Progress can be defined differently for each program. Saturday’s game between No. 16 Arkansas and South Carolina could be a good example. Arkansas enters year 3 under Sam Pitman and Co. The Hogs believe they have the roster to compete for the championships right now. Managing South Carolina and protecting their home turf would show Arkansas has what it takes to compete with the big boys in the SEC.
But for South Carolina, just being competitive on the road in a hostile atmosphere would be a big step in the right direction in Year 2 under Shane Beamer. The Gamecocks have won just one of their last real 11 SEC road games, and most of them haven’t been particularly close.
“Automatically there will be a heightened sense of urgency,” Beamer said. “It’s better. We get into the SEC game very quickly. Going the road of a nationally ranked opponent, you better have that urgency. Our guys know. We try not to prepare differently for Arkansas than we did for Georgia State. When you go on the road in the SEC, it’s different, let’s be real. Our guys know that.”
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Here’s what the national media is saying ahead of Saturday’s SEC showdown: