October 20th.
3. And now for the single most important reason that Florida fans should be rooting for LSU this weekend. A South Carolina loss gives Florida a 1-game lead in the SEC East race and the inside track to represent the East in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta (assuming the Gators take care of Vanderbilt this weekend). This is the ONLY thing Florida fans should be concerned with at this point in the season. Not College Gameday. Not the time of the game. Nothing else. If an unbeaten South Carolina were to beat the Gators on October 20th, Florida’s chances of recovering to win the SEC East would be slim to none. A Gamecocks loss this weekend gives Florida a welcome margin of error.
So Gator fans, an LSU victory over South Carolina means an SEC East lead for Florida, and it could also mean a night game and a possible visit from College Gameday.
For this weekend and this weekend alone: Geaux Tigers.